Why Renewing IBM Cognos and Planning Analytics Support is Crucial for Your Business Success

Why Renewing IBM Cognos and Planning Analytics Support is Crucial for Your Business Success
Why Renewing IBM Cognos and Planning Analytics Support is Crucial for Your Business Success
Written by Heather L. Cole, March 23rd, 2023

IBM Cognos and Planning Analytics are powerful business intelligence and planning software solutions that are widely used by businesses of all sizes around the world.  These tools help organizations make informed decisions by providing deep insights into their data and enabling them to create accurate and actionable plans.  However, maintaining and maximizing the benefits of these solutions requires ongoing support and access to IBM software updates.  In this blog, we will explore the benefits of renewing IBM Cognos and Planning Analytics support and why partnering with a value-adding reselling partner like Lodestar Solutions for your renewal can be a better option than going direct from IBM.

Access to IBM Analytics Software Updates

One of the key benefits of renewing IBM Cognos and Planning Analytics support is access to IBM software updates.  IBM regularly releases new versions and updates to these solutions to address known issues, enhance existing functionality, and introduce new features.  With an active support renewal agreement, you will gain access to these updates, ensuring that you are always running the latest and most secure version of the software.  This will help you stay ahead of the competition and ensure that you are getting the most value from your investment.  See our latest blogs written by one of our Lodestar Consultants on the lates releases of IBM Cognos and Planning Analytics.

Moreover, access to IBM software updates is crucial to maintain the security and stability of these solutions.  Not that long ago the world discovered the vulnerabilities of Log4J.  IBM and most software companies were affected.  See our blog,  911 – Log4j Security Risk Affects IBM Planning Analytics, Cognos.

By having an active support renewal agreement for IBM support, clients were able to apply fixes. 

IBM continuously monitors and identifies security vulnerabilities in its software and releases security patches to mitigate these vulnerabilities.  Without support renewal, clients risk running outdated and potentially vulnerable software that may be at risk of cyberattacks.  See this link for more reasons on why it is important to renew your IBM Support. 

Ability to Log IBM Support Tickets

Another key benefit of renewing IBM Cognos and Planning Analytics support is the ability to log support tickets.  Inevitably, clients will encounter issues or questions while using these solutions, and it is critical to have timely and effective support to resolve these issues.  With an active support renewal, clients can log support tickets and receive help from IBM's support team.  IBM’s support experts have access to a huge database of reported issues which helps you get a faster resolution.   This support can be invaluable, especially if you are facing a critical issue that is impacting your business operations.  

Moreover, logging support tickets can help clients identify and address issues proactively, minimizing downtime and improving the overall reliability and performance of these solutions.  By renewing support, clients can have peace of mind that they have access to timely and effective support whenever they need it.

Partnering with a Value-Adding Reselling Partner like Lodestar Solutions

While renewing IBM Cognos and Planning Analytics support is critical to maintaining and maximizing the benefits of these solutions, clients can further enhance their experience by partnering with a value-adding reselling partner like Lodestar Solutions.

Private User Group

Lodestar Solutions provides all support renewal clients access to Lodestar Solutions’ Private Client only User Groups held quarterly.  These events are virtual through Zoom and allows clients to connect with other users, share best practices and tips, and learn about new features and enhancements.  This is a great opportunity for clients to network with other users and gain valuable insights into how other organizations are using these solutions.  Mike Bernaiche and Heather Cole lead these events and always inspire and energize attendees.  For clients that can’t make the live events, Lodestar offers access to their client only library of user group recordings.

Licensing Reviews

Additionally, Lodestar Solutions provides regular licensing reviews to ensure clients are compliant and in the optimal licensing model.  This is important because non-compliance can lead to legal issues and hefty fines, which can negatively impact the bottom line.  Let’s be honest, IBM Licenses can be confusing!  What the Heck is a PVU anyway?  See our blog, What the Heck is an IBM Cognos PVU?  But don’t let the licensing frustrate you.  Lodestar’s team has been decoding IBM Analytic licensing for decades and can hep you understand what you own.

Lodestar also evaluates clients’ licenses to see if IBM has released a new licensing model that is more advantageous for the client.  This ensures that clients are only paying for what they need and are not overspending on unnecessary licenses.  

In the event a client receives an audit letter from IBM, Lodestar Solutions will answer any questions and help ensure you are ready for the audit.

Client Discounts on Technical Upgrades

Furthermore, Lodestar Solutions offers a discount on technical upgrade consulting.  This can be particularly helpful when clients need to upgrade to the latest version of these solutions but may not have the internal expertise or available resources to do so. 

Lodestar Solutions offers clients upgrade bundles to help clients ensure they are on the latest release.  For more information see our earlier blog Solving the IBM Cognos Upgrade Challenge, or email Services@lodestarsolutions.com to schedule a discussion of your unique situation.

