Cognos is angling its Cognos 8 business intelligence software at financial spreadsheet users with new software that integrates tightly with Excel.
Called BI Connection for Microsoft Excel, the software targets financial analysts and line of business users that primarily live and work in Excel and require a flexible and consistent way of hooking up their spreadsheets to BI data.
The software effectively drops Cognos 8 cross-tabular reports and analyses into the Excel desktop interface, allowing users to apply native spreadsheet calcs, macros and formatting to the data. The connection is live and dimensionally aware – i.e. data is refreshed during interactions and Cognos 8 BI metadata and business logic is carried over into the Excel worksheets.
BI Connection for Microsoft Excel extends the Excel integration capabilities already included in Cognos’ Go! line of products which it released a year ago to allow users to access Cognos BI information from familiar search bar, Microsoft Office, and mobile device interfaces.
Cognos said that data from its financial consolidation and planning applications, which are already linked to Microsoft Office, can also be pulled into Excel and manipulated in a similar manner using the new Connector software.
BI Connector for Microsoft Excel provides a more self-serve and free-form way of analyzing and reporting on BI data in Excel explained Paul Hulford, senior director of product marketing at Ottawa-based Cognos.
We’re building on our existing BI consumption capabilities to allow users to interact with BI data in an ad hoc way to explore, model and analyze data more freely. In finance you live and breadth changes. You typically want to create different ratios and scenarios, that don’t exist in traditional financial reports, Hulford said.
We’re targeting users that have a strong affinity for working in Excel. These users require a more dynamic, ad hoc interface for creating new charts, ratios and comparisons on the fly while at the same time maintaining a controlled and trusted connection back to centralized, enterprise-wide BI data sources.
Hulford said that BI Connection for Microsoft Excel will be available in the second half of this year. A beta release is planned for the summer. The company is still working on pricing and licensing schemes for the software.