IBM Cognos Business Intelligence
The sector of business intelligence has grown and quickly evolved, pressurizing companies offering BI solutions to refresh, improve, and build up their offers. Several enterprises invented their own systems, differing from each other. Among them, there's one solution with over forty-year tradition that allowed it to reach the leadership and remain on the first position for years - it is Cognos Business Intelligence.
Times have changed and - simultaneously - changed the idea of organization management. Even though a long period were devoted to expanding a general automation on business, a last few years the optimization trend expands. Due to those movements, enterprises strive for spreading the access to data - making dataflow faster and more accurate, allowing more employees from different departments get always actual information. Its influence on making right decisions is indescribable - the coordination of managing has never been less problematic. The general idea is easy - "live" monitoring of sale (or production, transactions etc.) gives an opportunity of faster reacting. Quick check at the sales trend might bring extremely high profits - no matter if they're by reducing the losses caused by wrong strategy or increasing the income from the efficient deals, money saved (or extra-money earned) is always worth it.
The Business Intelligence platform is a set of tools to make the management even more efficient. Harnessing it, two or more seemingly completely separate and independent departments can work simultaneously optimizing the processes, as it should never be forgotten that all the departments are just the parts of the larger community - they're something like links of a chain. Now, the managers of all departments have an opportunity of adjusting, monitoring, and - as that all leads to it - optimizing business.
The almighty threesome
As the whole management strategies grow larger and larger, the invented nuances, aspects, details - all may be reduced to asking and answering just three questions on which depends so called performance management.
The first and the most basic question - without having it answered any changes are impossible (or rather: possible, but their influence is unpredictable) - "How is a company doing?". Looks simply (if not just stupid), but it covers the general view of company's trend. The answer might be shortened this way: "Company's on track" (and it's this nice case when manager doesn't need anything more than counting incoming cash and drinking champagne), or (what's inevitably worse) "Company's off track". But it's not the end, yet.
The second thing to be worked out - also the second question to be answered - is "Why is that?". What are the reasons of growing incomes - whether they're caused only be the seasonal hesitations, or is it a constant change, and so on. The same thing needs checking when a company is off track - are the losses seasonal, do they grow or diminish. Having the situation recognized, comes a time for the last question - what to do then? When the first two questions were concerned to a passive side of management, the third applies straight to the future tasks to be undertaken. Even the whole answer may need an accurate arrangements and long-term operations, it's idea comes to simple "how to sustain good trends and how to reverse the bad ones". Performance management is nothing more than finding the answer for the three questions above.
Recognizing the enemy
But where is the place of BI itself? The business intelligence was "invented" to simplify answering the two of questions mentioned a while ago - how is it doing and than why. Due to a growth of BI meaning, vendors offer new solutions and tools letting customers organize in one place all the planning, controlling budget, and forecasts. The 'one place – many tasks' idea increases the effects simultaneously reducing the costs. Single console is a really efficient solution, but implementing it sometimes demands a bit of effort – every organization has its own set of departments, indicators, tasks. The challenges companies need to face diversify.
The first problem company has to face is finding an appropriate solution – acceptable for all the users independently on the variety and diversification of their needs. As it has been surveyed, customers used to have about twenty different BI tools responsible for coordinating work of their organizations. Twenty different tools used by plenty of people whose skills differ – even though the habits might be changed, learning every time a new tool causes a lot of troubles and time wasting that is inexcusable in the rapidly changing environment. It brings up additional costs and delays the work.
Next, usually the implemented structures are complex – much more than it is really necessary. A set of mergers, acquisitions, platforms, sources, environments, tools, platforms does not improve the situation. The information found by The Data Warehouse Institute states that a typical organization works on more than fourty different BI data sources. Surely, these problems may be solved – it’s just a matter of time. And money. It shouldn’t be forgotten, IT budgets are limited, therefore the maintenance and servicing costs cannot grow forever. Finally, the company has to find a solution not only addressing the initial needs, but also ready for a long-term cooperation without significant modifications.
Enter the dragon
Not every offered platform meets the expectations, but surely there's at least the one to fulfill all the needs – IBM Cognos BI – the solution to make decision faster, more informed, and more aligned.
How does Cognos do it?
- There are a few points enabling high-performance cooperation:
- Back to the idea of performance management and the three fundamental questions – Cognos offers a complete set of facilities simplifying correct addressing those questions. The system enable an access to all the needed reporting, analysis, dashboards and scorecarding through the web. Offered capabilities were created for improving the efficiency of information usage basing on its quick searching and so transforming.
