Most companies that invest in Business Intelligence technologies do so with high expectations of better decisions, more efficient processes and decreased cost. Others expect increased insight into spending, competition, and customer behavior or employee performance. The simple fact is that many BI implementations do not deliver on their expected value. Read more

Last month’s article described the overall approach for best practice model design using the 4 layer architecture. In this month’s article, I’ll describe some advanced issues which arise during model design, and how best to deal with them. Given the limitless and complex situations that can come up during modeling, these techniques may or may not apply to your specific situation. Read more

The IBM Cognos Forum and IBM Information On Demand 2010 will be jointly held this year in Las Vegas, Nevada from October 24-28.

Through our Premier Partnership with IBM, the Ironside Group is able to offer an amazing discount: $400 off each IBM IOD / Business Analytics Forum registration. Simply enter the Ironside Promotion Code G10IRNSIDE at registration to receive your promotional discount.

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For those starting out with Cognos 8, or even those who have worked with it for quite a while, Framework Manager model design can seem like a daunting or even overwhelming task. With so many options available, it can be hard to know what to consider during design, and how to promote stability and sustainability.

This is the first in a two-part article that will focus on the best practices, organization and overall methodology of Framework model development. As is often the case with complex tools, even developers who have worked with Cognos for a while can be confused on at least some of the concepts and considerations of model design. The focus of this first article will start from the beginning, and describe an overall 4 layer approach, detailing the purpose and reason for each of the four layers. Next month’s article will describe advanced best practices, and other tips. Read more

During 2009, IBM Cognos introduced Cognos Express, its one-stop BI and planning solution purpose-built to meet the needs of midsize companies”. While large organizations have been implementing Business Intelligence solutions for years, mid-size organizations were often left in a quandary wondering whether to spend time and money on a solution that did not necessarily fit their needs. With a more streamlined implementation, web and excel based interfaces, and attractive pricing, Cognos Express is a promising step in closing the gap between mid-sized companies and enterprise Performance Management Software. Read more

As consultants the first question we are often asked by our customers is can we build reports directly against our transactional systems.    While there are some exceptions our general best practice is to recommend against this type of architecture.

The reasons are long and detailed, but simply put, some high level reasons not to build reporting systems off of normalized databases are:

  • Query performance
  • General production system performance
  • Aggregate view of data vs transactional view
  • Complex SQL
  • Normalized databases are typically tuned for simple queries

The discussion then leads to questions surrounding data mart or warehouse creation.  Typical initial concerns are time, money, maintenance, and flexibility. All which are real considerations when traveling this path.

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There is a growing need to provide more dynamic and interactive reporting for technically savvy consumers that have elevated expectations for how their data should be presented to them. With the arrival of IBM Cognos 8.4 comes Cognos Mashup Services, an API that empowers us to build modern looking and feeling web applications using IBM Cognos Reports as a data source. But what do you do if you want to deliver that sort of functionality within Cognos Viewer? The following presentation describes how you can leverage the powerful open-source JavaScript library jQuery to add dynamic user interface elements to your reports or provide functionality previously unavailable. Demonstrations include dynamically filtered and sortable list reports as well as drill-down enabled Tree Map data visualizations.

Download the presentation for Creating Dynamic IBM Cognos Reports with jQuery

The relationship between the report developer and report consumer often times have very little definition, with neither side having a concise picture of the best alignment of roles and responsibilities. The report developer has a clear understanding of the capability of the tools whereas the consumer may not. Conversely the consumer has a unique understanding of the business while the developer may not. When this disconnect is not addressed, the value of your BI tool may not truly be realized. Read more

In a time of financial instability, corporate investments must be thought out very carefully. That said, some investments can offer benefits almost immediately after implementation. There is one that can help you increase operational efficiency, harmonize departmental reporting, and provide immediate and up-to-date insight on your business at the click of your mouse. This investment gives you access to view the many different perspectives of your organization’s most crucial asset: its data. Read more

IBM Cognos 8 Mashup Service (CMS), a new web service shipped with the 8.4 Platform, is an API (application programming interface) that automatically and securely exposes BI content as a web service for use in operational applications, business process management (BPM) workflows and mashups. With this capability, you now can extend your BI content into existing applications and processes that are critical to your business users as well as add new context by “mashing” content with other applications.  Read more