With enterprises always on the lookout for simpler, more consolidated applications, Cognos Inc. has forged closer links between its financial management applications and the planning and budgeting software it acquired from Adaytum Inc. last year.
Cognos last week unveiled Enterprise Planning Series Version 7.2, removing some of the integration headaches in previous versions of the offering, which was known as Cognos Finance prior to the Adaytum acquisition.
The software supports financial reporting, calculation of business drivers effects on budget plans and metrics based on time horizons.
Manufacturer Murray Inc., which began using Cognos Finance four years ago, is beta testing Version 7.2 of Cognos Enterprise Planning Series, having implemented Version 7.1. The real-time engine in the software has caught the eye of Murrays financial systems manager, Rose Melillo.
"You can do a lot of what-if scenarios and see it right there—you dont have to change your entire financial plan, based on one target area," said Melillo, in Brentwood, Tenn. "You can set what you want your bottom line to be, then look at what it would be if you changed something. You can do more driver-based planning, rather than just input and calculation."
Melillo called the integration of Adaytum and Cognos technologies the "best of both worlds." Murray evaluated Adaytum applications for financial planning before going with Cognos.
While many of these capabilities existed in Cognos Enterprise Planning Series before, Melillo said this is the first version of the application that integrates them well. "There was integration before this, but not on the wizard level, only on the IT level," she said. "Now its all click and point and drag and drop." The result is that Murray can do its financial closes much faster, shaving the time it takes from two weeks to three days.
In addition to real-time visibility of operating performance, Cognos Enterprise Planning Series 7.2 includes tighter integration of planning data with production reporting as well as support for direct-entry commands for changing planning data—what the company calls "active planning."
Version 7.2 features attribute-based models to facilitate complex dimensional consolidation and reporting needs, as well as deeper integration with Microsoft Corp.s Excel.