IBM this week began shipping a new module in its Cognos Express line of business intelligence (BI) and analytics software that's specifically designed to meet the needs of mid-sized companies.
Named Cognos Express Planner, the package can be used standalone or in combination with other Cognos Express modules, according to a statement from IBM (NYSE: IBM).
"IBM Cognos Express Planner delivers a structured planning process that is easy to deploy and use. It transforms a company's planning processes, enabling business users to react quickly to changing business conditions and to grow their business effectively," the statement said.
IBM bought business intelligence giant Cognos for $5 billion in cash in early 2008.
In 2009, IBM debuted Cognos Express, streamlined versions of the company's enterprise-class BI tools targeting businesses with between 100 and 1,000 users.
"Cognos Express delivers all the essential reporting, analysis, dashboard, scorecard, planning, budgeting and forecasting capabilities that midsize companies need in a single, integrated solution," IBM said.
Since that time, IBM has rolled out three Cognos Express modules.
Express Reporter provides "self-service reporting and ad hoc query" capabilities, while Express Advisor lets users perform "analysis and visualization." Meanwhile, Express Xcelerator provides "business analysis and optimization."
Now, there's Cognos Express Planner.
In keeping with IBM's vision of offering serious BI tools for mid-sized companies, Express Planner features a simplified web-based user interface. It also has role-based security in order to block access to unauthorized individuals.
Additionally, Planner includes "advanced" filtering options such as hierarchy leveling, attribute values, element names, and spelling patterns, the statement said.
"Express Planner streamlines information gathering, aggregation and analysis for continuous planning, budgeting and forecasting. A managed contribution model is used to collect input from systems and staff in any division or location [and] managers can quickly assemble and deploy planning solutions while monitoring the status of every participant in the planning process."