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BUSINESS: Cortell Strengthens Partnership with IBM


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New products will assist clients to harness the power of analytics

Cortell Corporate Performance Management (Cortell) an IBM Premium Partner, isgearing up to meet the ever-changing demands of clients and is planning for certification in a new range of products from IBM - namely Cognos 10, Clarity FSR and SPSS -- to satisfy growing local demand for more powerful tools to harness the power of analytics.

Explains Bogiages, "Over the next decade, data entering organisations will rise rapidly in terms of volume, velocity and variety. Information on its own is simply not enough, however, too much information can be counter-productive. Leading organisations will focus on information management and utilisation - realising the potential of information to be transformed into 'knowledge'."

The new economic environment, which is increasingly volatile, uncertain and complex, is another factor worrying today's CEOs according to IBM's 2010 CEO study, he points out. And, he adds, in a turbulent economic climate, top decision makers that have an abundance of information and not enough knowledge, also have a clear recipe for disaster. This is one of the primary reasons that technology is continuing to rise in importance, he suggests.

"Technology - and in this instance particularly the kind of technology that assists organisations to better equip their workforce in making sense of the vast amount of information they are faced with - is being identified as one of the three most important external forces over the next three years, alongside market forces and macroeconomic factors.

"It will be vital for organisations that want to better navigate the complex economic environment and changing market factors," he notes. "Cortell has thus identified three products - Cognos 10, Clarity FSR and SPSS - to offer companies more powerful, user friendly and focussed tools that harness the power of analytics to improve performance through enhanced governance, financial reporting and organisational predictiveness, among others.

Cognos 10
IBM Cognos 10 expands traditional business intelligence (BI) with planning, scenario modelling, real-time monitoring and predictive analytics. Notes Bogiages: "Cognos 10 is the first BI product that is truly integrated into TM1. We are particularly excited about the functionality that allows users to go offline and retrieve interactive reports on any platform - be it a laptop, iPad, Blackberry or any smart phone. We are currently in the process of up-skilling our team in order to support the product."

Clarity FSR
Clarity FSR is a unified financial governance solution developed by Canadian company Clarity Systems, which has recently been acquired by IBM. It is focused on improving financial processes and controls - particularly in the 'last mile' of preparing financial statements.

Note Bogiages, "With Clarity FSR, common financial reporting is a made easier than ever before. It enables organisations to get rid of tedious manual processes and poorly integrated systems, by providing the capability to combine data from many different sources into a single document. It offers the most advanced XBLR (eXtensible Business Reporting Language) solution on the market, and the end result is smarter decision making, which is of course highly dependent on accurate financial information. Cortell Performance Management has completed training and is now skilled in the Clarity FSI product offering. "

As organisations gear themselves to cope with the increasingly volatile and complex economic environment, the demand for predictive analytics has grown.This is where IBM's acquisition of SPSS fits in - it helps organisationscreate competitive advantage by becoming more predictive enterprises. Part of SPSS is embedded in Cognos 10 but can be implemented separately. Across the globe it has assisted organisations in the education; retail; healthcare; telecommunications; government; and banking and insurancesectors, to become 'smarter' in how they engage with changing market forces. And Cortell hopes to see local organisations benefit in the same way. Says Bogiages, "What makes SPSS so powerful is that it is so easy to use - allowing anyone to make use of its functionality and requiring very little technical expertise. This is exactly what is needed in today's business environment, which necessitates fast decision-making and where there simply isn't the time to sit around trying to make sense of complicated tools."

Cortell is also preparing to increase its geographic footprint across Africa, already having implemented projects in Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and planning to open an office in East Africa. Comments Bogiages, "We are looking forward to expanding our African footprint and seeing organisations across the continent benefit from the power of analytics. Locally, we are also looking forward to seeing our customers benefit from the new product offering."

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