Cognos launches financial application

Business intelligence vendor Cognos launched a new financial management solution Monday that is designed to boost an enterprise's insight into financial performance while carving out time savings from the process.

Cognos Finance 6.0 is a budgeting, consolidation, planning, and forecasting solution that features increased capability to integrate with other systems and Microsoft Corp.'s Excel.

It will provide organizations with an integrated environment with Web-based access to financial analysis and budgeting to support rapid monthly and quarterly closes, corporate budgeting processes, and integrating up-to-date results with forecasts from the field, according to company officials.

In addition, it extends global financial analysis by providing users -- who may be traveling or otherwise offline -- the ability to operate independently using Excel, said Delbert Krause, Cognos product marketing manager.

"The user can budget and report in Excel independently of the main system," Krause said. "We take the budget form people are required to fill out and transfer all that information and all the rules that go with it."

The new product also includes a new planning module that features built-in collaboration designed to accelerate and simplify the planning process. Corporate plans can be created, shared, and returned for approval to allow users to participate in the corporate planning process.

While working within the context of the corporate plan, users can ask "what if" questions based on a wide range of user-defined business scenarios, enabling them to assess the impact of their scenario before deciding on a course of action.

Finance 6.0 is also designed to allow enterprises to leverage existing information whether it resides in a data warehouse, a transaction system, or a supporting application. The information can simply be delivered within the context of the existing Cognos Finance reporting or analysis, or the solution can link up with existing application to allow the user to seamlessly move to supporting systems.

Murray, a lawn mower manufacturer based in Lawrenceburg, Tenn., has upgraded to Cognos 6.0 and already has streamlined its complex budgeting and forecasting process, including further reducing monthly close times.

The advanced drill-through capabilities of 6.0 allow users to drill to transaction detail for additional information or drill through to other applications outside of Cognos, ensuring Murray financial systems are tightly integrated with all other systems, said Rose Melillo, Murray financial systems manager.

With Cognos Finance, Murray can create accurate, timely financial reports and put financial performance information quickly into the hands of decision-makers, enabling them to better manage and forecast corporate performance, he added.

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