Renewing Your IBM Cognos and Planning Analytics Support with Lodestar Solutions

By partnering with Lodestar Solutions, clients can save money, while ensuring a smooth and successful upgrade.  Lodestar Solutions’ clients know they are not alone and that someone has their back.  Lodestar Solutions has a team of experienced and certified consultants who can provide ongoing support and help clients address any issues or questions they may have.  By partnering with Lodestar Solutions, clients can focus on their core business while relying on an experienced partner to help them get the most out of their IBM Cognos and Planning Analytics solutions.

In Conclusion

Renewing IBM Cognos and Planning Analytics support is critical to maintaining and maximizing the benefits of these solutions.  With an active support renewal, clients can access IBM software updates and log support tickets, ensuring they have access to the latest features and timely support.  But by partnering with a value-adding reselling partner like Lodestar Solutions, you can take your analytics to an entirely new level.  So, let’s chat about your support renewal!  Email us at Renewals@lodestarsolutions.com and set up a complimentary call about your support needs.

What’s New in Planning Analytics Workspace 2.0.84

What's New in Planning Analytics Workspace 2.0.84
What's New in Planning Analytics Workspace 2.0.84
Written by Mike Bernaiche, February 16th 2023

It is time again to discuss what is new in Planning Analytics Workspace 2.0.84.  In February 2023, IBM released updates to workspace and while this isn’t a large update there are a few items of note that make an already great product even better.  As a reminder, IBM releases updates to workspace every month. 

Books and Reporting

  • Synchronization for Visualizations Improvements – in previous versions, the user interface showed dimensions instead of labels.  You now see the hierarchy synchronization option in the Synchronize feature under Visualization properties. Dimension names also display above the hierarchy names now for easy identification.
Synchronization for Visualizations Improvements
  • New Forecast Capabilities for Line Chart – Line visualization now includes 3 slots for forecast.  High bound, Low bound and Forecast.  As with current forecasting capabilities, High bound and Low bound are used to draw the envelope and Forecast indicates the forecasted values.  Additionally, you must specify a Forecast start to indicate when the forecast data starts.
New Forecast Capabilities for Line Chart
  • View Section Icons – To enable or disable section icons in the cube viewer, click View options, and then toggle section icons by clicking the check box next to Section icons.
View Section Icons

Applications and Plans

Revert Approvals in Plans – plan owners can now revert approvals in plans.  To revert a task approval:

  1. Open the plan in edit mode.
  2. Under Plan tasks, click the Submissions link on a task to open the Submissions log.
  3. Click Pending approval or completed to find the approved submission.  Submissions that require multiple approvals and were only partially approved are under Pending approval.  Submissions that were fully approved are under Completed.
  4. Click the menu next to the task for which you want to cancel an approval and select Revert approval.
  5. Select the approver group(s) from whom you want to remove approval(s) and click Revert.

Where there are multiple approvers for a task, when you revert an approval, approval is also removed from any next-in-line approvers.  In the following example, if you remove Group A's approval, Group B's is also removed.  Both Group A and Group B will need to approve the submission again.


  • Copy Object Names from Database Tree - You can now copy name objects from the Databases tree. You can copy the object name into your clipboard by hovering your cursor over the item that you want to copy and then pressing CTRL+C (Windows) or CMD+C (Mac).  When copying the object name for a member, the value copied is the MUN (Member Unique Name).
  • Turbo Integrator Debugger - The process editor in Planning Analytics Workspace includes a debugger user interface that allows you to set line breakpoints, continue to the next breakpoint, and step over to the next line. Conditional breakpoints are also supported. You can enable the debug mode only on one process at a time.  A welcome addition!
  • Rename levels in Dimension Editor –
Rename levels in Dimension Editor
Rename levels in Dimension Editor

Depreciation Notice

In Planning Analytics Workspace 2.0.84, the classic dimension editor is no longer available from the modeling workbench.  The classic dimension editor remains available on books.

All dimension creation and maintenance in the modeling workbench must now be performed in the new experience dimension editor.  The new experience dimension editor was introduced on the modeling workbench in Planning Analytics Workspace 2.0.82.


Thank you for taking the time to read about what’s new in Planning Analytics 2.0.84.  To catch up on previous version you can check out these blogs here.

If you are running Planning Analytics Workspace in a Microsoft Environment, you MUST read this blog!

Using ChatGPT as an Analytic Professional to Become More Persuasive.

Written by Heather L. Cole, March 9th, 2023

I recently received what I felt was a curt email from our main supplier.  You know one of those emails when you read it you are like WOW did she really just send that to a customer.  At first, I thought I maybe was overreacting.  So, I decided to see what Christina on our team thought of it.  Christina is our super sweet, very customer focused, and solutions oriented renewal specialist.  She always sees the good in people.   Seconds later my phone chimed.  It was a message from Christina, “Wow… Interesting response from the rep…”

If you follow me at all you know I am all about learning and teaching people how to be more influential and persuasive because I believe if we all worked on these soft skills, analytics and data driven movements would be more pervasive.  linkedin.com/in/heatherlcole  Yes, I believe it’s our analytic minds blocking analytics, but more on that later.

