You’ve gone through the exercise of creating your data warehouse, developing a model and creating the most relevant and useful reports your organization could use. You’ve gone live: consumers have their logins and have been trained on how to receive their daily fill of data. There may be a few hiccups here and there but in general things are going well.
For the most part, users who begin to use Cognos will find themselves using it more and more, making requests as they discover the possibilities presented to them. Convenient as it already is, there will be several groups of users who may need or want even more accessibility. How do you deliver for them?
IBM Cognos on the GO!
Many organizations have or utilize a mobile workforce in some shape or form. Mobile employees spend very little time during the day in front of a computer (if at all), making it difficult for them to gain access to their reporting needs and preventing them from utilizing the analytical data to make the timely decisions necessary to ensure success. Most organizations attempt to provide for these employees by scheduling or bursting reports to their email addresses so that they may receive them on their mobile devices. While this certainly would allow these users to keep abreast of current data, it is not without its limitations. For example:
- When reports are delivered to email and read on mobile devices, they are often sized or displayed in a difficult to read format often the result of generically designed viewing applications.
- Reports lack functionality (tooltips, prompting, searching etc).
- Scheduling and bursting require a notion of predictability (You know what the data that the consumer needs and know the ideal time to deliver it).
- Report consumers cannot request reports on the fly and must rely on pre-defined schedules to deliver to them.
Cognos has a convenient extension that many are not aware about: Cognos 8 Go! Mobile. The extension is installed on a report consumer’s mobile device (BlackBerry, Windows Mobile and Symbian S60 3rd Edition) and requires very little configuration.
With the Cognos 8 Go! Mobile extension even those who are on the road, off to a meeting or waiting for a flight can both push and pull data from Cognos Connection. Reports are sized appropriately for their mobile screen and many features from the Cognos environment are retained (tooltips, scrolling, prompting, zooming, and searching). Consumers can synchronize with the IBM Cognos application server to receive scheduled reports or request them as they are needed.
IBM Cognos 8 Go! Mobile Features
- Tell your report developers to relax as there is no additional burden on their behalf. Go! Mobile does not require specialized report development.
- Installation on mobile devices can be initiated by the user via OTA (Over the Air) programming or pushed to their device via a mobile device software tool. No user interaction is required for the install.
- Data compression decreases data usage on mobile plans.
- Security and password protection settings allow for secure transmission and protection of data if the mobile device is stolen or lost.
- Both prompted and bursted reports are supported.
- Location Based Prompting can cater to a user’s geographic location.
- Automatic synchronization with the IBM Cognos application server.
Implementing IBM Cognos Go! Mobile
Installation and configuration of Go! Mobile is not difficult. Server side installation is flexible and can be done on a single server or distributed network. The installation includes a new application tier component, gateway and a mobile client. Once the server side installation is done, all you have to do is ensure that the mobile device can reach the Cognos Server. (For Blackberry support, MDS Services Connection Service Component needs to be enabled on the Blackberry Enterprise Server).
To complete the install you’ll need to install a mobile client on each device. This sounds like a daunting task but it is really quite easy. It can be approached in several ways. You can direct mobile users to a website where they can download the client with little to no interaction during the install process. This eliminates the IT installation burden. Users are also able to utilize a hard connection to a desktop to transfer the client files onto their mobile device. If you’d like to take the responsibility for installation out of the hands of your employees altogether you can also utilize OTA (Over the Air) programming to install and configure the mobile client. This method does use IT resources but would allow you to install as well as update the mobile client for all mobile users in a single job.
Go! Mobile is the last frontier in accessibility and adoption. It truly allows you to bring full featured Cognos 8 BI to everyone in your organization, even if they don’t regularly go to an office. Your mobile workforce will be well informed and able to make timely analytical decisions that are crucial to any organization’s success.