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Ahmed Lashin

Cognos, Business Intelligence and MORE …

The new features in IBM® Cognos® 8.4 BI provide benefits to business managers and analysts, business modelers, report authors, and system administrators. All studios include a new feature for suppressing rows and columns that contain zero values, missing values, or overflow values. A new lineage feature in Report Studio, Query Studio, Analysis Studio, and the report viewer, allows you to view life cycle information on each piece of data.

Business Managers and Analysts

In Query Studio, the addition of more user preferences and the enhancement of filtering and sorting options make it quicker for Business Analysts to set up and run reports. Also, because modelers can set default filters in a Framework Manager model, it is easier for users to set up and run reports.

Analysis Studio includes a new feature that makes it easier to apply suppression across multiple items. From within Analysis Studio, you can also display the date on which a cube was last updated.

Business Modelers

Business modelers using Transformer can now use fact data from SAP BW OLAP data sources. This means they can create Transformer models based on existing dimensional models. Transformer also supports Microsoft® Excel spreadsheets as data sources.

Report Authors

Report authors now have more drill-through capabilities, including the ability to pass filters from the source report to the target report. They can also conditionally style crosstab cells based on values in other cells.

More types of charts and more graphics are included with Report Studio for use in reports and dashboards.

Report Consumers

You can add additional information to a report by using comments. This information can include questions or explanations. Comments may include the original commentator’s ID and the time the comments were added.

System Administrators

Support for IBM Cognos 8 is extended to include more operating systems, data sources, Web servers, application servers, portals, and browsers. For more information see Appendix A: Supported Environments.

It is now easier for Administrators to organize packages and control which packages specific users can see in the portal.

One of the usual questions that have always been asked to me when anybody asked me about my career is “What is Business Intelligence”? I have tried a lot to find a simple or summarized answer for this question but the problem is that there is no simple answer.

Business intelligence

Business intelligence (BI) refers to skills, technologies, applications and practices used to help a business acquire a better understanding of its commercial context. Business intelligence may also refer to the collected information itself.
BI technologies provide historical, current, and predictive views of business operations. Common functions of business intelligence technologies are reporting, OLAP, analytics, data mining, business performance management, benchmarks, text mining, and predictive analytics.
Business intelligence often aims to support better business decision-making. Thus a BI system can be called a decision support system (DSS).


In a 1958 article, IBM researcher Hans Peter Luhn used the term business intelligence. He defined intelligence as: “the ability to apprehend the interrelationships of presented facts in such a way as to guide action towards a desired goal.”
In 1989 Howard Dresner (later a Gartner Group analyst) proposed BI as an umbrella term to describe “concepts and methods to improve business decision making by using fact-based support systems.” It was not until the late 1990s that this usage was widespread.

Business intelligence and data warehousing

Often BI applications use data gathered from a data warehouse or a data mart. However, not all data warehouses are used for business intelligence nor do all business intelligence applications require a data warehouse.

Competitive intelligence

The term business intelligence is often used as a synonym for competitive intelligence.

The future of business intelligence

A 2009 Gartner Group paper predicted these developments in business intelligence market .
Because of lack of information, processes, and tools, through 2012, more than 35 per cent of the top 5,000 global companies will regularly fail to make insightful decisions about significant changes in their business and markets.
By 2012, business units will control at least 40 per cent of the total budget for business intelligence.
By 2010, 20 per cent of organizations will have an industry-specific analytic application delivered via software as a service as a standard component of their business intelligence portfolio.
In 2009, collaborative decision making will emerge as a new product category that combines social software with business intelligence platform capabilities.
By 2012, one-third of analytic applications applied to business processes will be delivered through coarse-grained application mashups.