IBM targets its Cognos Express business intelligence and planning solution at cost-conscious businesses.
Technology giant IBM announced the launch
of an all-in-one business intelligence and planning solution, IBM
Cognos, which will offer midmarket businesses a low-cost and low-risk,
integrated approach to planning, analyzing and reporting performance and
The Cognos Express solution-which includes Cognos Express Reporter, Cognos
Express Xcelerator and Cognos Express Advisor, all available in mid-September-provides
preconfigured business analytics and planning capabilities in a single
offering, which IBM said enables midmarket
executives to launch their business analytics strategy and then evolve it as
their needs grow.
The solution plugs into an organization's existing infrastructure and, IBM
claims, can be up and running in a few hours. New capabilities can then be
added over time as business requirements change, IBM
said. Cognos also offers a centralized, Web-based console that manages all
administrative aspects of installation, deployment and ongoing management.
Through its self-service environment, Cognos Express allows clients to build
reports, analyses, dashboards and multidimensional plans on their own. For
instance, instead of waiting for the IT department to funnel reports that can
be outdated by the time they are received, individual retail store managers can
now tap into Cognos Express to build their own daily store sales reports. The
solution also comes with an in-memory analytics server that allows clients to
centrally manage data, business rules and calculations.
Cognos Express Reporter lets business users securely access data to create
financial, operational and transactional production reports and ad hoc queries
using drag-and-drop authoring capabilities, Express Advisor offers analysis and
"what if" scenario planning for long- and short-term performance forecasting,
and key metrics can be shared among stakeholders using live dashboards. Express
Xcelerator helps managers transform their common spreadsheets with an
underlying in-memory analytics engine for real-time multidimensional analysis,
planning, budgeting and forecasting
"Midsized organizations are the engines that will lead the global economy
back to growth and prosperity. Even in today's unsettled landscape, midsized
companies are striving to better harness their information so they can continue
to innovate and grow," said Ben Plummer, director of IBM's
Cognos midmarket business unit. "We are committed to helping our midmarket
clients harness the power of analytics with immediate, less-costly access to
business insights, with the predictive abilities they need to make better,
sharper, timelier decisions."
A recent IBM Global CIO
Study involving 2,500 CIOs from 78 countries found that 83 percent of midmarket
executives ranked "business intelligence and analytics" as their top priority
for improving competitiveness and cutting costs. IBM
argues that faced with limited budgets and overstretched IT resources, midsized
organizations require faster and more affordable analytics solutions that can
help them cope with information overload.
James Irvine, financial controller with the 15-outlet Wendy's Old Fashioned
Hamburgers franchise chain in New Zealand,
said their success depends heavily on understanding what customers want, then
tailoring their operations accordingly to keep them coming back again and
"This is only achievable if you have the right access to information and
fast and efficient means of communicating goals to the field," he said. "Cognos
Express, with its deep analytics capabilities, is helping midsized companies
like ours quickly glean daily sales, marketing and operations information and
make the right business decisions to remain competitive."
Nathan Eddy is Associate Editor, Midmarket, at eWEEK.com. Before joining eWEEK.com, Nate was a writer with ChannelWeb and he served as an editor at FierceMarkets. He is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.