Since IBM Cognos 10 was released last winter, upgrading has become a very hot topic among the Cognos user community. Why upgrade? There are many reasons: new features and functionalities, easier to use, better performance and more. Cognos 10 will not only serve your business better but also deliver a revolutionary new experience as well as expand traditional business intelligence with planning, scenario modeling, real-time monitoring and predictive analytics in one place. Here are some eye-catching new features:

  • Business Insight – new interface that allows business users the freedom to create meaningful reports on their own: it is a unified BI workspace that delivers analytics that users can use to answer key business questions. With easy to use drag-and-drop interface, business users will be able to find the information they need at their fingertips and build personalized dashboards on demand. It seamlessly mixes exploration and authoring activities without switching interfaces or modes
  • New Charts – new default charting engine as well as new chart types such as Bullet charts, chart matrix, enhancement styles. These new features give users more power to create eye-catching and elegant reports.
  • Active Report – a new report output type that provides a highly interactive and easy-to-use interface. They are easily consumed by users who are offline, making them an ideal solution for remote users.
  • Predictive analytics – statistical objects (powered by IBM SPSS) are now integrated in IBM Cognos Report Studio
  • Collaboration and social networking: while creating or viewing reports, performing

    analysis, or monitoring dashboards, you can use comments and activities to make decisions together with colleagues.

  • Actionable analytics everywhere: mobile and real-time analytics on iPad and iPhone are now supported (in addition to previous support for other mobile devices such as Blackberry, windows Mobile system etc.)
  • New In-memory Analytics: the new
    dynamic query mode uses in-memory query processing to allow report authors and advanced business users to do faster business analysis and make quicker decisions.

Carefully planning an upgrade is the first and key step for success. How and what should you plan for the upgrade? Depending on your existing BI environment and content, upgrade paths varies for each one. Below are some general suggestions to be included in your upgrade plan, specifically for upgrading Cognos 8.x to Cognos 10.

1. Inventory Existing System

  • Hardware inventory – how many physical servers are used for Cognos BI system, what are the capacities of each. Are there any updates required for hosting Cognos 10
  • Software inventory -what operating system, web server, database are used. Are there any software upgrades or updates needed for Cognos 10
  • Review existing Cognos environment and system architecture including any system wide customizations (you will need to re-apply any system customizations)
  • Special considerations – any SDK application such as custom authentication provider, stand-alone SDK applications, Mashup service applications, or JavaScript.
  • Documentation- includes but not limited to report specifications, model, system administration and other documentation.

2. Inventory of Resources

  • IT / infrastructure Resources
  • Cognos Developers involved
  • Business Users involved
  • Testing Resources
  • Training Resources

3. Create Plan

  • Outline project timeframe/milestones
  • Assign tasks to available resources
  • Prepare necessary software, hardware
  • Estimate production shutdown time
  • Backup / reverse strategy

4. Plan Execution

  • Training core BI team on Cognos 10
  • Create a Cognos 10 testing environment, often this is an all-in-one system
  • Apply system customizations/configurations
  • Upgrade custom authentication provider, SDK applications first if they are key components related to security
  • Upgrade 8.x content
  • Validate upgraded content
  • Identify any issues
  • Create QA environment if needed. Ideally it should mirror the production environment.
  • Move upgraded content to QA,
  • Validate upgraded content, tune performance and verify security
  • Prepare production environment
  • Make final 8.x content cut-off
  • Turn down old 8.x production services
  • Upgrade final 8.x production content on Cognos 10 production environment
  • Apply all configurations and fixes
  • Conduct minimum testing
  • Go live!

Sounds a lot? We can help! Contact us for a free proof of concept upgrade! Leverage our consulting experiences for an easier and smoother upgrade. As an IBM premier business partner we will also help you up on trade-up, renewing or new licensing needs during the upgrade process.