The Analysis Applications category enables information consumers within your organization to more thoroughly understand many facets of their own business. The general mission of the Analysis Applications group is to compile the myriad elements and transactions within the organizational data store into information that can support ongoing operations and support decision making and planning. Examples of the capabilities that the applications give you as an analyst include options to perform trending analyses, comparisons and widely flexible time-based analysis on data that is collected and summarized within an OLAP PowerCube.
Cognos PowerPlay is the central hub of the Analysis Applications within the Cognos BI Suite. PowerPlay is a long-time player in the field of general OLAP reporting and drill-through capable multidimensional analysis. You can perform your own multidimensional analysis, create reports for yourself and for deployment to organizational consumers, or perform numerous iterations of these activities using OLAP data from the Windows, Web (via zero / minimal footprint browser capabilities) or Excel environments, or from a combination of these.
Further functionality can be added to the basic components, and you can extend the analysis capabilities of PowerPlay to include a degree of interactive data mining and visualization scenarios. Web-based scenarios offer you even more rapid support for taking strategic action, putting new strategies into place, making decisions that can have significant impacts upon future performance, and so forth. As with many of the Cognos applications, scalability and other flexible rollout attributes mean rapid deployment and effective integration. Cognos PowerPlay, unlike many competitor products in the same classification, provides an end-to-end OLAP solution (it ships with Transformer, wherein you can design and create the PowerCubes, from which you report with PowerPlay), and its integration with Impromptu and / or IWR for drillthrough capability is a tremendous strength. PowerPlay is part of an integrated Cognos reporting solution, which includes Upfront, the Web-based point of entry for information consumers (we will discuss Upfront later in the article).