By Mark Dexter
21st September 2011

IBM's Cognos BI is a sprawling suite of BI tools with dozens of components that run the gamut from reporting and dashboards to scorecards, what-if analysis, predictive analytics, statistical analysis, and online analytical processing (OLAP). The software doesn't run on the IBM i server (its server components require Unix, Linux, or Windows), but plenty of IBM i shops are among the 23,000 organizations that have adopted Cognos.

A new release of Cognos BI unveiled last week brings all kinds of enhancements. One of the most visible updates is a native client interface for the Apple iPad. IBM says its new iPad client will allow Cognos users to interact with "active" reports and reports written with the HTML Studio software, whether or not there is an Internet connection.

Cognos' query engine gained several enhancements, including dynamic query support for several popular data sources, including Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services, SAP Business Warehouse (BW), IBM's own Cognos TM1, and Cognos Real-time Monitoring. IBM also is touting a new dynamic query mode for accessing OLAP over relational models and relational data sources, including DB2 for LUW, DB2 z/OS, Netezza, Oracle's database, SQL Server, and Teradata.

Business Insight, the integrated workspace component of the Cognos suite that allows users to switch between report authoring and in-depth analysis of data, has also been enhanced. IBM says users now have the flexibility to display the content pane on either side of the screen, and also to swap rows and columns and resize charts. Business Insight Advanced edition also gains new ease-of-use features.

Several new reporting options are available, including a new report archive function that allows users to save reports in an external repository to reduce content in the content store and adhere to regulations. Users also gain the capability to run reports with owner capabilities, even if the users haven't been granted those capabilities themselves.

IBM has added a new PostScript printing engine to the Unix and Linux version of Cognos BI, which eliminates the need to have Adobe Reader installed. Adobe Reader is still required when Cognos is deployed on Windows. Last but not least, IBM has extended Indic language support to PDFs and charts, thereby enabling the Devanagari script to be rendered in PDF and chart text.

IBM also announced a new release of Cognos Analysis for Microsoft Excel, an Excel plug-in that allows users to interact with Cognos data in the popular spreadsheet program. With version 10.1.1, IBM has added a partial refresh feature that allows users to refresh only some of the formulas, and not the entire workbook. New filters and better support for SAP BW data round out the release.

Source: IT Jungle

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