Overall Satisfaction with IBM Cognos
Here at Performance Food Group (PFG), IBM Cognos is being used very often to reduce the amount of time spent running reports and queries. It is being used by the whole organization, but mainly by those individuals who are in an analytical or business development role within their respective departments. We use the tool primarily at the corporate level in Richmond, VA. While it doesn't necessarily address "business problems", it certainly enables efficiency and a seamless integration between our Foodstar and Gemini hubs that our Operating companies use to conduct their business every single day.
- Real time Processing. Every parameter you include in the report begins processing it right away--there is virtually no wait time.
- Ability to download it in various formats, such as PDF, Excel Data format, Excel 2003/2007 Format. This helps if you need to import the data into another sysem such as SQL or Access to further enhance the value of the report.
- How well it integrates our operating company level systems, which can be much older depending on how much each company has invested into their technologyn development--Cognos has been able to successfully integrate our 35 Operating Companies systems into one hub in Cognos.
- Perhaps a more modern interface, with some more animation. There is a lot of white space on the page.
- If one tries to include a lot of parameters, often times just what is needed to successfully carry out the report, sometimes the system will "freeze" or crash. You then have to utilize a package program within your reporting system, which is an interface that helps reduce the amount of bandwidth needed to run a larger report.
- This may be objective, but if the internet or server is slow, if its on the user side or provider side, Cognos simply will not work or it will spend hours "processing" a report that really isn't being processed.
- Dramatically faster and tighter reporting. Reports that would take 2-3 days due to having to harvest data from each Operating company now takes a matter of hours to compile, manipulate, and deliver.
- Much more reliable, the data is verified through our internal queries. Early on, we would try to validate the accuracy of Cognos, and since it has been 100% successful, we have no issues trusting the validity of our data.
- Our customer service from a PFG standpoint mainly depends on our sales force. Since we are able to produce much stronger reports, our sales force team has been happier knowing our reporting is more accurate and quicker. This helps with our promotions and commissions because it allows the Sales Force to be paid up to 2 pay periods sooner.
Unlike Nielsen, in which you must choose your parameters, and then submit your report, Cognos has real time, on the fly processing. The data starts showing up the second you choose a parameter. Nielsen would need to process, and if there is an issue, you won't know about it until after it attempts to run the report, which could take hours. I used to run reports with Nielsen, only to find out 2 hours later it couldn't process it for unknown errors. Cognos would let you know immediately if the end result would not suffice. This saves time, eliminates guesswork. and gives better peace of mind.
Since using Cognos and seeing how easy it is to work with and to learn, I don't ever want to go back to something else. It is accurate, deep, and works right away when you need it to. There are several options that work with various internal tools to help enhance your report and make it more presentable to clients who are looking forward to having it. PFG, and other companies as well may have this, has a dedicated support staff on site that helps with any questions or issues, and the turnaround for fixing them is almost immediate. If you know what you are looking for and understand how Cognos helps bring a cluster of information together, you will see the benefits that it will bring your company and department. Cognos almost pays for itself.
I think some key questions are: How will this truly help me? Will this reduce the amount of time spent doing research, processing, and formatting the report? How long does it take to set up the Cognos system to merge with our other internal or external corporate systems? Is there a risk for losing or having affected data by attempting to sync everything? What is Cognos support system like? Do we have to dedicate an on site support staff or is there a dedicated 24/7 or immediate call center that we can rely upon?