Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Cognos 8 Has Excel Interface

Cognos has introduced an add-in for Microsoft's Excel spreadsheet in "Cognos 8 BI Analysis for Microsoft Excel 8.2," providing users a familiar interface to slice, dice and drill down on OLAP data sources, including relational data in a data warehouse, Microsoft's Analysis Services, or Cognos's PowerCubes, which are dimensionally modeled data sets generated within Cognos 8.

It is designed for the business or financial analyst who works regularly in Excel under tight time pressures to create ad-hoc analysis and reports that access multiple data sources.

The popularity and benefits of spreadsheets create many management and control issues and challenges for both enterprise users and IT professionals. Spreadsheets traditionally lack integrity, traceability, consistency, redundancy, security, and compliance, which ultimately erode confidence in spreadsheet data, information, and results. When spreadsheets are tightly integrated with business processes, there’s a much higher risk that lack of controls will introduce error and risk into the process.

Circuit City, Manpower, and Bloorview Kids Rehab are representative customer organizations who beta-tested Cognos 8 BI Analysis for Microsoft Excel 8.2. Their business and financial analysts and line managers were able to interactively explore and analyze multidimensional performance information by region, product, customer or business unit within Microsoft Excel, while leveraging the Cognos 8 BI infrastructure for data consistency, freshness and security, all without additional IT resources.

“With Cognos 8 BI Analysis for Microsoft Excel, we appreciated the ability to analyze multiple data sources together in one spreadsheet, while maintaining data consistency and security,” said Bill McCorey, senior vice president and chief information officer of Circuit City Stores, Inc. “Our team saw tremendous value in conducting exploration and analysis of enterprise performance information while working within Excel. Our financial analysts quickly saw the benefit of being able to perform their own ad-hoc self-serve analysis in situations that previously required IT involvement. They were able to quickly and independently resolve issues by finding answers and presenting scenario results to answer typical business questions.”

“Our analysts were able to use the sophisticated functionality and benefit from the power of Cognos 8 BI, while remaining within the familiar environment of Excel,” said Hakim Lakhani, director, decision support and planning, Bloorview Kids Rehab. “They could enhance the Cognos data with specific Excel functions and formulas and add data from various applications while keeping both the data and their calculations dynamic.”

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