Cognos Analytics or Watson Analytics

Cognos Analytics Versus Watson Analytics

Two Products for Business Analytics

IBM now has two business analytics offerings that our customers in Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatchewan and British Columbia have been using and evaluating. Cognos Analytics is the long standing product evolving from Cognos -> Cognos ReportNet -> Cognos Business Intelligence -> Cognos Analytics and now Watson Analytics – the new offering using cognitive analytics and natural language originating from Watson that competed on Jeopardy. With these two analytic products the question comes up – Which one do I need?

Cognos Analytics

Cognos Analytics has evolved significantly from its roots in Ottawa, Canada back in 1969. The main selling feature for years was their PowerPlay Cubes for quick top down analysis, and slicing and dicing data in so many ways. The offerings changed significantly over the years but became a more complete offering in 2008 when purchased by IBM and combined with the extensive research and development and other tools that IBM has had to offer. The core of Cognos Analytics is still that easy access to corporate information – but with so much more now. Cognos Analytics is moving more and more into business users self service access to information. With both Cognos Analytics and Watson Analytics IBM is reducing the technical skillset needed for more advanced analytics – empowering users as they progress in this direction. This has been discussed previously in our post on So You’re Not a Data Scientist… So What! Cognos Analytics is a truly complete business analytics offering for professional reports, dashboards, self service information access, emailed reports and more. This one tool provides the complete picture of where you are and where you need to go. This is the tool that allows users to make analytics part of their daily work routine with information at their fingertips and a reduced IT backlog. In addition, the sharable features of Cognos Analytics helps to build a community within the organization – with the all important single source of the truth.

Cognos Analytics

Watson Analytics

Watson Analytics is the new kid in town when it comes to Business Analytics. However, this does not mean it’s lacking in power. On the contrary, Watson Analytics is a very powerful tool that has many benefits to adding to your toolkit. The primary strength is in the simplicity – this is the epitome of empowering end users and reducing the necessary technical skillset. There is no need at all for an IT background or a degree in Statistics in order to find the gold in endless columns of data and even unstructured data such as social media analytics. Using natural language it becomes very easy to ask questions and immediately see reports that address those questions with options to drill in or filter to more specific data or alternative views to answer similar questions. Watson Analytics allows for immediate visual understanding of information with key exception reporting. No longer are you searching through data for a vital piece of information – this information stands out immediately.

Not only does a user not need to understand a SQL statement like

“Select name, location, age from table1 join table2 on table1.primarykey = table2.key where table2.lostTimeIncident > 2”

But that user doesn’t even have to drag and drop and create a report or design a report specification. A user can simply type in:

“Tell me about the lost time incidents”

Watson Analytics guides data exploration and by doing so a user can immediately see all of the lost time incidents and drill in to find any issues such as locations that are at higher risk, departments, etc.

Watson Analytics – More Capabilities

Watson Analytics can take things one step further with automated predictive analytics providing answers and new insights. Uncover patterns, correlations and key drivers in your data. Reveal unbiased insights – all without that highly technical data scientist skill set. Business users that truly understand their data will be empowered with new data discoveries. All of this with the ability to tell a powerful story through charts, dashboards and automated visual representations.

Watson Analytics also makes data preparation very easy – it can be as easy as uploading a spreadsheet of data or connecting to a cloud data source – with an automatically produced quality report. Refinement can be completed on top of this – creating new groups, calculations or hierarchies. All in an easy to accomplish fashion – easier than Excel. Then immediate guided exploration is possible.

One additional benefit of Watson Analytics is in Social Media Analytics. This provides a truly powerful and insightful view of your company or industry with insights about what people are saying including a sentiment analysis feature that quickly summarizes what people are saying to identify customer trends and consumer sentiment.

 

Curious about Watson Analytics? We can help you get set up with their free trial! To get your Watson Analytics Free Trial email us at info@bowriversolutions.com

 

showing you what you didn't know to ask

Watson Analytics Versus Cognos Analytics?

It’s great that IBM has these two products and they each have some very distinctive advantages. If you’re looking for business intelligence without a huge technical skillset you have options! So how do you decide which one you should use and why?

First of all with Cognos and Watson Analytics it isn’t necessarily an either/or decision. These two products serve two distinct needs and can effectively build on one another. It doesn’t have to be a choice of one or the other.

However, because there are distinct usages of each it helps to point out that Cognos Analytics excels at the operational reporting and providing easy access to accurate information, and Watson Analytics excels in the Data Discovery/Predictive Analytics/and Pattern Analysis area.

Cognos Analytics tends to be more focused on the professional report side with easy viewing and sharing of information. Watson Analytics leans towards data discovery – showing you what you didn’t know to ask.

