IBM Cognos Express: Addressing the Business Intelligence Needs of Mid-Size Companies

During 2009, IBM Cognos introduced Cognos Express, its one-stop BI and planning solution purpose-built to meet the needs of midsize companies”. While large organizations have been implementing Business Intelligence solutions for years, mid-size organizations were often left in a quandary wondering whether to spend time and money on a solution that did not necessarily fit their needs. With a more streamlined implementation, web and excel based interfaces, and attractive pricing, Cognos Express is a promising step in closing the gap between mid-sized companies and enterprise Performance Management Software.

The Solution

Designed to be business user friendly, Cognos Express is divided into three modules called Express Reporter, Express Advisor, and Express Xcelerator. These linked modules share a centralized web-based Admin console. All three modules can be purchased, installed and configured either separately or together. Express Reporter offers self-service reporting and ad-hoc query. The second module, Express Advisor, allows users to translate raw data into sophisticated analysis and rich presentations as well as slice and dice and drill down into their data. Finally, Express Xcelerator is used for Excel based planning and business analysis.

The Strategy

Like any Business Intelligence project, developing an implementation strategy is vital to the projects’ success. There are three main factors to consider: who will be accessing the information, what information will they be looking for (i.e. what types of reports will they create or what types of analysis will they do), and is the data behind the reports clean and organized? Once these questions are addressed, the implementation strategy can be developed and applied. Although Cognos Express initiatives are often smaller projects, the strategy is standard across all Business Intelligence projects and just as important to consider. The Ironside Group can help your organization by leveraging our experience in various industries to help you make smarter business decisions and gain a competitive edge. Although an initial investment is necessary, careful investments make sense and will pay off in the end.

User Adoption

After the initial data preparation and BI content development has taken place, user adoption will become the focus of organizations who have newly implemented. In order for a project to be successful, the users must adapt and embrace the solution. The best way to ensure the success of the users is through user training. Ironside offers both public and private classes in several subject areas that customers will find useful. Remember to consider this when developing your strategy.

Many see Cognos Express as a new commitment by IBM to focus on mid-sized companies.
The all-in-one capabilities of Cognos Express provide mid-sized businesses with the ability to integrate their reporting, analysis, and planning needs into one easy-to-use medium. Combining this more flexible solution with the implementation strategy and training we’ve discussed are just a few of the key elements in ensuring the success of a BI project. As a Software Value Net partner of IBM, Ironside account managers and consultants are prepared and certified specifically in IBM Cognos Express sales and implementations. We have a proven track record with large and small organizations alike.