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Five Things So-Called “Business Intelligence” Vendors Don’t Talk About

Many start-ups have made fortunes claiming to deliver “business intelligence.”   Don’t mistake these for business intelligence solutions. Business intelligence is not data discovery and it’s not trivial. Not unlike your general ledger, you deliver one version so executives can stake their reputation on its outputs. Unfortunately, some vendors don’t see the bigger picture of what’s required to make business intelligence trusted, efficient, and governed. Without this bigger picture, they create disconnected users, operating with outdated versions of data, rather than an ecosystem of collaboration. Here’s a tip: if they don’t want to talk about these five things, they may be hiding important details from you!   Don’t talk about cloud computing  One data discovery vendor announced their new European data center by saying, “… co-located facility will support users of its cloud analytics tool… “ and “The selected data center is ISO 27001 certified and has a disaster recovery site located in Munich, Germany.” Notice the words ‘co-located’ and ‘selected’ and lack of any details on square footage, quantity of servers, security staff and so forth. These firms avoid all the investments and data center details because they subcontract their cloud to third parties. They don’t want to discuss is staffing, infrastructure, and facilities because they don’t own, operate or guarantee any of it!  Using Cognos Analytics on Cloud, you get services from IBM, using its cloud facilities, from its 40,000 cloud professionals. Don’t talk about cloud security One Cognos Analytics on Cloud client inquired, “Are guards hired by you for your company or shared?” and, “Are all facilities used exclusively by your company, or are some shared?”  What BI vendors don’t want to discuss is that they have little to no staff residing inside these data centers and may have no dedicated staff for physical, network, or data security. On December 9th,  I reviewed the web pages of four so-called competitors and found of 20+ job openings no postings for security specialists.  Two of four competitors offered solutions exclusively on cloud.  Who’s keeping on top of constant security threats?   Using Cognos Analytics, you get IBM professionals who make it their full-time job to specialize in security.   (IBM had 55 job postings for under search term ‘Cloud Security’) Don’t talk about predictive analytics One data discovery vendor promotes “The analytics your customers want”, but they’ll avoid the word ‘predictive.’  Their idea of analytics entails colorful graphs of what has happened without predictions of what will happen.  They don’t want to discuss full analytic capabilities such as regression, bootstrapping, time-series analysis, and statistical modeling. They’ll likely but unable to discuss something simple like random sampling methods so you won’t process every record in your database during analysis.  These so-called “BI” vendors don’t offer predictive analytics but rely upon highly-graphical charts using frequency, mean and average. Cognos Analytics offers predictive analytics to see where you’re going, not where you’ve been. Don’t talk about cognitive capability These supposed “BI” vendors got their reputation by delivering pretty graphs but lack robust statistical features, staffing, and platform scalability to make cognitive computing a reality. Cognitive requires predictive analytics as a foundation to learn, suggest and understand.  Our competitors don’t invest into an analytics workbench; therefore, their cognitive capabilities will always be limited. Using IBM, your cognitive experiences are being built upon the proven foundations of IBM SPSS and IBM Watson. Don’t talk about data governance One cloud BI vendor gives you no option but to REPLICATE your data to the cloud, thus avoiding any benefit of using existing hardware and database investments. They spin this duplication and extra effort as, “Keep data living behind a firewall fresh using the [product] sync client. This client runs on a computer within your firewall and securely manages the communications with [product]. The sync client ‘pushes’ extracts of your on-premises data to [vendor/product] on a given schedule.”  They made all this redundancy of multiple data sources into the cloud sound so positive.   You are required to continually duplicate your on-premises data to the cloud and hope everyone run reports from the same version of data. If you want everyone to report using ‘accurate’ data, you must sync/duplicate rather often.  What’s enough: each day, each hour, each minute?  Over 90% of our Cognos Analytics on Cloud clients use the data and investments they have on-premises today without duplication. Using Cognos Analytics, you use existing on-premises database investments, use cloud-based data, or the combination of the two. If you want to create a nation of knowledge with users, and avoid these islands of dis-information, check out Cognos Analytics on Cloud or read our “Ten Differentiations” blog.

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The Analytics Journey from a Department to an Enterprise #ibmwow

Blog editor’s note: Sonia Arora and Greg McDonald will be leading a session that takes a deeper look at the analytics journey at IBM Insight at World of Watson 2016. Join us in Las Vegas, October 24-27, for this session and many other exciting activities. Learn more here. We all know Business Intelligence is mission-critical to run a successful organization. Our clients need it to run their daily operations effectively and to explore new areas of growth. Analytics has proven so effective that the demand for it in every part of organization has exceeded IT's ability to deliver on time. Organizations want a smarter, intuitive, self-service BI tool for their business users. Organizations today face multiple challenges with respect to analytics and data governance: - Find the right equilibrium between providing freedom to business users and not creating data silos. - Give the business users the speed and agility they need to make the right decisions faster while reducing their dependence on IT to provide that information on time. - Avoid inconsistent business rules and definitions, so that there is no argument about whose numbers are correct. - Base business discussions throughout the organization on one set of trusted data. - Make sure the data is up-to-date and readily available. - Make sure the data that is governed so that there are no concerns about business users working with sensitive or private information. Business Intelligence should not be a disruption but rather something that works alongside your business needs. Irrespective of where you are in your analytics journey – whether you are starting a new analytics project, ready to roll out to additional users, or ready to share with other departments – the tool should be easy to install to cater to a few users immediately. And when demand grows, it should be easy to make available to everyone in your enterprise. You want BI to be up and running with just few clicks so that your business users can start their analytics exploration without any wait time or training. To learn more about how easy IBM Cognos Analytics is to install, manage, govern, scale and use, join us for Session 2004: Baby Steps - The Analytics Journey from a Department to an Enterprise at IBM Insight at World of Watson. Register now: http://ibm.co/CAWoW1FB

