Cognos sells two business intelligence tools - Impromptu and Powerplay. Both of these have two levels of user - Administrators, who define the reports or cubes and Users, who can run the reports locally and manipulate the data.
Impromptu is a report authoring tool that extracts data from tables and presents it in a frame-based format. It achieves drilldown by report to report linking to enable the user to explore the data. Reports can be defined to prompt the person running it for selection criteria, to enable one report to be defined to satisfy multiple needs. These reports can then be distributed over the web.
Powerplay is an OLAP (OnLine Analytical Processing) programme that enables users to manipulate data to discover trends and relationships between business dimensions. It does this by using Powercubes. It is easy to visualise these cubes as having three dimensions so that say, sales data is held by location on the vertical axis, product on the horizontal axis and time on the depth axis. The use of the term cube is less helpful, when you have to visualise further dimension, customers for example, but cubes are not limited to three dimensions.
Powerplay can create cubes from data extracted by Impromptu or other tools, it can also be used to manipulate data cubes created in other applications.
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Attwood Business Consultancy Ltd