BI knowledge forum for AUSPAC

Business intelligence vendor Cognos yesterday extended its customer knowledge forum to customers in the Asia Pacific region.

The information sharing forum, dubbed an innovation centre by Cognos, allows 50 members in Australia and New Zealand to exchange BI blueprints with customers overseas. A similar initiative was launched in Stockholm in 2004 and another opened last year in Minnesota.

While there is no physical innovation centre, a Web site and all exchanges between members accessing "performance blueprints" is managed by one full-time member.

Suncorp group budgeting and forecasting manager John Herrmann said he uses the forum of peers and analysts to develop the firm's own BI models.

"We will use the [centre] to develop best practice concepts by working with other organizations with similar issues and challenges," Herrmann said. "This will lead to the development of processes and models to help fast-track our vision for a totally integrated strategic planning and budget model."

Deloitte enterprise applications performance management leader Ray Pineda said his firm developed a blueprint with Cognos by using its knowledge of financial risk, audit and control objectives and collated input from multiple clients and experts.

"This joint work represents leading practices compiled from related engagements with hundreds of clients," Pineda said. "This blueprint provides a roadmap for customers that include necessary process and application controls to implement a consolidation system."

Cognos global innovation centre director Jeff Holker said while the blueprints are formed on enterprise experience, privacy is not a concern as identifiable information is removed.

"The blueprints are torn back to grassroots to protect company information or 'dirty laundry' so they end up hard templates, rather than case studies," Holker said. "Companies enjoy contributing to blueprints, because they can create a focus of attention for problem areas in their industry."

He said both the innovation centre, which has 1000 global members, and blueprint concepts are unique, noting access to the facility is free of charge.

Cognos innovation centre advisors include Beyond Budgeting, the Hackett Group, IBM, Palladium Group and Sonax who assist via roundtables, one-on-one workshops, and conferences

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