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IBM Cognos #Analytics: Advancements in report authoring and consumption

Blog editor’s note: Rachel Su and Tod Creasey will be leading a session that takes a deeper look at Cognos Analytics and data reporting at IBM Insight at World of Watson 2016. Join us in Las Vegas, October 24-27 for this session and many other exciting activities. Learn more here. Effective reporting is about more than sophisticated data mining and analytics tools. It requires a smart business intelligence solution that can help users understand what they want to convey with their data, and then generate clear, compelling visualizations. That’s the core purpose of business intelligence. But even more importantly, the value of reporting goes up as more people within your organization can make their own reports. If reporting is a specialist activity, limited to a few experts within the IT department, then getting the reports you need will always be a bottleneck and it will be very difficult to find timely insights. Fortunately, the new generation of smarter self-service business intelligence solutions is designed to make reporting available to virtually anyone within your organization. Cognos Analytics has a leading role in this space, combining an accessible user experience and powerful automation features with enterprise-grade data validation and oversight capabilities. The appearance of reports — the actual visual appearance of your data analysis — seems like it should be the least important part of the reporting process. If the information is good, that should be the only criterion, right? But anyone who has worked in the reporting space knows that reports are judged by their appearance all of the time. An ugly or confusing report may be dismissed out of hand, even though it contains valuable insights about your data. Cognos Analytics has a long track record of high quality analytic insight, but it doesn’t neglect the cosmetic aspect of the reporting process either. Built-in templates and automated report generation tools are designed to help even novice users produce great-looking and consumable reports quickly and reliably. To learn more about IBM Cognos Analytics and how it can help with data discovery and reporting, join us for Session 1357: Cognos Analytics - Advancements in Report Authoring and Consumption at  IBM Insight at World of Watson. Register now: http://ibm.co/CAWoW1FB  

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In just ten minutes you can be creating dashboards with IBM Cognos Analytics

Blog editor’s note: Dale Forman, the author of this blog, will be leading a session that takes a deeper look at IBM Cognos Analytics and self-service dashboards at IBM World of Watson 2016. Join us in Las Vegas, October 24-27 for this session and many other exciting activities. Learn more here. Less than 10 minutes to create fully interactive dashboards. This seems incredible, but it’s true—virtually any user can start using IBM Cognos Analytics and build rich, insightful dashboards within minutes. This is only possible because of the new capabilities that are integrated throughout IBM Cognos Analytics. Users don’t need to spend hours or days formatting, cleaning and assembling data. And there’s no need to build and refine a complex data model before you can start gaining insights. Instead, smart features quickly guide you through the steps of shaping data into a powerful dashboard: Connect to a variety of data sources in a variety of formats—including uploaded files and networked databases Use smart intent-based search to identify relevant data Build a powerful, shareable data modules and dashboards In fact, the third step is sometimes unnecessary—the intent based search features can automatically build dashboards as you work. Cognos Analytics is designed to help virtually anyone analyze data and build great-looking data visualizations and dashboards. Lots of analytics solution providers are making similar claims at the moment—there are many solutions on the market that can help you create a pretty visualization of some data. But unlike competing products, Cognos Analytics rests on a proven foundation of enterprise-class technology and full reporting capabilities, and is built to meet the visualization and reporting needs of the entire enterprise, from the line-of-business user to the data compliance officer.  Flashy visualizations are great, but they’re only valuable if the solution that creates them can support users throughout the whole organization, and the data that underpins them is robust and reliable. To know more about dashboard creation, join us for Session 2407 - In just 10 minutes you can be creating dashboards with Cognos Analytics at IBM World of Watson. After the session, meet Dale and get a personal walk-through of Cognos Dashboards and Data Modules at the IBM Analytics Lab Services booth in the Exhibition Hall. Register now: http://ibm.co/CAWoW1FB  

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Harnessing collective intelligence with #Cognos #Analytics

