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Pitney Bowes MapInfo Integrates Software with Cognos 8 Platform

Location intelligence vendor adds another BI suite integration to take geospatial analysis mainstream.
Just as some advocates think it's time to take analytics mainstream, Pitney Bowes MapInfo hopes it can do the same for location intelligence. After years of selling desktop software to geospatial analysis gurus, the vendor has been attempting to push its server-based software out to a wider base of users. The latest step in that effort came yesterday as the vendor introduced a Location Intelligence Component (LIC) for the IBM Cognos 8 BI platform.

Pitney Bowes MapInfo and Cognos previously supported API-level integration between MapInfo and Cognos software, but the LIC is an out-of-the-box product that lets Cognos 8 users more easily exploit the geographic dimensions within their data. "For years we've been able to show maps in the middle of BI… but this brings location intelligence right into the BI workflow," says Don Campbell, CTO at Cognos. "It's an integrated link that passes parameters back and forth between tools rather than just launching separate tools on your desktop."

The LIC makes geospatial analysis much more accessible, says Jon Winslow, director of business development at Pitney Bowes MapInfo: "Customers were telling us 'these maps are fantastic, but what do I do for reports and charts and dashboards.' The next thing they would say is 'I've already invested in this business intelligence platform and I have lots of people using it. Is there anything I can do so we don't have to maintain two separate applications?'

The LIC for Cognos is not the first integration of MapInfo software with a BI platform; last year the company introduced LICs for the Business Objects and Microstrategy platforms. The integrations have helped extend geospatial analysis beyond conventional uses, such as retail and supply chain site location, and into new applications. Consumer goods manufacturers, for example, are studying product sales by territory and zip code while telcos and cable companies are developing targeted sales and marketing lead lists based on proximity to their infrastructure. In an even more current example, insurance companies can use MapInfo software to not only visualize policy-holder location information in the flood-ravaged Midwest, they can filter the view to properties within a certain distance or elevation around an affected river.

"With the LIC, you don't have to make a big investment to create a custom mapping application and more people within the organization can handle the basic geospatial analyses," says Winslow.

The LIC is available immediately with pricing based on the number of users or the server capacity as well as the extent of professional services. An entry-level deployment on a small server or with 20 named users starts at about $35,000.