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IBM Updates Cognos Business Intelligence Suite

By Larry Barrett

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IBM has rolled out improvements to its IBM Cognos financial analysis applications that it said will help customers keep pace with the lightning-quick macroeconomic events that impact their annual budget and sales projections.

The upgrades, released Tuesday for its IBM Cognos TM1 in-memory analysis tool, add support for unlimited, dynamic hierarchies allows for greater flexibility and opportunities to react to sudden changes in their respective markets, according to IBM.

IBM (NYSE: IBM) is debuting a new version of its Cognos 8 Controller to extend the core financial consolidation capabilities of the application with "enhanced allocations and stronger formula calculations" used for preparing financial reports and analyses." It promises real-time synchronization with IBM Cognos TM1 to enhance the reporting and analytics data so C-level executives can get a snapshot of the true and current business climate for their products.

The goal is to give CFOs a dashboard with certified and auditable financial results for external reporting and performance management.

IBM also announced the release of new IBM Cognos Performance Blueprints designed to help customers quickly gain stronger insights into key performance metrics. These pre-built models include product profitability and financial analytics, demand planning for consumer packed goods customers, and an executive underwriting dashboard for insurance clients.

The improvements come almost two and half years after IBM completed its $5 billion acquisition of Cognos, a purchase that helped Big Blue keep pace with rivals Oracle (NASDAQ: ORCL) and SAP (NYSE: SAP) in the fast-growing business analytics and business intelligence sector -- particularly with customers who prefer accessing these apps through the cloud.

These pre-built models include product profitability and financial analytics, demand planning for consumer packed goods customers, and an executive underwriting dashboard for insurance clients.

"As a consolidation tool, IBM Cognos 8 Controller helps us streamline the monthly reporting process and supplement the quarterly close report that we have in place for SEC reporting," Connie Rosengarten, accounting manager at Liberty Media, said in a statement.

IBM officials said Cognos 8 Controller allows financial results to be published throughout the TMI analysis engine, giving business units the ability to track sales, ordering and pricing trends in detail.

Larry Barrett is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.