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The most important, but perhaps hardest to obtain, ingredient in planning and budgeting is accurate, up-to-the- minute data. The next: A system that will let a finance executive know about a problem in time to fix it before damage is done. Ottawa, Ont.-based business intelligence and performance management software provider Cognos Inc. hopes to put an end to what seems, at times, a futile quest. In October, the vendor is releasing Cognos 8 Planning 8.2, a scalable solution that allows finance to ask–and answer–the key questions in real-time: How is the enterprise performing? Are we on track? And if we’re off track, what do we do to get back on track? Planning 8.2 can be rapidly deployed across an enterprise and provides improved integration with SAP, Oracle eBusiness and PeopleSoft ERP systems so data can be imported easily. Planning 8.2 also offers a Microsoft Excel interface for executives who are most comfortable in Excel. It is also easier to input information, add attachments and insert commentary into forecasts and budgets.

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