Posts

This is part three in our five part series on the essential capabilities of the competitive data-driven enterprise.

Most business analysts will reach for their favorite data visualization tool when it comes time to perform driver and correlation analysis when in search of a cause. While this technology is essential for communicating with data, and excellent at identifying new opportunities (i.e. visualizing gaps or data non-relationships), it is limited in its ability to produce reliable, accurate and conclusive results. This is mostly due to our own human limitations when visually processing more than two dimensions of analysis at a time (e.g. revenue over time by product line). Read more

A “modern” approach to Financial Planning and Analysis has become a requirement for a successful corporate finance function. Gone are the days where finance teams were viewed solely as a report publisher that conducted reactive variance analyses. Instead, modern finance teams are able to create an agile, efficient, technology-enabled, proactive and highly valued decision support function. In order to achieve this success, the value proposition of core FP&A responsibilities, such as budgeting, planning, analysis, forecasting, and financial reporting, needs to be better understood. Read more

Cubes (including Cognos PowerCubes and Dynamic Cubes, as well as other file-based cube technologies) are well-known, commonly used, and valuable data sources in reporting.  As specially indexed binary files, report performance with cubes is generally robust, however when cube files grow very large (or there is high simultaneous demand reading from the cube), response time can and will decrease. That’s why it can sometimes be useful to show cube sizes on BI reports to let authors know when a cube’s size could be affecting performance. Read more

Let’s go back a few years. You and your company invested significant amounts of time, effort, and capital to implement a business intelligence environment meant to serve the analytic needs of your organization and help drive insights. You and your team spent extra effort in developing the metadata and reporting that the business said they required, yet you’ve been hearing about users downloading free tools for analysis, your development request backlog has dried up, and a quick look at your audit logs shows flat, or worse, declining usage of your environment. What’s going on? Read more

Synopsis

This article covers how to allow access to a report with a password challenge prompt, creating a password protected report.

Overview

Security in Cognos is extremely robust, letting you permit or deny access to data elements on a package, data source, or even row level in a Database. Normally, standard group permissions conveniently control report execution access for most situations, but certain business applications may require a select subset of users to run a report who may not all be in the same group. In lieu of adding a separate group and assigning those users to it, a report can start with a prompt page with a password challenge response that allows only users with a valid password to run the report. Read more

Synopsis

How to create, implement and use conditional blocks in Cognos reports.

Overview

Conditional blocks show different display results based on user interaction or parameters read in when a report is run. They provide a creative method for presenting either the same report data in various formats or executing several completely different reports from one prompt page. 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

Salesforce.com, most commonly implemented for its customer relationship management (CRM) platform, is a well-known industry leader in client relationship management as well as social performance management, sales performance management, and other areas. The IBM Cognos enterprise combined with Salesforce data can help your organization build a single view of your business and create reports, dashboards, and scorecards for analyzing your sales information. A few quick benefits of integrating Salesforce with Cognos are as follows: Read more