IBM-Cognos 8 and SAP
One of the advantages that IBM-Cognos 8 brings to the table in any implementation is the ability to handle varying data sources. One particularly complex data source that is often encountered is SAP BW. IBM-Cognos has invested heavily in this integration, giving  SAP customers the potential to significantly enhance the value they get from information stored in their BW instances.
SAP customers have a unique situation in that SAP BW is a strongly viable solution as a Data Warehouse for their SAP sourced data.  Companies who run soley SAP transactional/ERP systems should consider heavily the value of SAP BW. The value of the standard content/extractors SAP provides, very likely outweighs the limitations/complexities which plauge implementations that are not 100% SAP. On the other hand companies that are heterogeneous (The category I believe 95% of companies are actually in), need to weigh a variety of factors when deciding on a Data Warehousing strategy.  Ironside has experience in advising customers and weighing these factors towards an end of an appropriate data warehousing strategy.
The decision on which path to travel (BW vs Traditional SQL DW) should not be taken lightly as the implications are significant.  Simply put, a technology decision should be able to be made using quantitative methodology. Although, often times this method is skewed by the scorecard author’s bias. Other factors needing to be considered, non-SAP data sources, the relative cost and availability of technical resources, as well as fluidity of business strucutures (ie propensity for an organization to change, significant meta data volatility, …), are significant in their impact on technology decisions.
This being said, oftentimes a Business Intelligence decision is made independent of Data Warehouse strategy.  BI teams are expected to deliver often complex requirements sourced from databases originally built to service different requiremenst.  This is where the biggest challenges and yet the biggest opportunity exists for Business Intelligence teams.  Transformation on the fly of business data is one of the most promising yet problematic capabilities of BI solutions.
Prior to IBM, Cognos has long toughted it’s strategic relationship with SAP. Practically speaking, I believe that two organization with different and sometimes competing intentions do not always end up in the same place at the same time as a result of conflicting priorities.
I believe that as a resultof IBM’s involvement/influence in the Cognos/BW product direction, we have seen significant transparancey and progress toward a much better solution.
I’ll admit that we have experienced some challenges, in implementing Cognos reporting off of SAP.  Very often expectations and understanding are the beginning seeds of frustration, and the run time transformation mentioned above leads to performance concerns.
IBM has released a whitepaper titled: “IBM Cookbook for IBM Cognos 8.4 for use with SAP Netweaver BusinesS Warehouse”. This is a very detailed resource for those who use, or plan to use Cognos 8 with SAP BW.  Obivously nothing is a subsitute for experience, Ironside has consultants who can help guide you down the path to succesful implementation.  But having a map like this will be helpful in getting resources up to speed as well as evaluating current configuration
The Cognos/BOBJ discussion is confusing and concerning at the same time for SAP customers who often use Cognos as their Enterprise Business Intelligence platform. In my opinion the depth and transparancy this whitepaper provides should convince you that IBM is serious about it’s support of BW as a data source.
At Ironside we have one customer who has the following databases all in use as sources from a single instance of Cognos 8:
IBM DB2, Oracle,MS Sql,Sybase,SAP BW,Access, XML Feed
Very often there are more than one of the above as a single source.
Cognos has long toughted it’s strategic relationship with SAP. Practically speaking, I believe that two organization with different and sometimes competing intentions do not always end up in the same place. Now that IBM has become involved and leveraged their strategic relationship with SAP, which from the outside looks to be much deeper.
I believe that post IBM aquisition this investment/relationship had begun to have an affect on direction and mutual understanding of
I’ll admit that we have experienced some challenges, in implementing Cognos reporting off of SAP.  very often expectations and understanding are the beginning seeds of frustration
The Cognos/BOBJ discussion is confusing and concerning at the same time for SAP customers who often use Cognos as their Enterprise Business Intelligence platform.   IBM-Cognos has for quite a while been trumpeting the depth of their relationship with SAP.
We have long stressed to our customers the fact that consulting assistance in planning and executing on Project including SAPBW sourced data is critical to success. This

One of the advantages that IBM Cognos 8 brings to the table in any implementation is the ability to handle varying data sources. One particularly complex data source that is often encountered is SAP BW.  IBM Cognos has invested heavily in this integration, giving SAP customers the potential to significantly enhance the value they get from information stored in their BW instances.

Prior to IBM, Cognos had long touted it’s strategic relationship with SAP. Practically speaking,the alignment that existed could have been improved upon, as optimizing two very strong yet complex tools is challenging.  IBM’s recent involvement and influence in the Cognos/BW product direction, armed with their long standing relationship with SAP has been positive. As consultants and implementors, we have seen significant transparency and progress toward a much better, more integrated solution, allowing Cognos/BW customers to leverage more of the Cognos 8 BI capability.

IBM has released a white paper, IBM SAP BW Cookbook for IBM Cognos 8.4 . We feel strongly that having a guide like this will be helpful in getting your internal resources up to speed as well as evaluating existing applications. This is a very detailed resource for those who use, or plan to use Cognos 8 with SAP BW. However, nothing is a substitute for experience, Ironside has consultants who can help guide you down the path to successful implementation of these two complex technologies.

Historically, it may appear that technical integration was the biggest challenge in Cognos / BW projects. We believe that the issues have been typically caused by, incorrect expectations, inefficient data structures,  and inexperienced resources.  All of which can be corrected by applying some basic best practice to one of these implementations.

In my opinion, the depth and transparancy this whitepaper provides should help your confidence level that IBM is serious about supporting BW as a data source.

We have long stressed to our customers the fact that consulting assistance in planning and executing projects using SAP BW sourced data is critical to success. And that Cognos 8 on BW is very different than Cognos 8 on relational.  This paper gives a very polished and detailed explanation of some of this rationale, and is reccomended to anyone involved from a technical level, whether you are approaching it from a Cognos or an SAP BW background.