Cognos to ship browser-based analytical software

Business intelligence software vendor Cognos is readying the next revision of its flagship product, and it claims the new release will be easier for companies to deploy and integrate than earlier versions.

Next week, the Ottawa-based company plans to announce Cognos Series 7 Version 2, the first fully browser-based iteration of the product. Because it requires no client software, Cognos said it can reduce administrative costs and headaches. Additionally, the software can handle more data, deliver predictive capabilities and support additional operating systems, the company said.

Among the enhancements is an ability to do immediate future-looking trend analyses instead of simply running queries on historical data. For instance, a user could project how a certain sale might affect a company's inventory levels, allowing it to plan ahead by ordering more stock. Users can also set thresholds for business performance and receive alerts if those thresholds are violated.

Additionally, Cognos 7.2 will more easily snap into other online analytical processing (OLAP) products, such as SAP AG's business warehouse or IBM Corp.'s DB2 database, said Michael Branchaud, product director at Cognos. That means Cognos can provide a single interface for all major OLAP offerings.

The interface itself has also been enhanced to enable simple drag-and-drop functions and launch Web queries, among other capabilities. And Cognos is adding support for the IBM AIX 5L and HP-UX 11i flavors of Unix.

The new release is designed to address usability issues that the prior iteration did not, and its Web interface has the same capabilities as the original Windows PC client versions, said Philip Russom, an analyst at Giga Information Group Inc. It also will let enterprise users access the software without downloading any Java applications, which can sometimes cause problems because Java virtual machine functions can vary across different browsers and affect performance.

Cognos Series 7 Version 2 will be available next month.

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