Tool Modifies Reports Via Web

Cognos Inc. plans to launch a reporting application in the fall.

Cognos Inc. plans to launch a reporting application in the fall that it expects will solve enterprises concerns about usability and having to deploy multiple products from multiple vendors.

The Web-based ReportNet tool supports not only the distribution of reports over the Web, as Cognos Impromptu Web Reports does now, but also the creation and modification of reports via the Web. It is designed to unify companies query and reporting needs under a single, zero-footprint product.

Cognos CEO Ron Zambonini told financial analysts during a conference call last month that ReportNet, code-named CR1, would address all elements of reporting. Beyond business intelligence reporting, ReportNet could be used for applications such as Web billing and account statements and could be the foundation for other companies to build applications on, Zambonini said.

Although Ottawa-based Cognos plans to officially launch the product Oct. 1, ReportNet is available now and has been demonstrated at customer events.

"In concept, it looked great in terms of what it can do," said Glen Mac Donell, manager of data management and analysis at American Automobile Association Inc., in Heathrow, Fla., who saw one such demonstration.

AAA uses a number of Cognos products now, including PowerPlay Enterprise Server, DecisionStream, and the Impromptu and PowerPlay clients. "[ReportNet] seems to weave that all together," Mac Donell said. "It looked very user-friendly, which is important when youre dealing with different levels of sophistication among your users."

Eric Rogge, an analyst at Ventana Research, in Belmont, Calif., has also had an early look at ReportNet and said it supports ad hoc query and production reporting, user-defined multilingual querying capabilities, and Web-delivered report authoring and analysis.