Analytics Targeted at New Types of Users

Cognos integrates Adaytum wares; Informatica updates PowerAnalyzer.

Cognos Inc. and Informatica Corp. are revving their respective business intelligence platforms with new features designed to make them more accessible to more types of users.

Cognos last week announced a new corporate performance management solution, code-named Cognos Enterprise Planning, that will add functionality to Cognos Series 7 to make it attractive to chief financial officers. The as-yet-unnamed solution will be part of Cognos Series 7, Release 1, and completed by months end. It incorporates technology the company acquired when it bought Adaytum Inc. in December.

Ottawa-based Cognos is combining Adaytums planning, budgeting and forecasting applications with its own applications for financial analytics, scorecarding and enterprise reporting.

While Cognos did not previously have the planning capabilities to handle complex business logic, the integration will also take Adaytums software far beyond its planning and forecasting strengths, said Mark Stimpson, director of product management for Cognos Enterprise Planning.

"Corporate performance management is not just planning and forecasting but monitoring the business and understanding the business and keeping track of how actual performance compares to the plan," said Stimpson.

Cognos Series 7 will provide analysis and reporting integrated with the Adaytum applications. Users will be able to drill down into PowerPlay online analytical processing cubes from the Adaytum planning and forecasting environment to investigate underlying data. Spencer Chinery, director of financial analysis and planning at regional fast-food restaurant chain The Krystal Co., in Chattanooga, Tenn., uses Adaytum e.Planning and Cognos Transform, PowerPlay and Impromptu products. Krystal built its own middle layer to pull data from e.Planning to be sliced and diced and put into reports in the Cognos applications. Chinery said he hopes that the product will become smoother as Cognos integrates the technologies.

"What we need is for these products to talk to each other," Chinery said.

Separately, Informatica last week introduced Version 4 of its PowerAnalyzer product, a release highlighted by usability enhancements designed to make the business intelligence platform more accessible to a wider range of users.

PowerAnalyzer 4, due in early May, makes use of what Informatica calls a "persona-driven" design, so that features and functions are tailored to core groups of users needs without exposing those users to underlying technology, said company officials in Redwood City, Calif.

Other new features include Microsoft Corp. Excel templates and pivot tables embedded within the Power-Analyzer environment and an analytic workflow technology that guides users through analytic processes using a decision-tree interface so users can understand the root causes of an analysis thats been made, officials said.