Cognos® and University of Minnesota Tackle Reporting and Analysis Problems

-- 'Big Ten' university deploys Cognos solution to 6000 users across the enterprise --

BURLINGTON, MA, February 2, 2001—With more than 65,000 students pursuing hundreds of different bachelor, master, and doctoral degree programs in 19 colleges on four campuses, the University of Minnesota knows a little bit about 'information overload'. So when they needed to deploy a fast, user-friendly, and cost-effective solution to cope with the massive amounts of incoming data, they chose business intelligence from CognosŪ (NASDAQ:COGN; TSE:CSN) the world's largest and most successful business intelligence company.

One of the top-ranking public universities in the United States, the University of Minnesota collects and processes vast quantities of data on student and financial information, human resources data, scheduling, and academic data.

"Until recently, our reporting and analysis was finance-centric, without a true student or HR component. Those reports took a long time to create and were expensive to develop," said Susan Grotevant, director of information management at the University. "We're now using Cognos to create a large number of reports—used in registration permissions, human resource tracking, payroll monitoring, and collegiate class lists—in a fraction of the time."

Among the most exciting reporting initiatives at the University is the ability to use the data warehouse and Cognos solutions to complement the existing PeopleSoft functionality, ease the burden on the transaction systems and streamline business processes.

One of the most popular—and difficult—reports is the Payroll Distribution report, which identifies what each university employee was paid and from what accounts the salary disbursements were made for each quarter. This information is vital for tracking and analyzing research grants and for overall budget management. The report, which used to take over 30 hours to create, can now be created in minutes by end-users at their desktops. In addition, users need only minimal training, keeping developers focused on more technical matters.

"Since we started offering reporting and analysis through Cognos, our user base has grown from 300 to almost 6,000—in less than two years. We're building our new reports in about one-tenth of this time it used to take. There is no question that this has been an excellent investment," added Grotevant.

"Our higher education customers have unique challenges ahead of them and they rely on business intelligence solutions from Cognos to deliver the information they need to meet those challenges," said Ben Plummer, Cognos vice president of marketing. "By gaining a unified view of the organization, reducing IT obligations, and streamlining business processes, Cognos solutions enables companies to have maximum impact with minimal use of resources."

University of Minnesota
The University of Minnesota is one of the most comprehensive universities and consistently ranks among the top 20 universities in the United States. This Big Ten institution prides itself on the quality of its academics, the scholarship of its faculty, its contributions to the region's artistic and cultural richness, its breakthroughs in research, and its world-class facilities. Having the size and complexity of a major enterprise with hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues and expenses, far-flung operations in dozens of counties, and thousands of employees, the University increasingly relies on vast quantities of student, financial, human resources, and facilities management data to support its strategic, operational and management information needs.

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