Cognos Business Intelligence represents one of the largest pure play Business Intelligence software houses. Founded in 1969 and used by over 20,000 customers, it was acquired by IBM in January 2008 for $5bn.
As well as producing Cognos software, the company also provides consulting and classroom based training either from its main offices or via its extensive partner network. Other training options include instructor led online training, where the course is delivered to your PC online and you have real time access to a tutor, to very reasonably priced self paced training courses
Cognos has made a number of acquisitions in its history. Recent purchases include:
Applix in 2007 (Applix is an industry leader in performance analytics with operations around the world. Its flagship product is TM1.)
Celequest in 2007 (A provider of operational business intelligence solutions. Celequest software focused on self service dashboard creation and real-time information monitoring. It is also the industry’s only dashboarding solution to be offered as an appliance or via a Software as a Service (SaaS) model).
Reporting and Analysis
Cognos offers strong BI reporting capabilities including Reporting, Analysis, Dashboards and Scorecarding. This is all available via a web based Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). This allows users to work with Cognos using their internet browser and allows it to be used as a zero footprint application.
Its flagship product Cognos 8 allows reports to be created across multiple data sources using an intuitive GUI. Using the reporting suite is straightforward. By dragging and dropping objects onto a report template, users can create reports without the intervention of IT support.
Objects for reports are based on a centralised metadata model or Powercubes, which provides one central reliable resource for report writing. Cube based reporting is available either using Cognos PowerCubes cubes generated by third party provides such as Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services. Reports can then be exported in multiple formats including Excel and PDF.
A unique selling point for Cognos is the user interface, which supports over ten languages and can deliver reports in over 25 languages. Add to this the drill down capabililty, charting, dashboards, and Cognos makes a compelling case for use as a web based reporting and dashboard tool.