- The service-oriented architecture of the system makes IBM Cognos a unique modern platform that might be easily fitted to the actual requirements of still growing amount of users. The specific management tools, but also system flexibility and extensibility simplify the adaptation.
- More than twenty years of experience in business intelligence work make Cognos a proven, trustworthy platform able to assure the best possible cooperation. The customer is supported during the whole his work with Cognos - provided frameworks and competency centers concentrate on client's success.
No matter what point we try to rate business intelligence platform from, it still refers to the fundamental questions stated above. The review of solutions included in Cognos also cannot be sorted in a different way.
- Dashboards and scorecards are responsible for the first level of performance management - general rating how a company is doing. To begin with the dashboards. The ones in Cognos provide very clear and readable review of information - it's especially useful when the general diagnose is needed. It takes only a while for manager to find out what area of performance he should care of. Efficient business monitoring helps quick measuring changes and appropriate reacting. Also, the scorecards are an ideal completion for rating the company's trends.
- Having discovered what is going on, manager should find out why it is. That's a role of reporting and analysis tools, as the reporting is thought to be the fundamental capability of business intelligence. Even though the general idea of reporting seems easy, Cognos offers different styles to best fit the recent expectations, projecting even the most complicated data and compositions in a friendly way. What's more, well worked-out reporting systems are important as it's usually a first step to the efficient performance management.
- Finally the analysis - a key to inventing solutions to discovered and reported problems. Accurate and appropriate analysis enables quick situation rating. It wouldn't be possible without the personalization possibilities offered by Cognos - every analysis' points might be sorted by any category customer wants - looking at the same aspect from different points of view may bring some unexpected solutions. Also the review would be better due to the wider spectrum of rating. What's more, IBM lets its customers navigate through the different data sources without time-consuming switching tools.
Now, with Cognos system, the communication among data sources and working tools is simplified for all the customers - every authorized user gets an unlimited access to data in a way, a time, and a place he likes. And all of that for improving the efficiency of made decisions.
A few statements earlier, there was an 'authorized user' name used. Not accidentally. Even though it's possible to enable every employee a full access to all the sources, that's not the most comfortable solution. Therefore, Cognos offers diversified levels of access - business managers may prefer general views with an option allowing them quickly moving to demanded details. On the opposite side of scale, ordinary workers or casual customers usually need to see simple, general reports letting them choose the concrete part of data they want to look on. The diversified levels of access are widely used by different business intelligence vendors, but IBM Cognos BI - unlike the rivals - delivers it with a single solution. Reducing the amount of tools disturbing themselves, gained significant growth of the efficiency.
What are the arguments that make Cognos a good option?
- Implementing IBM Cognos BI bring tangible profits due to driving better performance.
- Every employee gets information he needs - without engaging outside systems and tools.
- Solution allows continuous comparing daily changes to the overall company strategy.
- All the indicators, further the reports are projected in a transparent way, therefore preparing the outside presentation of gained results is effortless.
Used solution were created as a result of long-term experience earned thank to the cooperation among IBM and its customers. "Big Blue" led its clients through all the steps of business intelligence implementing - starting with defining the needs, then turning the system on, answering the what-and-why questions and to finally connect all the enterprise workers to the platform.
Business Intelligence - convincing the unconvined
There's so much noise around the business intelligence, but is it really worth that? Why to implement the business intelligence platform? No one denies the enormous growth of data dependence during the latest years.
Also, no one undermine the profits that might be reached through the BI. As more and more enterprises invest in new technologies, the rules of concurrency demand other companies to follow them. In the times when every company management depends on data, its flow and access make a difference - difference that sometimes decide about company's "to be or not to be".
But there are lot of different solutions, so why to choose IBM Cognos BI?
Especially because of its universality and efficiency, but also the general accessibility. High experience and well organized support.
Finally, why IBM Cognos is a leader in business intelligence market? The unique platform structure concentrated on securing the access for all users where, when and in the manner they want it. Also, plenty of personalization options make Cognos friendly for user and - what is a consequence - simplify the work. The years of experience allowed IBM (world leader in IT) to create and adjust their platform to all the specific requirements.
Furthermore, the IBM Cognos BI is still upgraded - there's no worry that IBM's customer could be left without support. And the very last that should be mentioned, twenty-three thousands of customers (beginning with small companies and finishing with the global range enteprises) couldn't have been wrong - the technology they have chosen satisfy them at all.