Cognos to launch enterprise search engine

Cognos Monday joined the fray with those companies that seek to offer the enterprise better behind-the-firewall search capabilities. In recent weeks, Oracle launched a new in-house search engine and Google a new enterprise search appliance.

The Cognos Go capability, which indexes all of the metadata in a report, will allow a non-technical user to dig out information embedded within a report. According to Dan Vesset, research director of analytics and data warehousing at IDC, this is not typical of business intelligence search engines.

"Before this you could search by report titles only. All the BI vendors have pretty much the same thing," said Vesset.

Similar to a Yahoo or Google search, the search results are ranked by relevance.

What all of the new enterprise search capabilities appear to be about is the integration of both structured and unstructured search capability. With Cognos Go, the BI vendor will be deploying the same kind of search technology used by the major search vendors for unstructured data and applying it to the structured world of data warehouse information.

"The algorithm we designed looks at keywords used in reports, descriptions, [and] titles and ranks it by relevance," said Paul Hulford, product marketing manager at Cognos.

Cognos Go uses so-called fuzzy matching and word stemming to fine-tune searches, added Hulford.

Simultaneous with the announcement of the new search capabilities was the launch of a Maintenance Release 1 (MR1) of Cognos 8 Business Intelligence. The latest version includes tighter integration with Microsoft Office products as well as with SAP's Business Warehouse solutions.

Cognos users will now be able to embed and refresh reports within Microsoft Excel.

Connectivity to mySAP and Siebel applications have also been enhanced with new Report Packs.

The integration with mySAP is more significant than the search engine news, according to John Hagerty, research vice president at AMR Research, because it does more than simply connect and integrate a report pack with SAP.

"This is Cognos looking at SAP as a dedicated source of data and optimizing SAP across the board," said Hagerty.

That optimization includes the ability of Cognos BI to natively go after data inside SAP's Business Warehouse. Instead of relying on SAP to manipulate the data, the information can now be manipulated within the Cognos solution which gets around any limitations the SAP Business Warehouse may have created, said Hagerty.

Cognos is also standardizing on the SAP portal to make Cognos capabilities accessible within that portal environment.

Cognos Go will ship in May. The Cognos 8 BI MR1 is shipping now.

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