Cognos has announced that Cognos 8 BI Analysis for Microsoft Excel 8.2 is now generally available. The new enterprise BI capability enables Microsoft Excel users to interactively explore and analyse centrally controlled and secured Cognos 8 Business Intelligence performance information for improved decision-making.
Cognos 8 BI Analysis for Microsoft Excel 8.2 is a new addition to Cognos 8 BI. 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. These workers want to leverage their existing Excel skills to create new secure and refreshable performance information inside their spreadsheets. Through the interactive exploration and formulae based capabilities of Cognos 8 BI Analysis for Microsoft Excel, they benefit from a live data connection that allows them to independently solve business problems using trusted Cognos 8 BI, and other data sources, in Excel.
Says David McWilliam, managing director at Cognos South Africa, "Business and financial analysts want to access and analyse centrally controlled and trusted performance information and still have the flexibility to combine their findings with other data sources in an independent, ad-hoc manner.
"This new product is part of our ongoing commitment to bring performance management decision-making to the widest array of end users in the environment they prefer to work in. This includes Microsoft Office, a search interface, PDF or a mobile device."
Organisations have long been challenged to bring the required security and data integrity to the spreadsheet. According to the independent Forrester Research report, Ouch! Get Ready - Spreadsheets Are Here To Stay For Business Intelligence (April 2007), "spreadsheets and errors populate like rabbits. The popularity and huge 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 business confidence in spreadsheet data, information, and results. When spreadsheets are incorporated and tightly integrated with business processes, there is a much higher risk that lack of controls will introduce operational and/or financial risk into the process."
Circuit City, Manpower and Bloorview Kids Rehab are representative customer organisations who beta tested Cognos 8 BI Analysis for Microsoft Excel 8.2.
Their business, financial analysts and line of business managers were able to interactively explore and analyse 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.
Cognos 8 BI Analysis for Microsoft Excel 8.2 meets the combined demands of IT and key business stakeholders as part of a solution that offers a complete range of BI capabilities on a single, proven architecture. By providing business analysts with access to the Cognos 8 BI data layer they gain a connection which spans a variety of data sources, including Cognos 8 Planning and Cognos 8 Controller. They also get 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, access information through formulas and manage query parameters directly. As data or queries are updated, linked Excel calculations and charts are also updated automatically.