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Rob McNelly

Rob McNelly

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March 2011

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Inform Your Business

Cognos 10 BI on System z enhances analytics opportunities

By Rebecca Wormleighton

Editor’s Note: This article is based on an IBM whitepaper, “Better Business Outcomes With Business Analytics,” which is available online.

Everyone in an organization is responsible for contributing to better business outcomes: higher revenue, lower costs, reduced risk and accurate predictions. Currently, organizations must achieve these outcomes in an unforgiving economic environment—one that is more volatile, less certain and more complex than in years past. Events, threats and opportunities emerge more quickly and with less predictability; additionally, they’re converging and influencing one another to create entirely unique situations.

The effects of this new reality include more cost-conscious and informed consumers who want more value for their money, creating a need for more rapid decision cycles, better response to changing market dynamics and a greater profitability growth—all while limiting capital and operating expenditures.

Analytics is the Answer

In this new environment, it’s still possible to thrive. The key is making more informed, fact-based decisions about strategy, resources and tactics, and deciding where to focus time and energy. The way to better decisions is through better business insights. The way to better business insights is business analytics.

Business analytics helps enterprises obtain actionable insights into numerous aspects of business performance, such as current results, customer trends, competitive threats or market opportunities. Business analytics also provide standardization, service delivery and automation that can increase the efficiency and effectiveness of core business processes.

With the appropriate insight, employees at every level of an organization can make better decisions and take more effective actions. Organizations that deploy business analytics also effect longer lasting improvements in their decision-making culture: these organizations become analytics-driven. In achieving this state, they can draw, share and act on business insights to overcome long-standing, sometimes entrenched barriers to better business outcomes.

IBM Leads the Industry

With acquisitions and organic growth, IBM has created a powerful, innovative and effective business-analytics portfolio. Over the past five years, IBM has:

  • Invested more than $14 billion (including the acquisitions of Cognos and SPSS) in software to build the industry’s most robust business-analytics portfolio.
  • Created the Business Analytics and Optimization service line and staffed it with more than 7,000 dedicated consultants who help companies realize their business-optimization objectives faster, with less risk and at a lower cost.
  • Opened eight analytics Centers of Excellence around the world to help clients uncover insights hidden in their data.
  • In October, IBM announced IBM Cognos 10: the first in a series of innovations that will change how organizations make decisions, allocate resources, predict and plan the future.

Intelligence Unleashed

IBM Cognos 10 revolutionizes how organizations use business intelligence (BI) by freeing people to think, connecting people and infusing insights into everything people do.

    Think Freely  Cognos 10 delivers a revolutionary user experience that supports the way users think, as opposed to reacting to the software processes, though a limitless BI workspace with greater power, intuitive navigation and a cleaner look.

    Connect With Others  Cognos 10 includes built-in collaboration and social-networking functions to fuel the exchange of ideas and knowledge that naturally occurs in the decision-making process, but can be trapped in meeting notes, manual processes, e-mails and people’s notebooks. Users can form communities, capture annotations and opinions, and share insights with others, facilitating decision excellence and building a corporate memory. Cognos 10 harnesses the collective intelligence of organizations to connect people and insights and gain alignment.

    Simply Act  Cognos 10 makes it possible to receive mobile BI, real-time BI and BI mashups. BI becomes a natural and essential part of everything they do. It provides interactive analytics to front-line workers and people on the road—extending the power of BI to more people and more communities than ever before.

    Proven Technology  Cognos 10 upgrades seamlessly and cost effectively scales for the broadest of deployments. It provides business users and IT the freedom to see more, do more and make the smarter decisions that drive better business results.

Achieving Analytic Success

To meet demand for BI and business analytics, many IT organizations have implemented analytics capabilities in individual departments; in the past, there was little focus on developing common tools for the entire organization. Today, the painful effects of this decentralized approach can be felt:

  • Isolated projects are creating higher hidden costs as multiple support, administration and maintenance resources are dedicated to each project.
  • IT organizations have limited visibility of which individuals and groups are accessing what data.
  • These distinct projects can produce inconsistent or even contradictory results because they’re missing information or it was inadvertently duplicated.

Because business today is so dynamic, organizations can benefit from a business-analytics infrastructure that minimizes costs and complexity while also ensuring high performance and end user satisfaction. An enterprise-level solution that provides the right information, at the right time and in the right context to all users helps increase trust in business-analytics tools and information to ensure project success.

The combination of IBM Cognos 10 and SPSS Predictive Analytics with IBM System z eliminates the barriers to a successful business-analytics initiative with a single solution, on a single platform, that is capable of scaling to meet a wide range of business-user needs. This solution facilitates the sharing of complete and accurate business information faster and better with fewer resources and expense. Because it’s flexible, it can help companies meet the business challenges of today and evolving business needs for actionable insights that help to optimize business performance.

Rebecca Wormleighton is an IBM product marketing manager for Cognos software, focusing on synergy’s between Cognos BI software and IBM products.

Complete, Consistent, Timely, Relevant

IBM Business Analytics on System z scales easily to meet the needs of every decision-maker, with capabilities such as real-time monitoring, reporting, analysis, dashboards, and a robust set of predictive analytics on a single platform. It is an end-to-end business-analytics infrastructure for providing a more complete view of the business and greater access to data as it’s created.

Increased Satisfaction  With IBM Business Analytics solutions on System z, system performance and high availability are guaranteed (with an enterprise service level agreement, or SLA) to ensure it’s up and running when it’s needed. To ensure user expectations are met, it can provide faster query and response times.

Reduced Cost and Complexity  Business Analytics on System z centralizes resources, reducing the complexity of providing business analytics so business units can shift their focus from system administration tasks to decision-making. This decreases the amount of hardware, software and facilities (power, floor space and so on) required to manage and maintain the infrastructure. In addition, enterprises can see a decrease in the costs associated with system administration and facilities by upwards of 50 percent over five years.

Rapid Deployment and Expansion  Business Analytics on System z reduces the time, resources and cost of implementing and expanding business analytics to new divisions, departments and users As a result, it’s easier for IT departments to provide new divisions, departments and users with business analytics quickly.

Ensured Security  The secure and reliable infrastructure System z infrastructure provides ensures corporate security policies are followed and disaster recovery plans are in place. It’s also ideal for service delivery, which can help IT maintain better control over businss processes.

Learn why System z is ideal for delivering business analytics.