Cognos Adds Link to IBM-Yahoo Search Engine

Cognos Inc. last month added a link between its BI search engine and a new IBM-Yahoo Inc. search tool that it said will let users gather structured and unstructured data simultaneously. IT executives said that such combined searches can help users more quickly gather key data needed to make business decisions.

The IBM OmniFind Yahoo Edition, a free entry-level search tool introduced by IBM and Yahoo on Dec. 13, can index up to 500,000 documents in more than 200 file types.

The Cognos 8 Go Search engine, unveiled last spring, can be used to quickly find business intelligence data housed in reports, scorecards and dashboards, according to the company.

A new interface in the Cognos tool will allow both engines to be used to conduct a single search.

Joel Silverman, a programming analyst at Alston & Bird LLP and a user of Cognos BI tools, said that support for the enterprise search tool will help users at the Atlanta-based firm gather data from multiple sources more quickly.

“The ability to search different sources, such as documents, spreadsheets and intranet sites, would add real value,” he said. “If the [new] tool works as simply as an Internet search engine, that would make our users’ work experience more efficient.”

Andy Wojewodka, director of business systems and decision support at Del Monte Foods Co. in San Francisco, also said the combination would improve the decision-making process at his firm, which has standardized on Cognos BI tools.

Wojewodka said Del Monte now uses more traditional methods of gathering unstructured data into a package for users. “We try to address this by — guess what — more spreadsheets and Word documents,” he said. Using a search engine to access the now-unavailable information would be a “huge win” for the company, he added.

Cognos last April started offering a link between its search tool and the Google Search Appliance, which can also search through unstructured data. That link, however, requires that users purchase the Google appliance, which is priced from about $30,000 and provides capabilities similar to those of the IBM-Yahoo tool, according to Google Inc.’s Web site.

Other BI vendors, including Hyperion Solutions Corp., Business Objects SA and Information Builders Inc., have also added support for the Google appliances.

The interface to IBM OmniFind Yahoo Edition is available now for free to users of Cognos’ search tool.

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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