Cognos Series 7 users safe for three years

Cognos is to move its business intelligence and performance management software onto a service-oriented architecture platform (SOA).

However, older software offerings such as Series 7 will be supported for a minimum of three more years.

Support and development for Series 7 will continue concurrently for the foreseeable future, while the company's latest family of business intelligence, reporting and scorecarding tools, known as ReportNet, is currently being integrated into Web services, Cognos vice president for product innovation and technology Don Campbell told Computerworld.

"Series 7 BI has current development and will continue to do so for [at least three to five] years to come. We are spending a lot of time integrating those tools [with Web services]," Campbell said.

Asked when he thought there would be significant change within enterprises from current IT platforms over to SOA, Campbell said serious adoption was still some time away.

"I don't see SOA being distributed amongst the [user] community for the next 18 months," he said.

ReportNet is Cognos' second dalliance with changing its underlying development platform after the vendor shelved a project investigating moving to object oriented programming some 10 years ago. Campbell said the development had been halted after it became clear the volume and intensity of communications between objects was unlikely to produce enough uptake to be sustainable.

Campbell made no apologies for the aborted exploration, saying such experiments were part and parcel of the developmental process of trial and error.

"We know there will be failures [with the new integration]. The challenge is how to fail quickly and how to learn from it," Campbell said.

Campbell said other issues confronting business intelligence and corporate performance management software users in the next year included swelling volumes of data being generated by RFID systems and cultural change.

Chris Grange, University of Wollongong director of personnel and financial services and a Cognos Metrics Manager user, said issues arising out of cultural change fostered by the implementation of performance management software should be carefully calculated.

Grange is using Metrics Manager to assess the economic performance of academics at the university, a move that has triggered a bitter dispute between management and staff resulting in a walk-out and strike action among some 30 university staff.

"We knew this path would be controversial. But there is a commercial reality; we have to compete for funds and we have to compete for students and we have to be able to measure what we deliver. We use Metrics Manager to do that and it has been very good [at providing performance indicators]. We knew some people would be unhappy about it," Grange said.