Last week at Analytics University, IBM formally announced the release of the next major version of Cognos Analytics, v11.1.

IBM has hinted at the inclusion of “smarts” for “augmented analytics” and improvements in the usability of this new version over the past year. Our expectation was that these improvements would continue to “modernize” Cognos and help address some of the competitive pressures that organizations with legacy investments have been encountering in recent years. Read more

Well in advance of the IBM acquisition of Cognos, the Cognos name was synonymous with powerful, trusted enterprise business intelligence and managed reporting. Between its ability to scale to meet the needs of the largest enterprises, its robust, governed metadata layer that made it possible to report against a vast array of different data sources, powerful reporting capabilities churning out highly complex managed BI reporting solutions, and ad-hoc reporting and analysis against those governed data sources, IBM Cognos was the answer for almost all enterprise reporting needs. Until it wasn’t. Read more

The process of creating a new fiscal year budget or long range plan, especially for Higher Education, tends to be overly complex, fraught with strategy misalignment and riddled with errors. I know this all too well as a former Budget Manager at Montclair State University, New Jersey’s second largest institution. Later, I became an implementer of a CPM solution and realized these challenges were pervasive with other institutions – it’s a systemic problem. Read more

I hope no fists are flying at your office over budgeting and forecasting, however conflict is likely to occur. In this case, opinions and facts from different stakeholders can help. At the same time, impactful decisions at organizations that can affect the direction over days, months and years are derived from the better outcomes. The unnecessary part of conflict can be minimized with an integrated process letting the data drive these outcomes. Read more

The last several years have represented an interesting journey for organizations and teams leveraging Cognos for analytics. During that time, visual data discovery tools have made a significant impact. However, as of late, we have seen the pendulum swing back to concepts introduced by enterprise BI tools long ago.¹ What’s old is new again.

When these new tools arrived, they challenged both the status quo and what many of us saw as an ideal solution to the localized, ungoverned, manually-intensive, and often error-prone data manipulation (i.e. “shadow analytics”) processes of the past. If we think back to the dawn of the modern business intelligence age in the mid 1990’s, we realize that these challenges are what tools like Cognos were developed to solve. Read more

People choose to attend a conference like Adaptive Live for various reasons. This year, some spent four days training, networking and gaining new insights to take on the journey to better planning. My colleagues and I enjoyed the conversations and learned a lot about Adaptive Insights and more importantly, what customers do or need. Every interaction has value at a conference and what you do with that experience is important.

Here are three things I recommend that you do immediately to make the most of your experience:

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Many Finance professionals are faced with the daily task of solving problems. Whether they come from IT Services, the Business Intelligence team, or even the next cube over, we can never seem to fix enough.

The first, and most important step in solving problems is to identify them, otherwise known as Root Cause Analysis. The “5 Whys” methodology is far and away one of the most efficient methods for honing in on and conceptualizing the root cause of any dilemma you might come across. Read more

One size does not fit all. Try as they might, there is not a single BI platform that can offer every capability that users require. With organizational complexity increasing, and the growing demand for self-service analytics, it has become commonplace, even recommended, for organizations to maintain multiple BI platforms to meet the needs of people in diverse roles with differing needs across the organization. Read more

A “modern” approach to Financial Planning and Analysis has become a requirement for a successful corporate finance function. Gone are the days where finance teams were viewed solely as a report publisher that conducted reactive variance analyses. Instead, modern finance teams are able to create an agile, efficient, technology-enabled, proactive and highly valued decision support function. In order to achieve this success, the value proposition of core FP&A responsibilities, such as budgeting, planning, analysis, forecasting, and financial reporting, needs to be better understood. Read more

Last week, Ironside’s partner Pitney Bowes, issued a press release announcing the global launch of its new Software & Data Marketplace.  We believe that accessibility to Pitney Bowes data will be valuable to our clients as they will be able to source and process data from multiple providers in the same applications, leading to easier analysis and collaboration of data points. Read more