Posts

The last several years have represented an interesting journey for organizations and teams leveraging Cognos for analytics. During that time, visual data discovery tools have made a significant impact. However, as of late, we have seen the pendulum swing back to concepts introduced by enterprise BI tools long ago.¹ What’s old is new again.

When these new tools arrived, they challenged both the status quo and what many of us saw as an ideal solution to the localized, ungoverned, manually-intensive, and often error-prone data manipulation (i.e. “shadow analytics”) processes of the past. If we think back to the dawn of the modern business intelligence age in the mid 1990’s, we realize that these challenges are what tools like Cognos were developed to solve. Read more

IBM recently rolled out Watson Analytics Pro, a more feature-rich, subscription-based version of their free Watson Analytics platform. This new option adds some powerful new functionality to the already excellent base product, enabling subscribers to be more connected to their existing data sources and analyses, providing more storage space, and allowing for easy administration of Professional licenses and users. The best part? IBM has announced to existing Cognos BI, TM1 and Sales Performance Management customers a program that allows free subscriptions to Watson Analytics Professional Edition. This is a limited time offer. Read more

Migrating Cognos is a highly involved process, especially when you’re moving across multiple versions. When one of our clients needed this kind of migration completed, our experts turned to Cognos SDK to streamline the process and adjust the system to meet the client’s needs exactly. Read more

In Cognos 10.2.1 and earlier versions, the phrase that most accurately described a multi-page report was “wrestling match.” Long list reports would flow on for page after page until somewhere along the way you ran into that chart you knew you added but were starting to forget about. Defining page breaks helped some, but following the flow of a multi-page report was often a tiresome process that left your mouse hand cramped from clicking Page Down. With the release of Cognos 10.2.2, IBM changed all that with tabbed reports. Read more

Synopsis:

Enable a user via a prompt to pre-select if a value will be filtered before or after aggregation.

Overview:

Normally, the report author hard codes filters placed on facts in the Properties pane as before or after aggregation. While this is adequate in most report scenarios, hard coding can be limiting if the executing end-user would like to dynamically choose which aggregation method to use on the fact value at run time. When creating typical reports, this option is not obvious or apparently possible. Read more

Synopsis: How to create an external data file to use as a burst table for a Cognos report.

Pre-Requisites: This article assumes familiarity with how to burst a report and how to use external data, and creating an external data package. Read more

Over the years I have successfully used the ancestor(), parallelPeriods(), periodToDate(), aggregate(), and set() dimensional functions to develop robust and durable dimensional reporting solutions in IBM Cognos BI.

I had the opportunity to go to lunch the other day with one of my clients from a few years ago and they told me that the profit and loss reports that I wrote for them were still in use. These reports used no year or month members (directly) and required little if any maintenance over the last two years, despite daily refreshes of the source PowerCube. Read more

Synopsis

Define the technique behind and benefits of standardizing prompt conventions in Report Studio.

Overview

Report authors can easily create automatically generated prompt page prompts for data items in a report using the question mark syntax, as shown below: Read more

Due to the rapid pace of today’s business world, new strategies, products, projects, and tools are being introduced on a constant basis. This means that the speed of business often does not match the speed at which IT departments, which tend to have to follow rigorous testing and governance policies, can provide ways to measure the success of the given implementation. With tools like social media and Google at our fingertips to provide constant and immediate information at our every whim, the ability to get answers to business questions with the same deftness as we can in our personal lives becomes expected by BI end users. That’s why accounting for self-service options is essential. Read more