Cognos (Nasdaq: COGN; TSX: CSN) today previewed Cognos 8 BI Analysis for Microsoft ExcelÂ®, a new enterprise BI capability that enables Microsoft Excel users to directly access centrally controlled and secured Cognos 8 BI performance information for improved decision-making.
The self-service nature of the new capability will make it easy for business analysts, financial analysts or line of business managers to interactively explore and analyze multidimensional information within Microsoft Excel, without draining valuable IT resources. Using formula-based data access, business users will be able to find answers, solve business problems and report key results in the format most convenient to them, while leveraging the Cognos 8 BI infrastructure for data consistency, freshness and security. For richer analysis and formatting, or for broader enterprise distribution of reports, they can re-use the results of their exploration within other worksheets or Cognos 8 BIâ€™s proven reporting and analysis capabilities.
â€œThe ability to conduct drag and drop exploration and analysis of controlled BI data within Excel will really benefit the business analyst who wants to solve analytical problems in a familiar spreadsheet environment,â€ said Vivian Adashek, financial systems project specialist, Manpower. â€œThese analysts are gaining direct access to the underlying data sources within Excel so they can flexibly analyze trusted secure information from Cognos 8 BI together with other data sources without requiring IT to do this for them. As always, Cognos is listening and partnering with its customers on new product innovations.â€
With Cognos 8 BI Analysis for Microsoft Excel, business users will have access to the entire Cognos 8 BI data layer. This provides a connection to heterogeneous data sources, including planning and consolidation. They will also gain a managed view of data through a single interface to explore, select, filter and define the layout of the desired information. Flexible query capabilities let business users refresh and modify their original analysis, alter the layout, express information as formulas and manage the query parameters. As the Cognos 8 BI data refreshes, or the query expands through drill-down, linked Excel calculations and charts are updated automatically.
â€œIn IDC’s Services and Software Leading Indicators survey, C-suite executives expressed their desire for improved integrated access to relevant information as well as real-time monitoring of business performance,â€ said Kathleen Wilhide, Research Director, Financial Performance & Strategy Management, IDC. “Business analysts are faced with multiple daily requests for on-the-fly analysis. Through the use of Excel connected to the trusted Cognos performance management environment, analysts are empowered to produce self-service reports and analysis with familiar Excel, while maintaining the integrity of information through a live connection to the enterprise system of record.”
Cognos 8 BI Analysis for Microsoft Excel will extend Cognosâ€™ support for Microsoft Office from consumption of pre-authored content within Office to report authoring, exploration and analysis. It joins solutions already in place for Cognos Controller, Cognos Planning, and Cognos 8 BI. By reaching business users that may prefer to work in spreadsheets, it will enable organizations to standardize on a single, trusted BI platform for all its users. Standardization on Cognos lets IT fully leverage the single security framework and proven web services-based architecture of Cognos 8 BI, while business users across the enterprise benefit from a direct connection to the same trusted performance information whether they are working from a spreadsheet, mobile device or a browser-based capability.
â€œCognos is committed to supporting the BI needs of all users across organizations, regardless of their preferred, or required, authoring environments. Business analysts that are power Excel users may prefer to manipulate data for reporting and analysis within Excel, but their current method of cutting and pasting or manually entering information is fraught with security risk and data latency issues. Like all users in the organization, they will benefit from access to centrally trusted and controlled performance information,â€ said Leah MacMillan, vice president of product marketing, Cognos. â€œThis solution will immediately extend the value of a customerâ€™s Cognos 8 BI deployment, and unlike other tools available, it is not limited to exploration of proprietary data sources and does not require IT expertise to enjoy its benefits.â€
Cognos 8 BI Analysis for Microsoft Excel is targeted to be available in the second half of 2007. It will be initially previewed at Cognos Finance Forum 2007, which spans North America and Europe with additional venues in Latin America and Asia Pacific.