IBM Cognos Analytics (Cognos 11), Release 4

IBM Cognos Analytics (Cognos 11), Release 4

Here's the formula: Owning IBM Cognos BI = Owning IBM Cognos Analytics.  If you are current on your IBM Cognos support, then you already own Cognos Analytics (Cognos 11), Release 4.

Is Your Organization Ready for Cognos Analytics?

First of all, the Cognos Analytics (C11 BI) new modern user interface and functionality are intuitively designed. From guiding your most beginner users to the senior analyst, it's all about using appropriate self-service features within a signal environment. But…is your organization ready to upgrade? THAT, ladies and gentlemen is the question you need to pose right off the bat.

The Best Keeps Getting Better, Hands on IBM Cognos Analytics (Cognos 11), Release 4

IBM Cognos Analytics, Release 4 was recently made available for download and the additions are in one word, FANTASTIC. The additions from the first version to IBM Cognos Analytics (Cognos 11), Release 4 have turned this product into a leader in this space. And here is a little secret, Release 5 will be AWESOME!

Dashboard Additions

In IBM Cognos Analytics, Release 4, the dashboard area gained some important functionality. Some examples include the ability of using conditional formatting, crosstabs in dashboards, refreshing widgets on a timer, top/bottom calculation, using data sets from FM, time and geolocation field types in dashboard and sorting based on the values of another field.

1) Conditional Formatting – The traditional formatting has been added, however, it has been revved up so you can see trends, groups and outliers. Check out the demo video when available to see this in action!

IBM Cognos Analytics

2) Crosstabs – Crosstabs are now part of the dashboard objects!! I’m sure many of you are saying “That’s awesome!”  In addition, you can even include the new conditional formatting as part of the crosstab widget.

3) Widget Refresh – You can now set each widget to refresh in as low as 5 seconds to many hours. As a result, this keeps your data updated without having to manually hit refresh.

4) Top/Bottom Calculations - Ranking by top 5 or 10 and bottom 5 or 10 with just a couple clicks is now possible. It is super easy to use and is a great feature that we all have used yet strugged with when writing reports.

IBM Cognos Analytics

5) Data Sets from FM – A great blog entitled, “Grab a Slice of Data: Cognos Analytics 11.0.4 Unveils Data Sets” was written regarding the details of data sets by Jason Tavoularis, a Cognos Analytics Offering Manager. It’s a great reference and we suggest checking it out.

6) Time and Geolocation Field Types – Cognos Analytics now recognizes time and location fields while marking them appropriately to provide a better user experience. For instance, when a location field is denoted, it makes creating a map widget much easier. And by the way, we are expecting Release 5 to have the new geospatial mapping with Mapbox!

7) Sorting Based on Other Field Values – With Release 4, you are now able to define sorting of 1 field with another field.  For instance, sort months on a number value and not the spelling that is the field you want to display.

Reporting Additions

In IBM Cognos Analytics, Release 4, the reporting area also gained some important functionality. This includes full interactivity drill through, optimized interactive viewer and data list formatting.

1) Drill Through – Now available when a report is set to use full interactivity allowing you to reap the benefits of the interactive viewer in Cognos 11. At the same time, you can drill through to a report.

2) Optimized Interactive Viewer – Through many tests, you should be expecting to see a two to three second quicker open and about 15% less memory usage.

3) Data List Formatting – This was introduced in Release 3, however, you are now able to format this as a normal list.

Modeling Addition

In IBM Cognos Analytics, Release 4, the modeling area also gained important functionality. As a result, it's giving the modeler the option to hide tables or columns, undo & redo, clean null values, validate recognize time & location fields, and smarter relationship detection.

1) Hide Tables or Columns – You are now able to hide tables or columns in a data module. These tables will remain fully functional in the modeling interface but will be hidden in reporting or dashboards.

2) Undo / Redo – The option to undo and redo in the modeling application has been added.

3) Clean Null Values – You can replace null values with text, numbers or dates. You can also replace N/A with a null value.

Cognos Analytics

4) Validate – You can validate your model to ensure it will work with reporting or dashboards. This gives you info including:

  • Table or column that no longer exists
  • Bad calculation expression
  • Filter that references a column that no longer exists
  • Table or column that it references in a join that no longer exists

5) Time and Location Recognition – When modeling, the system will look for columns with a data modules that represent time of location data and mark them as such. You can change them if the recognition was incorrect.

Java Script Support in Interactive Viewer

New to IBM Cognos Analytics, Release 4 is the ability to render reports in the interactive viewer with java script embedded. There is a slight catch however. The java script that you want to add to a report must exist in a separate file which your web browser can access. This allows the same script to be used in multiple reports.

Rachel Su, an Offering Manager for IBM Analytics, has done a great job of explaining Java Script support and it’s uses in her blog entitled “JavaScript Support in Interactive Viewer”.

Customizations

Now you can customize the IBM Cognos Analytics interface with Release 4. You can remove buttons, menus and define new views for the user experience. In addition, you can substitute in your company colors, logos and brand info. There are a few samples with Release 4 to get you started! We suggest checking out this information on customizing your interface in Cognos Analytics.

Storytelling

Simply put, storytelling is utilizing your dashboards and reports in a better way to tell a story to your end users or during a presentation. You no longer need to present static reports or charts!

1) Pinning - Pin any widget to your pin panel and then utilize these objects in any new dashboard or story.

IBM Cognos Analytics
IBM Cognos Analytics

2) Timeline - You can utilize the timeline to have your widgets appear or disappear over the course of your story.

IBM Cognos Analytics

Lifecycle Manager

In IBM Cognos Analytics, Release 4, Lifecycle Manager introduces some great enhancements. For those who do not know anything about Lifecycle Manager, the short version is that it’s a stand-alone application which validates and compares report outputs between different versions of Cognos. In other words, it helps ensure that your reports from 10.2.2 move to 11.0.4 accurately or provides a list of the issues.

1) Lifecycle Manager now available for both Windows and Linux

2) Part of the Cognos Analytics cloud

3) Users can compare live environments or static files using benchmark tasks

4) Manually define prompts or set prompt values for multiple reports automatically

Release 4 brings some seriously fantastic additions to IBM Cognos Analytics. If you have suggestions or features you want to see, please check out this link to the IBM RFE community. This is the area you can see what has been requested and add in your ideas. If you would like to read a detailed list of fixes in Release 4, please use THIS LINK. New samples are added to the Cognos Analytics community all the time. Check out the latest HERE.