When comparing Cognos Analytics and Watson Analytics what it really comes down to is if you’re looking for a traditional (but highly advanced!) business intelligence implementation with professional reports and a shared environment then Cognos Analytics is going to provide a next generation solution for your business. If you’re looking for new data discovery with a new way of analyzing your business including predictive analytics and social media analytics – then Watson Analytics is the answer.

 

We can help you discover what is best for your specific needs with a custom needs assessment. Call us for a needs assessment or for your free trial of Watson Analytics  (587)-885-1090 or email us at info@bowriversolutions.com. It really can be that easy to make better decisions, quickly, and more accurately… today.

 

 

Does Agile Work for Data Warehousing?

Agile Data Warehouse / Agile Business Intelligence

Watson Analytics

At Bow River Solutions we have used agile methodologies for many of our business analytics customers in Calgary, Edmonton and Saskatoon and across Western Canada. We have successfully delivered data warehouses and business intelligence systems using agile project management and have been witness to a variety of implementations. The big key for successfully delivering projects using agile is in the full team involvement, specifically having active stakeholders.

Rough Start

When Agile methodologies first started being applied to data warehousing and business intelligence it was a bit of a piecemeal approach of trying to make a system designed for programming fit for IT projects that typically spanned the better part of a year or multiple years. It has been worth the effort to make it work but it definitely was not a perfect fit initially.

Biggest Roadblock

The biggest holdup in trying to make Agile fit with data warehousing was in being able to show something of value in a short period of time like a typical 2 week iteration. This required a different vision of what was of value – where sometimes a new table was of value and had to be displayed during an iteration. But also this required a different approach to the whole project where reporting was not tacked on the end but added in right from the start so stakeholders could see the end result right from the beginning – even if that iteration simply delivered one dimension into the data warehouse and right through to the reporting interface for stakeholders to see, touch and feel.

Biggest Failure

Delivering value in a short iteration was probably the biggest holdup to agile methodologies but the biggest failure was in lack of stakeholder involvement. We have had projects that have tried to go with an agile approach and did succeed in the short iterations. These projects succeeded in tracking their overall progress and could quantitatively show the success of the approach. Problem was they did this all without a highly involved stakeholder. These projects can still succeed but the overall team moral tends to be low. There’s that feeling of “it doesn’t really matter”. When an involved stakeholder is present at scrum meetings and is actively waiting for the incremental deliverable at the end of the iteration there is an excitement that really can’t be built in any other way. This is when the real success of agile data warehousing and business intelligence can be seen and felt and everyone has a vested interest in the project success.

Agile Success

Agile methodologies have brought significant value to big data warehouse and business intelligence projects – changing the delivery significantly, and for the better. The key is to have those active stakeholders available from the start and throughout the project to achieve real success.

Ask us about what we like best about agile projects and how we can help you achieve data warehousing and business intelligence success. Give us a call  (587)-885-1090 or send us an email info@bowriversolutions.com and we can set up a meeting to review to discuss. We can meet locally in our Calgary office at 264 Midpark Way SE, in your office or via a conference call.

Data Scientist Data Analyst

So You’re Not a Data Scientist… So What!

You’re not a Data Scientist – You Don’t Need to Be!IBM Cognos Report

So you’re not a data scientist but you need more information to do your job. We can help. We have helped many customers just like you in Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, Saskatoon and Regina. Customers that have needed access to information and fast, needed to write a report without going to IT, or needed to make critical business decisions with up to date and accurate information. Even customers that had an idea to improve company performance but needed to show the numbers to prove it. This is what we live and breath…. bringing data together to show real answers, timely, and accurately.

IBM Cognos Analytics

We use IBM Cognos BI to set up systems for user self service. You no longer need to be a data scientist or an IT guru to get the answers you need. With IBM Cognos you can create your own report and have the answers at your fingertips.

DashboardYou can also start with a dashboard to see your department and then drill into more detail. This helps you answer the questions you didn’t know to ask. Why is this area outperforming the other areas? Why is this manager underperforming? Then you can get to how you can help all areas increase their performance.

If you know the data is available and you want access at your fingertips we can help. The original Business Intelligence offerings were great options that allowed for clicking and drilling down to discover more detailed information. These quickly hit limits with data volumes, performance, and availability. Years of waiting to provide easier access to business users and true self-service capabilities has paid off. There are options now that we can set up systems and have business users accessing self service reporting options within weeks of starting the project. This enables users to get answers without needing an IT background and without being a data scientist. You can now do so much more than VLookups in Excel. You can drag and drop and create your own report within minutes and re-run it in seconds or schedule it to be delivered to your inbox on a schedule that works for you. These options are so easy now we hardly think to celebrate them. But, if you’re still having to call over to the local expert to run a report for you, or you’re re-creating the same report each month, or worse you can’t get the answers you need… this can change and it doesn’t take a University degree to change it.

