Before we can implement software to support a Business Intelligence initiative we need to know what it is. In 1958 IBM researcher Hans Peter Luhn first used the term Business Intelligence, defining it as “the ability to apprehend the interrelationships of presented facts in such a way as to guide action towards a desired goal.” Howard Dresner in 1989 described Business Intelligence as a blanket term for “concepts and methods to improve business decision making by using fact-based support systems.”
Essentially Business Intelligence is about decisions and the decision making process. All successful businesses today have data and highly skilled professionals to analyse this data however as the world changes and evolves the investigation and analysis of this data becomes more challenging. In order to achieve enterprise wide Business Intelligence many companies implement software such as IBM Cognos 10 to help with their decision making.
From within a single workspace Cognos 10 is able to deliver all BI functionality such as Query, Reporting, Analysis, Dashboarding and Scorecarding. With the inclusion of collaboration, statistical reporting and Microsoft Office connections Cognos 10 extends beyond traditional BI functionality.
Query & Reporting
From every day reports to one off ad-hoc queries Cognos Query and Reporting allows users from across the enterprise to access their information. Cognos reporting caters for users of all skills and capability levels allowing them access to the same data irrespective of their abilities thereby maintaining the “Single Version of the Truth”. Not only can professional authors create “pixel perfect” reports but business users are able to create their own ad-hoc reports that answer their business questions immediately. The ability to create interactive and engaging reports allows users to analyse and interpret their data quickly and efficiently.
Cognos’ tried and trusted drill-down and slice-and-dice technology allows for top down analysis and interpretation of data. Cognos Analysis allows business users to find and focus on areas of importance, it aids in the quick spotting of anomalies and trends within the data, giving the users the ability to see what other factors within the organisation may be affecting or driving a trend. By quickly creating a Top or Bottom analysis we can focus on and assess performance based on the best or worst results or a comparison of the two.
Event management allows an organisation to become proactive rather than reactive, sending out alerts in the form of emails or newsitems on a portal informing users of thresholds that have been met or broken. Users can create Event Studio agents that monitor the data looking for specific occurrences and then based on what they find start a sequence of events that may include emailing interested parties, running reports or even kicking off a Data Warehouse build. Event management can also be done at an individual level, with no specialist skills a user can setup tracking of data on specific reports that alert only those users.
The addition of interactive Dashboarding in Business Insight, Cognos 10 has taken the user experience to the next level. No longer do users have to rely on administrators or power users to setup their dashboards. With the drag and drop capabilities and common filters all users have the ability to personalise their dashboards.
Access Anywhere and Anytime
Cognos Reports and Analysis can be accessed from a variety of Mobile devices such as the Blackberry and iPhone allowing users to take their reports with them when not in the office. The addition of “Active Reports” in Cognos 10 now gives users the ability to interact with their data even when they are disconnected from the network. Using the Office integration available with Cognos users can import and refresh their business data and integrate it within their other documents.
With the inclusion of IBM’s SPSS Statistics Engine in Cognos’ reporting capabilities, users are able to easily incorporate statistical results within core business reports thereby eliminating the need to extract the report results to another tool for further data analysis.
The use of Collaboration both within the interactive dashboards and the standard reports allows the user community to act together when making decisions giving visibility throughout the enterprise and empowering users to be part of the process. The ability to add comments and notes to individual reports allows for an open discussion environment about the data. With the inclusion of Lotus Connections in Cognos 10 collaboration now becomes focused around our Dashboards and Business drivers.