this competitive era of business, good decisions are the building
blocks of great business performance. Many factors influence a
company’s performance, but few actions are more important than an
organization’s decision-making ability. Getting answers and
building a strategy for most of the business problems requires
integrated reporting and analysis, planning, and measuring and
monitoring—across the organization. However a recent survey of
managers by Accenture highlighted some disturbing results
of users don't have confidence in their information
say they missed information they should have used
of managers use wrong information at least once a week
this is not enough to scare the average CFO or CIO, then what is?
is Business Intelligence (BI)?
most valuable asset within an enterprise is Information. However, it
requires a thoughtful management and the right technology to truly
realize its worth. For many companies today, quickly extracting
information from data is becoming difficult because information is
stored in many different formats.
imagine a company that could look at all this information at once.
They could spot hidden trends before they occur and recognize
opportunities before they knock. The technology that enables us to
get this organized information and enables us to use this hidden
information is Business Intelligence (BI).
Cognos : Business Intelligence Tool
we talk about Business Intelligence, IBM Cognos 8 BI Tool is the
market leader in this field with more than 23,000 leading companies
and organizations around the world choosing Cognos Solutions that
helps in understanding performance and making better decisions.
Cognos provides a complete enterprise Business Intelligence software
solution with integrated reporting, analysis, score carding and event
management capabilities. The Cognos Suite provides a full range of
reporting functions in which users can authorize, share and make use
of reports that draw data across the business functions. This tool
enables user to make better consolidated global business decisions
based upon accurate analysis of informational data for the
Cognos also provides Performance Management software that includes
Business Intelligence (BI) and Financial Performance Management (FPM)
software. This helps organizations to plan, understand, and manage
performance through a common understanding with accountable actions
based on answers to the following key business questions:
are we doing it? Measuring and monitoring performance can be done
with scorecards and dashboards that help in tracking key business
are we doing it? Reporting and Analysis is required to see data,
gain context, understand trends, and spot anomalies
should we be doing? Planning, budgets, and forecasting is done
that helps in getting a reliable and consistent view of future
outstanding quality of this tool is its easy to use single platform
for all of these solutions which is easily scalable and can be widely
distributed for better accessibility
Cognos 8: Features
comes with many features that helps in addressing all kind of
business intelligence needs: – Reporting, Analysis,
Dashboards, and Scorecards. Let's discuss these in
Cognos 8 BI Reporting enables us to make smarter business decisions
by providing a comprehensive set of reporting capabilities and access
to the information we need. Reporting with IBM Cognos 8 BI delivers a
single Web-based solution for all components of the reporting
Self-service reporting enables users to access, analyze and author
information themselves without relying on complex IT infrastructure
Author once, access anywhere enables IT to create a single report
that can be accessed on multiple devices, in 25+ languages, in
multiple formats, and in other applications and processes.
Report lifecycle enables collaboration between business and IT by
enabling the sharing of reports.
Cognos 8 BI Analysis enables the interactive exploration of
information regardless of where the data is stored (OLAP and
dimensionally modeled relational sources). It is especially useful
for managers and analysts who need to analyze and report trends in
example, consider a company Great Outdoors Company that needs to
create a report showing sales by order method to determine which
method generates the most revenue and the highest sales volume for
every product of the company.
report can be designed as below
Report on Analysis
this report, you can see that for the Special order method,
the personal accessory Knives generated the highest sales
volume, and Watches generated the most revenue. By sales
visit, Knives generated the largest sales volume. Watches
ordered by the Telephone order method generated the
enables us to:
Perform complex analysis quickly and easily to get to the "why"
behind an event or action.
Explore large complex data sets using drag-and-drop techniques. Drill
down through increasing levels of detail and view by different
dimensions, such as sales per region or by product.
View and analyze data relationships graphically and change displays
easily. We can easily drill down, rank, sort, forecast and nest
information to gain greater insight into trends, causes and effects.
