Building trust in business analytics: why BI standardization matters

By | 4 minute read | September 16, 2020

This story is part of our Rediscover Cognos series which features the perspectives of IBM experts and Business Partners who are helping clients transform their business intelligence solutions. This blog was written by Francois Ross of CarpeDatum.

Business intelligence and analytics are now critical components for decision making. And there is no doubt that the technology landscape, deployment strategies, and tool selection have become far more complicated in the last few years. As the volume of data — as well as the need for analytics — continues to increase, BI platform standardization has become ever more challenging. So it is more important than ever to approach information delivery projects with a holistic view.

As I reflect on some of the larger client deployments we’ve implemented to date, most have evolved reactively and therefore tactically. But as enterprises now confront a deluge of opportunities to collect and analyze data about every aspect of their businesses, bigger, faster, and more complex data doesn’t necessarily spell more clarity for end users.

Two critical, equally important factors shape every analytics adoption: user experience and governance.

Historically, the largest enterprise BI constellation of challenges for the enterprise driven by the need for data accuracy and consistency.

Many organizations I surveyed have deployed multiple BI platforms to support both self-service analytics and operational reporting — even though they’ve invested considerable resources to build consolidated data lakes and marts. That doesn’t make much sense to me! For example, a client recently noted that “though the focus within our competency center has shifted from empowering the business to ensure each platform is accessible and secured and users are properly trained on the tools, for some reason the shifted has returned to IT.” The most problematic issue with the “departmentals” is that datasets still end up on someone’s desktop or a department’s server, potentially compromising consistency and trust in data, especially for highly-regulated industries. These challenges also create a niche for third-party vendors who now offer centralized governed data dictionaries, adding complexity to the deployment.

The latest Cognos Analytics: One solution that fits all

The latest release of Cognos Analytics takes the lead in the race for unified, well-governed analytics. By leveraging a mature deployment culture and presenting self-service analytics injected with AI, the new Cognos offering efficiently serves what I believe are the 4 critical pillars of a modern BI platform:

Actionable results, fast – With no third-party required, users can consume data and derive results in a single, easy-to-use, unified and secure environment for faster data prep, exploration, analytics, and managed reporting, with a seamless user experience. Users can go from connecting to data to delivering impactful visualizations and reports in just a few clicks, while ensuring that their data is secured and stored with accessibility in mind. In addition, data citizens can clean and join data that may support their business need more efficiently – AI-driven data preparation automates and accelerates this objective.

Unrestricted power at any size – From one to tens of thousands of users, scale effortlessly as your business grows – from analyst to C-level. Cognos supports some of the largest report distribution projects in the world. Whether you’re a CEO looking for a daily snapshot of the business, or a data scientist who needs to apply machine learning to augment key business drivers, it’s all possible within the same intuitive interface.

Available anywhere – Deploy on-premises, on the cloud, or a combination of both. Same capabilities and experience, and you can now deploy on IBM Cloud Pak® for Data.

Governance and security – Do not overlook this. Cognos provides data and analytics governance to reduce risk and drive confidence. All assets stay secured and governed on the server, even the “in-memory” dataset optimized for exploration and dashboarding via native integration, ensuring accuracy, timeliness and security of essential data.

Did I forget enterprise reporting? It’s a fact — we still need reporting. Though most ERP and financial system vendors have matured to be able to provide reports, some have actually reduced the flexibility to align to their cloud strategy, opting for standardization of the core ERP reports. This has created a growing need for multi-domain and multi-source reporting, capabilities that are still part of Cognos Analytics. But even better, the newest version of Cognos can handle complex and secured distribution mechanisms, such as bursting, as well as secure access to automated reports. The improved reporting capability allows fast creation of pixel-perfect, formatted multi-page reports. Just try to do this with a dashboarding tool.

Whether your organization has deployed Cognos in one isolated department, or you want to simplify and standardize its deployment of information, enable self-service, and leverage AI, Cognos Analytics is well worth a closer look. Start now to experience its unique, powerful capabilities. Sign up for a no-cost 30-day subscription to see that there is one solution for all your BI needs.

About François Ross: Customer Success Director for CarpeDatum (formerly Draca Solutions), François devoted the past 25 years of his career managing the sales and delivery of analytics software/solutions. Starting as a Cognos developer, he quickly realized his passion for enabling organizations to adopt the best technologies to help them make impactful decisions. A customer advocate, pre-sales specialist and user adoption evangelist, he deeply understands solution delivery and software evaluation processes. Learn more about CarpeDatum’s work with IBM solutions and client Channell Commercial Corporation.