Airport tarmac workers use it to track lost luggage, while field sales representatives use it to get customer order histories. Police officers use it to view crime statistics, while oil rig inspectors use it to view maintenance reports. No wonders it's earned a large following.
Cognos is based in Ottawa, Canada, and has about 4,000 employees worldwide. They all work for IBM now, of course, as the company was acquired by IBM in January of this year.
People use Cognos 8 Go! Mobile so they can get "business intelligence on their belt," said Jane Farquhar, product marketing manager at Cognos. Users want to answer three questions, she said: How are we doing?, Are we on or off track?, and, What can we do about it?
With this version, Cognos 8 Go! Mobile widened its user base by expanding to new operating systems. Previously available only for Blackberry customers, this version now also runs on Windows Mobile and Symbian devices.
"We've put support for the product on more than one operating system, and that breaks us into the European market with Symbian and broadens our coverage globally," said Farquhar.
The real strength of Cognos 8 Go! Mobile is its format once/distribute anywhere functionality, which lets people create reports as formatted PDFs or other document types, then distribute them, knowing that team members will see the information exactly as it was prepared. Even though they're formatted, reports are well compressed and leave a small footprint on the device.
People who have been using Excel documents appreciate that reports look better and are easier to read with Cognos 8 Go! Mobile. Those who have been relying on Web-based reportswhich require connected usersappreciate the Cognos thin client, which allows for offline use, such as when on a plane.
Security is another big factor in why people choose Cognos. If an executive loses his or her smartphone in a cab, the company administrator can simply kill the application remotely. The software also offers encryption at both ends, for secure delivery.
The New Manager
One reason for Cognos 8 Go! Mobile's growing popularity may be the rise of a new breed of managers, thinks Dan Vesset, analyst with IDC, who sees this as a generational issue. Younger managers are more comfortable with mobile devices, and are accustomed to having current data on hand at any time.
"They're looking very much for the Web 2.0 experience that they have in their consumer lives," said Vesset. "Better interactivity, better integration. They don't want static reports, but to be able to dive in deeper."
The team behind Cognos 8 Go! Mobile is grateful for the Datamation award. "We're absolutely thrilled about the win. It was great to be noticed for our innovation," said Farquhar. "Decisions now can be made beyond the desktop and at the device level to better the performance of an organization."