Reporting enables us to create simple reports for each and every
business function in the organization, Cognos Dashboards enable the
user to create much more complex reports with drill up/drill down
capabilities that clearly depict the analysis for the complete
organization business functions at one place. This helps to monitor,
measure and manage corporate performance easily and quickly.
provide an at-a-glance, factual and timely view of business
performance. We can identify anomalies that could turn into
significant business issues, and we can dig deeper into root causes
of issues. IBM Cognos 8 BI Dashboard solutions:
personalized views of trusted key information.
a high degree of visualization with graphs, gauges and charts.
easily be delivered in multiple formats to suit specific needs of
easy to manage from an IT perspective.
Cognos 8 BI Scorecarding software helps to align our teams and
tactics with strategy, communicate goals consistently and monitor
performance against targets.We can use IBM Cognos 8 BI Scorecarding
to manage the full scope of our business processes:
scorecard portlets to access and communicate scorecard content
across all of your organization, and encourage broader use of
scorecard and business strategy information.
strategy maps, cause-and-effect diagrams, and other elements of the
e-mail alerts to a user’s desktop, remote location or PDA when the
status of a metric changes.
Cognos 8: Working with data
Cognos 8 working architecture can be understood from this figure that
clearly depicts the various steps needed to develop the solutions.
provides very simple and easy to use interfaces like Report Studio,
Query Studio and Analysis Studio etc. that enable user to understand
and develop the reports easily and quickly. These reports, analysis,
dashboards and scorecards once developed are monitored to improve
business performance, analyze trends and measure results.
the following 3 main steps help to achieve this
Use report metadata (DATA Layer)
data source administrator can store data in individual tables, rows,
Create a data model (SERVICES Layer)
use Framework Manager to add metadata to the model from any data
source type. A data source is necessary to create models in Framework
Manager and run reports or analyses from IBM Cognos 8. A data source
defines the physical connection to a database. The data source
connection specifies the parameters needed to connect to the
database, such as the location of the database and the timeout
a business intelligence report (USER Layer)
report author uses various tools available with Cognos like Query
Studio, Report Studio and Analysis Studio to create a report that
can be viewed on IBM Cognos Connection and deployed across different
user machines through a web based portal
Cognos : Benefits
benefits provided by Cognos are almost endless. It has its advantages
in every sector of the businesses. To understand this in better, let
me describe the existing pain points across various business sectors
in the businesses and then we will understand as to how Cognos has
helped businesses in removing existing limitations and achieving
breakthrough performance in any industry.
us look at the various benefits provided by Cognos
of Business Benefits
access to information - provides the ability to easily access
information in a timely fashion to achieve goals and drive
accurate, trusted information - allows users to leverage all
data from all sources and applications to deliver information that
business understands, owns and trusts.
Self-Service - empowers the business through self-service
capabilities, allowing users to access, analyze, and author
information themselves without IT resources
to scale with growing user base and user requirements - provides
an open, modern platform that allows them to cost effectively scale
to their growing user base.
existing data sources and IT assets - provides open and common
access to wide range of data sources (relational, ERP, OLAP) and has
the ability to combine the results in a single view
consistent, and accurate view of information - single metadata
modeling layer allows the data modelers to combine data from
multiple data sources into a single data model
the planning, budgeting, forecasting and analysis process so that it
drives smarter decision
its ability to measure, analyze and optimize performance to drive
its ability to align metrics, initiatives and resources with
corporate strategy so that operational and financial objectives are
connected throughout the Enterprise
has many capabilities that could prove useful for any business. To
give a better idea on how Cognos is used practically, let us discuss
some of the customer experiences on Cognos
Hiscox has business reporting covered with IBM Cognos solution
Hiscox finance team found that its spreadsheet-based system was
becoming increasingly difficult to manage, and needed a more
efficient solution for reporting and managing their business.
Cognos 8 Business Intelligence is used for wide-scale reporting
across the company, from operational and financial updates on various
areas of the business, to head count tracking and statutory
deadlines are being met much more consistently. For example, there
was a six day time saving in preparing management accounting reports
for one area of the business.
a look at the following link that explains Hiscox Case study in more
IBM Cognos 8 BI provided the Health Board with the tools to
turn reporting into a self-service system, providing managers and
clinicians across the organization with access to automatically
generated routine reports at the touch of a button.
provide managers and clinicians faster and simpler access to
information, helping to reduce treatment waiting times for patients
and improve organizational efficiency.
IBM Cognos solution was chosen because it provided user-friendly,
get more details on this, click on the following link