Cognos Updates BI Suite

Cognos Inc. last week brought out an updated version of the Cognos 8 business intelligence (BI) tool set, adding a new search capability and access to enterprise applications.

Cognos 8.1.2 is the first major release of the Ottawa-based firm's BI suite since its launch last September.

Chris Framel, applications group manager for Albuquerque, N.M., said the city began testing the new version of the Cognos software last week.

He said he expects that the search capability in Cognos 8.1.2 will make it easier for users outside the city's firewall to access data from publicly available reports, such as lists of political campaign contributions and crime statistics.

"Citizens will be able to type something in a [Google-like]\ search and get information on anything they want to by querying the Cognos reports," Framel said. External users must now navigate through a series of prompts to find information, he said.

Framel hopes to have the new software available for external users by June 30.

For internal users in the city's 26 agencies, the software should ease the process of accessing data. Those users now have to navigate through various pieces of an aggregate cube of data from all the agencies to access cost and budgeting information for individual departments, Framel said.

"[The search tool] can alleviate upward of five minutes for good users or 30 minutes for a user who doesn't know a cube that well," he said.

The new search tool, called the Cognos Go Search Service, offers a browser-based search bar designed to help users quickly find BI information housed in reports, scorecards, dashboards and analysis, said Paul Hulford, senior product marketing manager at Cognos.

The new Cognos 8 version also includes report packs for SAP AG's mySAP R/3 software and Oracle Corp.'s Siebel CRM application. Those add-ons will allow users to combine historical information stored in a data warehouse with current data from the applications into a single report. The packs include predefined content for more than 60 commonly used reports for mySAP and Siebel CRM data.

For users of SAP's NetWeaver integration tool, Cognos 8.1.2 provides access to data in SAP's data warehouse, runs on the SAP Web application server and can present information through the SAP NetWeaver portal, according to Cognos.

The software also allows users to view, interact with and refresh Cognos 8 BI reports, analysis and metrics within Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint, the company said.

Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.

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