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Cognos Introduces New Performance Management Solution for Strategic Financial Planning


Cognos (NASDAQ: COGN) (TSX: CSN), the world leader in business intelligence and performance management solutions, today announced the availability of a new performance management solution designed to help model, evaluate, select, and monitor business strategies for driving profitable growth.

The Cognos Strategic Finance Performance Blueprint provides a complete performance management framework for strategic financial planning that supports a Web-based process for the systematic evaluation of long-range plans and strategies, analysis of various scenarios, supporting decision-making, and monitoring success. As the starting and ending point for long-term planning across the enterprise, strategic financial planning helps companies establish performance targets and resource allocation guidance for developing operational plans and budgets. Strategic planners rationalize key objectives, weigh investment alternatives, and translate higher-order goals into discrete financial targets, resource plans and performance metrics for the rest of the organization.

While strategic financial planning is typically performed by a small group, its outcome has major significance for the entire organization and its stakeholders. The Strategic Finance Performance Blueprint was a critical factor when UNITE Group PLC, the leading student accommodation company in the United Kingdom, sought to implement a planning solution for strategic decision making requirements that would impact a business serving more than 38,000 university students. The company’s planning initiative required the implementation of a comprehensive and connected strategic finance process.

“We selected Cognos Planning and the Cognos’ Strategic Finance Blueprint as our planning solution for several reasons - namely, the robust and seamless connection between operational plans and budgets and strategic finance models and the pre-built analytical capability. The fact that Cognos involved leading experts and clients from around the world in collaborating on it was evident in how well it met our needs,” said Zoe Fitzsimmons, MI Design Manager at UNITE. “Having gone through a comprehensive comparison exercise during the vendor selection, there did not appear to be a competing product that could provide us with similar capability or greater confidence. The Strategic Finance Blueprint was fundamental to UNITE’s software purchasing decision because it enables the type of investment decision modeling that is core to the company’s future business model.”

Strategic financial planning is an iterative process that unites top-down target setting, long-term goals and bottom-up plans and forecasts based on the latest information over shorter horizons. The workflows and analytics support identification of gaps between performance aspirations and emerging reality so initiatives can help management course-correct. Optimal results are achieved when a uniform planning platform is in place.

According to research by The Hackett Group, world-class finance organizations are 88% more likely than their peers to have an integrated tool to support the strategic planning, tactical planning and budgeting processes. This integrated process and technology environment enables world-class finance organizations to support a planning process that is more accurate and costs 34% less than that of peer group companies. Ultimately, this results in an industry-relative equity market return that is 2.4 times larger than the industry norm.

Most companies, however, see results that are anything but optimal, since their strategic financial planning processes are often plagued by limited information access, lack of version control, long cycle times, and lack of confidence in model accuracy. The Cognos Strategic Finance Blueprint based on Cognos 8 Planning, eliminates these roadblocks by facilitating information access, easing version control, ensuring calculation reliability and integrity, and increasing confidence in the quality of the management information base.

“The Strategic Finance Performance Blueprint provides a reliable approach to enterprise-wide, strategic financial planning and is an ideal replacement for spreadsheet-based approaches to long-term enterprise financial planning,” said Doug Barton, vice-president of product marketing, performance management, Cognos. “Integrated seamlessly with the Cognos Performance Management System, the blueprint is fully flexible and scalable across any organization using Cognos 8 Planning, and enables executives and decision makers to evaluate their success in meeting goals when connected with operational plans, budgets, and forecasts in a single reliable, planning framework.”

In addition, the Strategic Finance Performance Blueprint:

* Facilitates long-range strategic planning (e.g., over a ten-year horizon)
* Evaluates the impact of multiple strategies.
* Allows for comparison and analysis of what-if growth scenarios.
* Facilitates evaluating internal or external growth opportunities.
* Enables mergers & acquisition (M&A) planning.
* Provides an assessment of the current portfolio - allowing for analysis and impact of divestitures.
* Includes tax, funding, and credit rating impacts.
* Includes a full set of consolidated financial statements with distinct views for base growth, acquisitions, and divestitures.

The Strategic Finance Performance Blueprint is available immediately to customers. More information can be found at

About Cognos Performance Blueprints:
Cognos offers a full suite of Performance Blueprints to address planning and performance management process areas that directly impact an organization’s ability to create business value. Both functional and industry-specific process areas can now be automated, streamlined and transformed to help organizations quickly create more business value. Developed by the Cognos Innovation Center for Performance Management, the Cognos Performance Blueprints are a key component within the Cognos Performance Management System, which combines technology, best practices, analytical applications and solutions, and a broad network of partners into a single performance management solution. For further information on the Cognos Performance Blueprints see

About Cognos:
Cognos, the world leader in business intelligence and performance management solutions, provides world-class enterprise planning and BI software and services to help companies plan, understand and manage financial and operational performance.

Cognos brings together technology, analytical applications, best practices, and a broad network of partners to give customers a complete performance system. The Cognos performance system is an open and adaptive solution that leverages an organization’s ERP, packaged applications, and database investments. It gives customers the ability to answer the questions -- How are we doing? Why are we on or off track? What should we do about it? – and enables them to understand and monitor current performance while planning future business strategies.

Cognos serves more than 23,000 customers in more than 135 countries, and its top 100 enterprise customers consistently outperform market indexes. Cognos performance management solutions and services are also available from more than 3,000 worldwide partners and resellers. For more information, visit the Cognos Web site at
Cognos and the Cognos logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Cognos Incorporated in the United States and/or other countries. All other names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies.

Note to Editors:
Copies of previous Cognos press releases and Corporate and product information are available on the Cognos Web site at


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