IBM Watson Analytics

Even better than this self service report writing capability is the cognitive analysis available now through IBM Watson Analytics. This takes natural language questions and automatically responds with data displayed suited to the question asked. This is not just a step ahead of easy self-service acces – this is a leap and bound ahead. Simply entering “tell me what my department looks like” results in several graphical displays with different ways of looking at departments. If you like what you see you can see more of the same or click to filter the display in more detail. All of this without extensive setup times or expensive software costs. This really is Advanced Analytics made Easy.

Watson Analytics

 

Watson Analytics

 

Visit: IBM Watson Analytics – Take a look and then call us today.

Find out how to use IBM Watson Analytics and see how easy it is to do your job and use Advanced Analytics without being a data scientist. Call us for a demo  (587)-885-1090 or email us at info@bowriversolutions.com. It really can be that easy to make better decisions, quickly, and more accurately… today.

 

 

Saving Time

Saving You Time

Saving Time

 

Save Time!

For over ten years we have been helping our customers in Calgary, Saskatoon, Victoria and Edmonton save time in their daily work lives. No this isn’t a get organized quick scheme; although I think we would all love if there was a magic formula for saving time and getting more things done each day, this isn’t that magic fix! Instead this is the reality of finding ways to get the information you need to do your job – faster, easier, and more accurately.

Success

We often start working with our customers and hear statements like “this report used to take me a week to compile, now it’s available at the click of a button” or “my boss just came into my office and asked for the numbers on x location – I was able to pull this up in less than twenty minutes, he didn’t even leave my office before he had an answer, that used to take days to answer”. Or another favorite is when we are first introduced to a customer and they complain of a report that takes hours to run… when even 15 minutes to run the same report would be painful. When we show them how they can get the same information in seconds they are thrilled.

Efficiency

Business Analytics. Saving you time!

Self Service Data – Information at Your Fingertips

We have used IBM Cognos Business Intelligence (BI) to pull together information in a format that makes self-service reporting and drillable dashboards a reality. IBM Cognos Workspace Advanced has been a great tool to allow users to access their data in a self-service manner; building and running their own reports. Often within weeks we can have systems in place (and growing) so business users can write their own reports and find the information that they need. We have spent years building data warehouses, reports, and dashboards for our Business Analytics customers. We are as thrilled as our customers when we hear how the systems we have set up are saving them time.

We use IBM Cognos Framework Manager to build a framework of the company data that is easy to use for business users and pulls everything into one place for greater productivity. Once the system is built then we train users and help them to make the most of the system. We will often write reports as well using IBM Cognos Report Studio to allow for accurate, pixel perfect reports that can be run quickly by end users. The combination of pre-built reports with self-service access saves our customers time and allows them easy access to information they need. No longer are they trying to re-format their own report each month in Excel, or requesting a data set to be updated so they can manipulate it into another report. Self service access to save them time.

Are you wasting time waiting for information? Give us a call at  (587)-885-1090 or email us at info@bowriversolutions.com Let’s talk. We really can find ways to save you time and make your work day more productive!

Vlookup for Excel

Excel Not Cutting it Anymore?

Excel Not Cutting it Anymore?

Top-performing companies in Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver are learning the benefits of business analytics and predictive analytics in managing their data. Let’s face it. Excel can be a pretty powerful tool but re-creating the same report each month is simply a waste of time. Pivot tables and vlookups can get us a long ways into understanding our data, but wouldn’t you like to spend that extra day each month finding better ways to make your business run more cost-effectively?

Vlookup for Excel

We often start working with our customers and hear statements like “this report used to take me a week to compile, now it’s available at the click of a button” or “my boss just came into my office and asked for the numbers on x location – I was able to pull this up in less than twenty minutes, he didn’t even leave my office before he had an answer, that used to take days to answer”. If you’re still working with Excel to create the reports that you want or answer the questions you’re being asked, now’s the time to see what else is out there. In business, time is definitely money, we can help you save time and money.

ibm-dashboard

We help our customer implement IBM Cognos Business Intelligence and get these typical results in time-savings, often within weeks. These are customers that spent days each month re-creating the same month-end report and then were able to run a Cognos report at the click of a button. They could also open up Cognos Workspace Advanced and create their own report that could be saved and re-run any time they like.

Whether you’re creating a month-end report, a dashboard or a powerpoint presentation – if you’re spending hours pulling together the data and then doing it again on a regular basis there is a better way. You can have that report at the click of a button next month.Dashboard

Are you still spending days creating your Excel reports? Give us a call at  (587)-885-1090 or email at info@bowriversolutions.com Let’s talk. It costs you nothing to look into the possibilities while the time and expense of maintaining the status quo can easily be eliminated.

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Interested in learning more about SPSS and how it can help you? Give us a call at  (587)-885-1090 or email at info@bowriversolutions.com