I recently came across the following Japanese proverb, popularized by best-selling business author, Kenneth Blanchard, and it occurred to me that it encapsulates what’s best about IBM Cognos Analytics: “None of us is as smart as all of us.” In democratizing access to data via a simplified user experience, IBM Cognos Analytics has opened the doors to vast possibilities for inquiry and interrogation. When the wide range of perspectives among IT and line of business users engage with the same data, a depth and breadth of collective intelligence emerges. That’s just the beginning. Decisions can happen much faster and be far more effective when key players are looking at the same facts, versus the debate and delay that surrounds decisions based on intuition, tradition, or what didn’t work last time. The assurance of one, companywide version of the truth, that’s based on a silo-free understanding of the same mission-critical reporting and the same performance metrics, creates a solid framework for a new way forward with a distinct competitive edge. Since IBM Cognos Analytics is extremely scalable, an interesting insight or an in-depth report can instantly be shared with tens of thousands of colleagues—or a few key players—enabling teams of any size to unite on the same side of the information and move forward together. The data modeling component provides an opportunity for business users to shape data into a format and a presentation that's conducive to decision making, regardless of where the data resides or how complex it is. Whereas in the past, data modeling was limited to IT specialists, the current pace of business and the vast array of data requires a democratization of data modeling to a broader sphere of users—enabling the discovery of critical insights every single day. Another critical advantage of IBM Cognos Analytics: intent-based modeling, which ensures that users who are not intimately familiar with the structure of a database or the relationships between tables can effectively navigate and interrogate the data. Users simply need to indicate their intent in plain language, the general subject matter and what questions they are seeking to answer. Built-in intelligence will find the right relationships and uncover the right data to support decision making. This leads to my final thoughts on the most amazing advantage of IBM Cognos Analytics. With IBM Cognos Analytics, users are guided into discovery. It’s not necessary to be knowledgeable about the data source or to have ever used the current or previous version of the system. Immediately upon opening the application, users are directed toward what they are looking to accomplish with a user experience that reflects what’s needed at that moment. Read other posts on the features and functionality of IBM Cognos Analytics: Take a guided tour of you data with IBM Cognos Analytics No report left behind: Upgrading to Cognos Analytics IBM Cognos Analytics on Cloud: Complete Choice, Confidence and Control Business Partner Perspective:  IBM Cognos Analytics Simplifies Exploration of Company Data Democratizing Data Discovery Single interface, multiple layers of insight IBM Cognos Analytics and the Evolving Role of IT Multitask your way to data mastery IBM Cognos Analytics builds upon core strengths IBM Cognos Analytics: Broader Perspectives, Better Decisions Customers in charge; Cloud and on-premises deployment options fully supported Nothing lost, much gained in upgrading to IBM Cognos Analytics Self-serve BI: LOB and IT on the same playing field Simply the most powerful analytics platform on the market Check out the IBM Cognos Analytics site for a free trial and additional information on harnessing your company’s data. Connect via any of the following hashtags: #experiencecognos; #businessintelligence; #cognosanalytics Twitter handles: @ibmcognos @ibmbigdatahub @ibmanalytics

Blog

Simply the most powerful analytics platform on the market

IBM Cognos Analytics has a robust heritage with a platform for scalability, reliability, security, governance and performance that’s been tested and validated over the past 15 years. With a track record of scaling beyond hundreds of thousands of users and meeting our toughest clients’ demands, we are equally adept at serving clients that want to start small with a departmental installation. Starting small is a current trend, and as the need for analytics takes flight within a particular environment, Cognos Analytics easily grows with our clients’ communities and expands capabilities. The upgrade to IBM Cognos Analytics has brought the enhancement of a self-service capability to the existing, robust IBM Cognos platform, in effect, giving rise to an entirely new sphere of insight and analysis. The beauty of the tool is that IT and line of business are now using the same platform and the same set of robust capabilities. Bringing business users and IT onto the same analytics platform via a streamlined, intelligent and highly intuitive interface, enables business users to independently investigate and interrogate company data, uncovering insights that can be shared and enabling reports to be created in any format that they wish, for colleagues to then build upon. At the same time, IT benefits from not getting sidetracked and backlogged with frequent line-of-business requests for reports and analytics. The result is a sharper IT focus on longer-term projects and bigger picture strategic initiatives. With IBM Cognos Analytics, enterprises of every size are increasingly able to leverage the collective intelligence of their people and get analytics into the hands of more users. The enhancement of self-service capabilities is opening doors to untold new possibilities arising from the far greater consumption of, interaction with and actual creation of the kind of content that is critical for moving companies forward in the digital economy. Read other posts on the features and functionality of IBM Cognos Analytics: Take a guided tour of you data with IBM Cognos Analytics No report left behind: Upgrading to Cognos Analytics IBM Cognos Analytics on Cloud: Complete Choice, Confidence and Control Business Partner Perspective:  IBM Cognos Analytics Simplifies Exploration of Company Data Democratizing Data Discovery Single interface, multiple layers of insight IBM Cognos Analytics and the Evolving Role of IT Multitask your way to data mastery IBM Cognos Analytics builds upon core strengths IBM Cognos Analytics: Broader Perspectives, Better Decisions Customers in charge; Cloud and on-premises deployment options fully supported Nothing lost, much gained in upgrading to IBM Cognos Analytics Self-serve BI: LOB and IT on the same playing field Check out the IBM Cognos Analytics site for a free trial and additional information on harnessing your company’s data. Connect via any of the following hashtags: #experiencecognos; #businessintelligence; #cognosanalytics Twitter handles: @ibmcognos @ibmbigdatahub @ibmanalytics