Why read this: Find out how IBM Cognos Analytics has evolved to enable not only more efficient analysis, but a new mode of insight and exponential learning for your organization.
The payoff: Access to a short demo, a detailed SmartPaper, and a webinar explaining how you can use Cognos Analytics to transform your company’s operations.
Business analysts have trusted the Cognos name for nearly fifty years. Today, IBM Cognos Analytics delivers analytical insights better than ever, and our product team keeps improving it through quarterly releases of new features to make you more effective in your work.
But it’s not just about the evolutionary process of delivering new functionality. There’s a deeper level — a revolution — underway, in which the latest version of Cognos Analytics on Cloud is enabling a new vision of analytics that can transform every part of your business.
Whether you’re new to Cognos or already using an older version, read on for a deeper look at how the latest advances in Cognos Analytics can make your current work easier while opening up new avenues for strategic insight.
Technology transformation: From Selectrics to laptops
Before we get to the details, I want to make an analogy drawn from my own longtime affection for the IBM Selectric. (Stick with me for a minute — I promise it will pay off.)
When I was growing up in the 1970s and 1980s, Selectric typewriters were ubiquitous in business offices, and for good reason: they were innovative, high-performing, and practically indestructible. Even after I got a computer of my own as a teenager, I still used typewriters off and on for years. One of my favorites was on old beige Selectric that I could never wear out.
The Selectric defined the market for typewriters for decades. This TV ad for the Selectric from the 1960s explains why it was so innovative. But times change, of course, and we no longer live in a world of carbon copies, inked ribbons, and memos delivered on paper to wooden inboxes. IBM changed with the times.
Today, it’s laptops that are ubiquitous. At a small fraction of the size, they do all the things a Selectric could, but also replace memos with e-mails and allow us to manipulate spreadsheets, presentations, video, images, and more with ease. As I write this on a word processor, my computer is also playing classical music to screen out the work conversations around me.
Here’s the analogy: the Selectric wasn’t just good at its job — it was great. And yet we didn’t all cling to our typewriters once a better technology had emerged. It may be obvious, but it’s still worth emphasizing that a modern laptop isn’t just better than any typewriter at producing documents; it also opens the door to a huge range of new behaviors and interactions to free up creativity, enable collaboration, and allow us to work from anywhere. That’s the revolution created by ubiquitous business computing.
It’s similar with analytics. Old approaches to analytics have been effective in their own ways for a long time, but we need not cling to narrower, tactical views of analytics when new vistas of strategic impact are open to us. That’s what we’re enabling with Cognos Analytics on Cloud.
The evolution of Cognos Analytics: What is new
Today’s version has the same DNA that has helped Cognos products set a standard in the marketplace all along. But because it has continued to evolve — with no fewer than ten point-releases in the two years since Cognos Analytics 11 was launched — it now performs many old and new functions better, quicker, and easier than ever.
To make Cognos Analytics the last word in self-service business intelligence (BI), the product team has worked from customer feedback and its own inspirations to relentlessly evolve reports, dashboards, data visualizations, and other functionality. For an example, in March our own Nickolus Plowden explained the new features introduced in Cognos Analytics release 11.0.10, including:
Drill through from a dashboard to a report. Get answers to your questions faster by enabling a user to drill through from a dashboard directly into a report with more detailed information, based on the filter parameters selected. Get more details here.
Save a dashboard as a PDF. This familiar and popular method of sharing information makes it easy to print or view dashboards offline on a mobile device. Get more details on the new feature here.
Simplify access to ‘Job’ function to run a report. In previous releases of Cognos Analytics only a person with administrative permissions could see their jobs. Now it’s easier for all users to run, schedule, or monitor all their jobs.
The first enhancement makes it easier for an analyst to get better, deeper answers faster. The second one makes it much easier to save and share data dashboards. And the third one adds to already extensive self-service features to lighten the load on system administrators even more than before.
The point of all this work — and the whole cloud-based architecture of the product — is to combine detailed managed reporting with self-service dashboards in your data visualization tool to save you time, effort, and money across your analytics endeavors so you can be more effective. Specific benefits accrue everywhere you look:
- Enterprise scale and mobility — Robust SaaS delivery, including to mobile devices, means that you can provision many users easily, and that they can use Cognos Analytics from whatever device makes sense to get their jobs done.
- Data handling — Besides having strong capabilities in data discovery, the platform readily handles data from any source. You don’t have to worry about how it will digest on-premise information version data stored in the cloud, for instance.
- IT workload — The most user-friendly solution in the world isn’t good enough if it puts a burden on your technical staff. Cognos Analytics makes life easier for them because self-service eliminates requests that admins would otherwise need to handle, and because IBM’s legacy of strong data governance and security gives them appropriate controls over data use without getting in the way of users’ work. Even better, we’ve laid out an easy migration path so that users of Cognos Analytics 10 can upgrade to version 11 in a way that’s easy to digest, for both your IT team and your CFO.
- Ease of use — We’ve been gratified by feedback from users of Cognos Analytics 11, for example one who said, “Coming from [a competing product], I was stunned by the ease of use of IBM Cognos Analytics.” The intuitive layout, drag-and-drop dashboard creation, collaboration features, and mobility mean that users can perform vital analysis quickly and effectively, no matter where they are. Plus, new users can get up to speed quickly, with less need for training, so they can start getting value out of the software immediately.
To see these capabilities in action, check out this video:
The revolution of Cognos Analytics: What is coming
This is where we get to the deeper level, where your organization uses Cognos Analytics not only to perform your current BI tasks faster and better, but also to infuse modern data analytics throughout your business in ways never before possible.
Sure, the software allows you to make beautiful dashboards, reports, and data visualizations, but that hardly defines it. We’re not just creating a better version of the same old thing; this is not an advanced model of the Selectric. We intend to incite a strategic revolution in analytics that’s achieved by enabling new ways of working and by creating new business value through new, emergent insights.
Imagine building a new dashboard on your iPad, then seamlessly embedding that into a strategic presentation — on a Saturday, while you’re sitting with a cold beverage and tending your backyard grill, so you can ship it to your boss at the executive retreat and make her the hero to the C-suite.
Imagine doing all of that with data drawn freely but securely from any database needed, no matter where it lives . . . in real-time collaboration with a key colleague . . . and using analysis powered by machine learning and augmented intelligence. Imagine that the resulting full-motion presentation is visually compelling, polished, and persuasive — all from the comfort of your deck chair.
That’s one example of our vision of helping people accomplish things with data analytics that they never dreamed of. That’s one taste of the revolution.
In the weeks and months to come, we’ll show you much more of this vision. Meanwhile, you can take a closer look at the specifics of Cognos Analytics two different ways:
- Take a look at our SmartPaper, “Move forward into the future with Cognos Analytics,” which takes a much deeper dive into specific features and functionality.
- View our on-demand webinar, “What’s New and What’s Coming in IBM Cognos Analytics,” hosted by Cognos Analytics aces Kevin McFaul and Nick Plowden. Access the on-demand webinar here.
And stay tuned for more!