The latest push in its plan to bring business intelligence software to the masses, Cognos 8 Go! Mobile is meant to help executives and workers make better decisions while they're on the road.
It's unlikely the leading edge product will immediately be a big money-maker, said one industry analyst, but it underscores the importance of the mobile market.
We expect that white-collar workers, executives, and first-line/second-line management are going to be mobile -- meaning out of the office working somewhere -- probably close to 75 percent of the time within the next couple of years, said analyst Jack Gold, founder of mobile market research firm J. Gold Associates.
Such workers could be away from their desks for just a portion of each day, he noted.
You really want to make sure that while you're out there you can stay connected. From a business perspective, that means that you can also make decisions, he said.
Ultimately, it's (going to be) like the Web. If you don't have mobility built into your product set, people aren't going to take you seriously.
To get complex business intelligence tools to the tiny screens found on mobile devices, Cognos faced hurdles.
Developers needed to adjust the way information was presented, secure the data for wireless connections, and control program size to limit network drain.
Cognos said its new software, which is now in testing after several years of development, disconnects when a user is offline and has theft protection with electronic keys and locks. Unlike other such software, it does not require specific reports for mobile devices, so users can see any report generated in their company.
I'll be the first one to confess that when I saw it, I thought: cool toy, not sure if it's going to be practical, said Cognos senior product marketing manager Paul Hulford. I've been converted.
Cognos began consulting Research In Motion
After the BlackBerry launch, in the first half of 2007, Ottawa based Cognos plans to unveil mobile versions of its software for Windows Mobile and Symbian operating systems in the second half of the year.
Cognos is trying to get its software used by more workers within an organization, in part by making it simpler to sift through business data.
It's estimated that only 15 percent to 20 percent of workers in companies with business intelligence software use the tools because of the complexity.