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What Does Cognos Mean?

Cognos is a business intelligence and performance management software suite sold by IBM. The software suite was designed to enable non-technical personnel in large enterprises to extract corporate data, analyze them and then produce reports that would help the business make informed decisions. The suite is composed of more than a dozen separate products, which were built on open standards to allow them to communicate with various third-party technologies, from multidimensional and relational databases to enterprise-grade software such as SAP and Oracle.


Techopedia Explains Cognos

Cognos was originally the name of the company that created the Business Intelligence suite that is now named after it. The company was founded in 1969 by Alan Rushforth and Peter Glenister, and was originally called Quasar Systems Limited, which was then a consulting company working for the Canadian government. It shifted its focus to software sales in 1980 and renamed itself to Cognos in 1982, taken from the Latin word “cognosco,” which means “knowledge from personal experience,” a rather apt name for the type of industry the company was in. The company was later acquired by IBM on January 31, 2008, losing its independent existence but retaining its legacy in the software suite it developed, which also bears the same name.

Cognos is a Web-based, integrated business intelligence suite that provides a powerful toolset for mining, analyzing, scorecarding and monitoring of events, data and metrics. It allows a business to become top performing and analytics driven, giving it the capacity to actually predict or find market trends and then react to them with informed decisions.

The software suite contains the following basic components:

  • Query Studio – allows for simple queries and self-service reports that answer all basic business questions
  • Cognos Connection – the Cognos Web Portal, the starting point for all functions provided in the suite
  • Report Studio – used to create management reports including maps, charts, lists and repeat functions
  • Event Studio – a notification tool which reports on enterprise events in real-time
  • Analysis Studio – used for analyzing and understanding information about a business event or action, identifies trends and helps users understand anomalies and deviations, also contains OLAP functionalities, among others

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.