New Cognos Performance Solution Helps Retailers Integrate Company-Wide Planning, Monitor Success: - Cognos Retail Financial Workbench & Scorecard Blueprint links all Retail Performance Blueprints to help increase company-wide collaboration and optimize performance -

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Cognos(R) (NASDAQ: COGN) (TSX: CSN), the world leader in business intelligence and performance management solutions, today announced the launch of a new performance solution designed to help retail executives and managers standardize and coordinate company-wide operational plans and track performance against objectives along the way.

Building a solid, integrated retail planning process helps pave the way for higher sales, improved inventory turnover, fewer markdowns, and by extension, higher profits.

    "Retailers today struggle with departmental silos, particularly in finance, merchandising, operations and marketing. The lack of integration between top-down strategic plans and bottom-up operational plans makes it difficult for retailers to manage to a single set of corporate goals and performance objectives, ultimately resulting in missed revenue and profitability targets, as well as jeopardizing growth in market share and customer satisfaction," said Brian Hume, president of Martec International, a leading consulting and training firm that specializes in merchandise management, supply chain management and store operations business processes. "Building a solid, integrated retail planning process helps pave the way for higher sales, improved inventory turnover, fewer markdowns, and by extension, higher profits."

The Cognos Retail Financial Workbench & Scorecard Blueprint provides a performance management framework - including planning, scorecarding, dashboarding and reporting - that enables retail executives to standardize the corporate-wide planning process, gain consensus between financial and operational plans, identify and monitor key metrics, and ensure all departments are working towards the same business goals. Leveraging Cognos' suite of Retail Performance Blueprints - including solutions for improving store operations, increasing marketing effectiveness, and aligning merchandise planning with customer demand - the new Blueprint provides a mechanism for consolidating multiple operational plans into a single high-level financial plan, conducting 'what-if' analysis and scenario modelling, generating financial statements and monitoring key performance metrics through a pre-built scorecard and intuitive dashboards.

"Integrated planning across the chain drives performance," said Jay Victory, director of financial planning and analysis at Tractor Supply Company, the largest retail farm and ranch store chain in the United States with 738 stores across 40 states. "Cognos Performance Blueprints offer finance managers a viable alternative to piecemeal spreadsheets, empowering them to drive business metrics that help optimize performance and contain costs, rather than spending countless cycles validating data, managing the process and manually consolidating plans. Cognos Performance Blueprints have helped Tractor Supply Company turn data into knowledge and accelerate the implementation of new automated processes."

The Cognos Retail Financial Workbench & Scorecard Blueprint is anchored on Cognos 8 Planning and Cognos 8 Business Intelligence (BI) and based on retail industry best practices gathered from top chains around the world. The Blueprint's workbench component allows finance executives to:

-- Integrate the planning process so that merchandising, finance, operations, and marketing have visibility to top-down strategic plans and are working towards common objectives and projects

-- Perform 'what-if' analysis for sales and costs

-- Model business scenarios to determine the financial impact of alternative strategies

-- Rapidly re-forecast to adjust to changes in costs, revenue and business trends

-- Generate integrated financial statements (P&L, Balance Sheet, Cash Flow)

-- Pro-rate revenue and costs to meet investment goals, change assumptions and drivers to see the effect of these changes on financial metrics - while holding other factors constant

-- Drive collaboration, and streamline the approval and monitoring process

-- Use a synchronized top-down planning environment to consolidate bottom-up plans and reach consensus between corporate financial goals, business objectives, and operational plans

...while the scorecard component enables executives to:

-- Set, measure, and monitor key performance metrics

-- Ensure ownership and accountability for performance by assigning a primary owner for every metric

-- Organize and view scorecards by status and trend

-- Set alerts and notifications to keep aware of when a metric changes status

-- Quickly identify variances using dashboards, and manage corrective actions and initiatives

"The Cognos Retail Financial Workbench & Scorecard Blueprint delivers an intuitive top-down and bottom-up planning and reporting environment that integrates and streamlines the planning and performance measurement processes across the enterprise," said Patricia Vekich Waldron, global retail industry director at Cognos. "This effectively eliminates plan discrepancies and organizational silos and allows chain managers to focus on increasing sales, protecting margins and satisfying customers. The Blueprint's scorecard component also plays a critical role in steering managers to the right information at the right time, so they can quickly address issues or adapt strategy as required."

Available immediately to customers, the Cognos Retail Financial Workbench Blueprint is the fifth retail solution launched by Cognos since 2006, joining the Cognos Financial Merchandise Planning Blueprint, which helps chains improve top-down, bottom-up planning for merchandise sales, margin and gross profit by division, channel, department or category; Cognos Store Operations (P&L) Planning Blueprint, which helps retail chains build top-down and bottom-up budgets and performance reports for comprehensive profit and loss management; the Cognos Store Development Blueprint, which enables retailers to more effectively plan capital-intensive projects like new store construction, remodels and upgrades; and the Cognos Strategic Promotions Planning Blueprint, which is designed to help chains optimize the effectiveness and return for both retailer- and vendor-funded promotional activities.

Cognos is a recognized leader in delivering business intelligence and performance management solutions for the retail industry. In fact, 36 per cent of the world's top 250 retailers, and over 300 retail chains worldwide, are already Cognos customers. Retail customers include Steak N Shake, Burlington Coat Factory,, American Eagle Outfitters, LVMH Perfumes & Cosmetics, and 7-Eleven. More information about Cognos solutions for retail can be found at

Note to Editors:

Cognos will be demonstrating the Cognos Retail Financial Workbench Blueprint at the 2008 National Retail Federation Conference, Booth # 1755, Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, New York City, January 14-15, 2008.

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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