IBM Upgrades Cognos BI, Expands Mobile Capabilities

business intelligence

IBM said the new release, IBM Cognos 8 v4, offers a new self-serve, flash-based dashboard and new mobile and search capabilities that bring business intelligence capabilities to a wider audience of users. While analysts are traditionally the most frequent users of BI tools, IBM Cognos 8 v4 will particularly appeal to business users, business managers and executives who make up 80 percent of workers in the average company.

The new software will be available by the end of the year. IBM acquired Cognos in February for $4.9 billion.

The most significant enhancements are to the IBM Cognos 8 Go! tools that extend the core BI platform. The new Go! Dashboard provides Flash-based graphics for personalized dashboards used to deliver reports and information from the IBM Cognos 8 BI system, as well as other sources such as RSS feeds.

Go! Mobile now uses GPS information from a user's BlackBerry, Symbian or Windows Mobile device to provide reports and other content that is "location aware" and automatically adjusts to a user's location. And Go! Search offers new search-assisted authoring and exploration capabilities.

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"I think this is a big advancement from a usability perspective," said Jeetu Lakhotia, CEO of Locus Solutions, a Santa Clara, Calif.-based solution provider, speaking about the enhanced Go! Mobile application. Locus, which resells Cognos' BI software, has already deployed the new Go! Mobile application for several customers and Lakhotia thinks its new capabilities make it attractive to a wider audience of operational managers.

The new IBM Cognos 8 Business Viewpoint is a collaborative business modeling tool that helps users create, manage and share views of information for performance management applications, all without the help of IT managers or without disrupting the underlying data.

And the new IBM Cognos 8 Financial Performance Analytics software for J.D. Edwards and Oracle E-Business Suite applications extracts financial data from those ERP systems for analysis. The product, for example, can be used by line-of-business managers for analyzing the financial performance of their operations and identifying performance discrepancies.

The new adaptive application framework technology in the core platform "really lowers the cost of deploying and maintaining an application," said Myron Weber, CTO at Parsons Consulting, a financial consulting firm based in Irvine, Calif., that resells and implements Cognos financial analysis software. Weber said many of his customers require some customization of the applications and the new release makes that easier to do. "Customers don't want to buy tools," he said, "they want to buy content."