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Dashboard: Cognos' Promising Search Debut

Search capabilities built into the latest version of Cognos 8 Business Intelligence earn the vendor a unique place in the burgeoning crossroads of analytics and data search -- as well as some tough competition.

Search capabilities built into the latest version of Cognos 8 Business Intelligence earn the BI vendor a unique place in the burgeoning crossroads of analytics and data search, but Cognos' rivals are likely to catch up --if they haven't taken steps to do so already.

The new capability, called Cognos Go! Search Service, uses keywords to find content from within broad swathes of the Cognos BI environment, including data cubes and entire report content. Cognos Go! preindexes data points and uses that structure to return search results by relevance. It taps Cognos 8's metadata environment to bring context to results.

The new tool will save users from building redundant reports when the information they want exists in analysis built by others in the same organization, says Cognos senior product marketing manager Paul Hulford. "When people want to find something and they can't, they usually create that report themselves or have someone else do it, even when that's not necessary," Hulford says.

BI vendors are racing to make their tools search-capable as companies push BI software out to more of their workforce, says Dan Vesset, IDC research director for analytics and data warehousing. In March, BI software maker Information Builders debuted WebFocus Intelligent Search, which blends the Google Search Appliance and Information Builders' iWay integration software to let users peruse both structured and unstructured data. SAS and SPSS link their software to IBM's OmniFind search engine for trawling information sources.

Vesset says he isn't aware of any other BI vendor offering search capabilities that operate on the preindexing principle espoused by Cognos. "However, I think the barriers to entry are low," Vesset says. "It's an important feature, but others can do the same." Cognos' rivals are likely to improve their search capabilities through OEM agreements or partnerships, Vesset says. --


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