Everyone Has a BI Search Engine!

Cognos Announces Cognos Go! For my SAP and SAP BW

Cognos is furthering its integration with SAP BW, its value proposition as a front-end to SAP BW strategy and has done for SAP BW what SAP Netweaver does not do; it has announced the immediate availability of Cognos Go! Search Service support for SAP. This provides one-click access to BI and SAP data through single search solution. SAP’s current search technology within Netweaver, TREX, is a limited and cumbersome search engine that does not search BW elements such as BEX reports, infocubes, etc.. It searches standard document files, word, ppt, Excel, pdf, .rft.  You can use it to search reports that have been publish to SAP Enterprise Portal (as long as the TREX server is configured to do so), as well as other documents and web pages.


Key Features
Cognos has a proprietary indexing scheme that can fully index BI content and search key data fields, not just titles or report descriptions.
SAP customers can access Cognos Go! through SAP Certified iViews in the SAP NetWeaver Portal, and third-party enterprise search solutions including Autonomy, FAST, Google, and IBM Consistent security – Cognos Go! leverages the Cognos 8 Business Intelligence security model, which means SAP users will only see reports, metrics, and analyses that they have been given permission to view.
Cognos Go! can access SAP data across multiple versions and instances of SAP R/3 and SAP NetWeaver, independent of a company’s SAP upgrade plans.
These search capabilities are not natively available in SAP applications.

Post Cognos 8 introduction, Cognos has turned its attention to three areas: Enterprise/ BI search, Increased focus on support for SAP, increased emphasis on Performance Management, with particular focus on industry solutions, and Cognos is also placing increased emphasis on its packaged analytic applications with a focus on easy integration with Enterprise Applications, including Oracle. These packaged analytics are primarily Finance focused and are not yet well development across the other domain areas.
In contrast, Post XI2 release, Business Objects has turned its attention to Enterprise Information Management, Mid Market Solutions, and industry specific solutions, pitting it squarely against Oracle and IBM.

Cognos Partners with FAST for Enterprise Search


Last month Cognos and FAST announced their intention to partner for Enterprise Search for BI with little press reaction. While this announcement again reiterates the two companies intention to combine their respective products, the announcement does not make any mention of Cognos Go!, Cognos’s proprietary search capability that can currently leverage Google OneBox and IBM OmniSearch.


The slew of announcements by Cognos in Search, CPM and vertical solutions (all areas except Cognos 8), seems to be a desperate attempt by Cognos to deflect the market away from the realities slow adoption of the Cognos 8 platform.


IBM’s BI Search Capability

 The WebSphere Content Discovery for Business Intelligence, now a competitor to Oracle partner, Google Onebox, combines business intelligence applications with search for structured and unstructured information within an enterprise.

 The software can also display within BI applications contracts, spreadsheets, project plans, scanned images, audio, video, email and other correspondence, to provide context for business decisions. Cognos has integrated the IBM product (in addition to the Google Onebox product) with Cognos 8 Business Intelligence via a proprietary indexing scheme. The new product delivers in search results information from BI systems, including reports, scorecards and dashboards.


By combining unstructured information with BI, the new product, for example, could extract data from call center and warranty notes and make it available for use with BI-generated quantity, sales and return rates for products, IBM said. Together the information could help uncover reasons why return rates are high.


Hyperion Claims to Have BI Search by Adding Business Word Search Features to System 9

OK, Hyperion seems to be claiming a really desperate “me too� with this release!!! Of course word search on reports is NOTHING NEW and in no way resembles the Google OneBox capability adopted by Oracle and for that matter other BI vendors. Google OneBox gives corporations secure access to information in any application within the enterprise from the Google search box.


Hyperion claims that reports will contain links to related topics, categories or reports. WOW, what a concept!! Oracle Enterprise BI (AKA SBA), offers extensive guided analytics capability, where not only are links to related or relevant reports suggested to the end user, but also filter context is also passed between reports that are linked together. Hyperion Interactive Reporting, part of Hyperion 9, doesn’t even offer linked reports, with context or otherwise. All related content must be included in a single file.

 SAS and Google OneSearch

Following in the footsteps of BI rivals like Information Builders and Cognos, SAS has also partnered with  Google Inc to allow joint customers to perform context-based searching across SAS-generated reports, analyses and dashboard information. SAS will give users contextually relevant search capabilities with Google to explore metadata, but also to look at the business views (SAS Information Maps) that have been defined by SAS clients.


A Discussion of Google’s Impact on BI

It seems as if the business intelligence pure-play vendors are taking fire on all fronts.

From Oracle, IBM, MSFT and SAP, all of which are placing a greater strategic emphasis on BI and Enterprise Search capabilities of their own, and now from Google, which for now is a complement to add more user friendliness to BI platforms and expand their potential user base.

 Google claims that Google Search Appliance is a distinct improvement over the portal interface, which many BI vendors have pushed as a means to drive broader user adoption.  This remains to be seen. Search and Portal seem complementary to me; I’m not sure the two are mutually exclusive.

 While Google claims the search engine will hide the complexity of the underlying data, e.g. if a user searches its repository for adapters and returns IBI’s iWay adapters, users themselves aren’t necessarily aware that they’re accessing WebFocus or other IBI data, Best of breed vendors don’t seem to worry about potential brand dilution. Cognos for instance claims that they will brand their BI content in the file name, e.g. Cognos Scorecard, or Cognos Report.


There’s another upshot of the search phenomenon, howeverâ€?it could mean the end of per-seat BI licensing agreements.