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Cognos Unveils Web-Savvy Reporting Software

ReportNet product combines number crunching with online distribution.

John Foley

September 9, 2003

2 Min Read

Calling it a "historic moment" for his company, Cognos Inc. CEO Ron Zambonini on Tuesday introduced a business-intelligence reporting platform that was developed from scratch to support the creation and distribution of informational reports over the Web.

The company's ReportNet product combines the ability to query a database, collect the results, and publish reports to tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of users, according to the company. The server-based system, which incorporates Web-service specifications, is accessed via a Web browser and doesn't require special client software for the number crunchers using it or users on the receiving end.

Zambonini says ReportNet is designed for companies that want to push electronic reports--which might include embedded multimedia objects and hotlinks to online resources--over the Web, intranets, or extranets. The software complements Cognos' existing line of query and reporting products, which include Impromptu and PowerPlay. Those other products "will be used for [another] 10 years," estimates Zambonini, who says it's not necessary or even desirable for customers to move existing applications to ReportNet unless they need the new system's capabilities.

Early customers include Alfred Publishing, Bear Stearns, BMW, and Syngenta. Bear Stearns selected ReportNet after a product evaluation that began last year, says Ashe Vasthare, managing director and principal of the financial firm's fixed-income business unit. Requirements in the product assessment were support for relational databases, online-analytical-processing capabilities, a "zero-footprint" client, and a single tool for multiple business lines. "We very much want to provide a single user experience," Vasthare says.

Bear Stearns plans to use ReportNet for what Vasthare describes as a "high-visibility, high-impact" project that involves integrating the Cognos platform with a portal for Bear Stearns' clients. So far, he says, the company has been "extremely pleased" with ReportNet. Bear Stearns expects more than 10,000 employees and more 12,000 extranet users will eventually use ReportNet.

The Cognos product is representative of the trend toward "functional convergence" in which business-intelligence software suites are being combined with reporting tools, Gartner analyst Howard Dresner says. That kind of feature packaging, Dresner says, is quickly becoming a requirement in the market for business-intelligence tools.

ReportNet runs on Windows and Unix servers and integrates with IBM's WebSphere, WebSphere Portal, and DB2 database, among other third-party products. IBM and Cognos plan to establish a joint-development lab for future integration work. Says Karen Parrish, IBM's VP of worldwide business-intelligence solutions, "We want to get more of an engineering-level relationship with core partners."

About the Author(s)

John Foley

Editor, InformationWeek

John Foley is director, strategic communications, for Oracle Corp. and a former editor of InformationWeek Government.

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