Cognos framework reports for duty

Cognos Inc. launched Cognos Series 7 on Monday, a new business intelligence framework that includes wireless event-driven reporting designed to keep users abreast of business transactions in real time.

The reporting feature, Cognos NoticeCast, monitors business intelligence, transactional and operational systems like customer relationship management, supply chain management and enterprise resource planning and alerts users of relevant activity. The solution can notify users by email, digital cell phone or personal digital assistant (PDA).

Users create specific “agents” to monitor business performance metrics, opportunities in operational data and the availability of new events or reports.

In a demonstration, Meg Dussault, director of product marketing for Ottawa-based Cognos, showed how NoticeCast works in tune with Cognos’ PowerPlay software to alert a user when sales of flat-screen televisions exceeded a certain number in a given region.

“What we wanted to do was make business intelligence event-driven,” Dussault said. “How do you get the best sales opportunities before anyone else? How do you find which customers are unhappy? An agent can do a lot these things for you.”

Cognos developed the solution with technology from Twickenham, U.K.-based NoticeCast Software Ltd., which Cognos acquired in Sept. 2000.

Bob Moran, research vice-president and managing director for Boston-based Aberdeen Group, said Cognos has been promising tighter integration between its components and delivered on that promise to a large extent. By combining NoticeCast with its other software in Series 7, Cognos is moving business intelligence from the passive to the active realm, Moran said.

“We’re at a juncture where the face of business intelligence is changing,” Moran said. “And Cognos has made a smart move in integrating it so well.

“The beauty of this is that when you combine the two, you’re able to monitor operational systems and those belonging to certain individuals – towards giving them what makes them most content with the institution. I call it concierge treatment.”

He said Series 7, complete with NoticeCast, greatly increases the administrative capacity of the Cognos framework, as the reporting can be tailored to different users and the burden of keeping information current is reduced.

Cognos said the framework, which provides both Microsoft and Unix platforms, is scalable to tens of thousands of users.

Dussault said Cognos is in talks with a number of wireless vendors to create partnership opportunities, but offered no cost figures for the Series 7 framework.

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