I decided to try a little experiment, could ChatGPT help people become more persuasive and influential in email?  My hypothesis is that when we have bad news, or want someone to see our side of the situation, maybe AI could help.  I asked ChatGPT to take the original email from the rep and rewrite it to be more persuasive and customer focused. 

"Again, we can't do split bids for this renewal. What you do on your own paper, is up to you."

ChatGPT Version:

Dear [Customer],

I hope this email finds you well. Thank you for considering us for your renewal needs.

After careful consideration, we regret to inform you that we are unable to offer split bids for this renewal. However, we are committed to providing you with the best possible service and ensuring that you have all the information you need to make an informed decision.

We understand that flexibility is important to you, and we want to help you in any way we can. While we are unable to offer split bids, we encourage you to explore your options and make the decision that is best for you. Our team is always available to answer any questions you may have and provide guidance throughout the renewal process.

Thank you again for considering us as your partner. We value your business and look forward to serving you in the future.

Best regards,

Wow!  What a difference.  If I had received ChatGPT’s version I would not have felt compelled to personally send an email to the sender asking if she intended to be curt.  You see, sometimes we get stressed at work and well we get short, snarky, and curt.  We all do it.  But if we want to succeed at work and life in general, we need to STOP, pause, and read our email as if we were the recipient.  Then ask yourself how I would feel after receiving this email.

ChatGPT and Our Analytic Minds

I believe our highly trained analytic minds often get in our way.  We spend all our time looking at facts and data and forget that most of the world makes decisions based on emotion.  This has been a big hurdle for me personally as I am not what I would call a warm fuzzy person.  It’s taken years of practice and developing my still underdeveloped skills of adding what I call “sugar” to an email.

Maybe AI can help us all communicate a little better.  If we improve our emails by adding a little “sugar” we can improve our working relationships.  To help you improve your emails check out this blog I wrote years ago, How to Write a Powerful Email that gets Rapid Results.

Another interesting resource is, 12 Common Work Email Mistakes. 

I believe we all can benefit from remembering the insightful words of Maya Angelou when she said,

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Maya Angelou Quote

Now it’s your turn.

Find an email you sent yesterday where you had to share bad news or try to persuade someone to do something.  Then log on to ChatGPT  and ask it to rewrite your email to be more persuasive and customer focused.  You will be amazed what it generates in seconds.

Stop Spreadsheet Anarchy, Increase End User Adoption of Cognos and IBM Planning Analytics

Stop Spreadsheet Anarchy, Increase End User Adoption of Cognos and IBM Planning Analytics
Stop Spreadsheet Anarchy, Increase End User Adoption of Cognos and IBM Planning Analytics
Written by Heather L. Cole, March 1st, 2023

The number one question I get asked from our IBM Cognos and IBM Planning Analytics customers is, “How can we increase end user adoption of Cognos and IBM Planning Analytics?”  One client made me laugh when they asked, “How do you control spreadsheet anarchy within an organization?  The ongoing trend by some is to grab large amounts of data from multiple published data sources and spin up highly customized versions of existing reports or parts of other reports.”   Spreadsheet Anarchy, what a great way to describe it.  It’s time to stop spreadsheet anarchy and increase end user adoption of Cognos and IBM Planning Analytics.

Today I’ll share a few secrets to increasing end user adoption of Cognos and IBM Planning Analytics.

Listen to End Users Challenges

The first step to solving spreadsheet anarchy is to understand why end users are not using the tools you are providing.  When you stop telling them to use Cognos or Planning Analytics and start listening to their challenges and why they feel the tools are not meeting their needs, you will discover the cause.  In our experience the cause is one or more of the following:

  •  the end users were not properly trained on Cognos or Planning Analytics.
  • clients are on an outdated release and the functionality they seek is in a new release.
  • the data they seek has not been incorporated into Cognos or Planning Analytics.
  • functionality has been restricted by administrators.

Share the WHY!

After you listen to their challenges and why they are using spreadsheets, it’s important to share the WHY.  Why is it important that they use the tools you provide?  Is it that you want to ensure everyone is working from the validated and secured data?  If so, share what happens when decisions are made on bad data.  Is it to eliminate the errors that spreadsheets are prone to having?  We recommend you create a list of why you need your users to standardize and make sure your team knows how to communicate the message.

Engage Users in The Creation (WORKSHOPS)

It’s been long proven that people support and embrace what they create.  A fast way to increase end user adoption is to engage end users in the design and development of the solution.  I know you may be thinking whoa that would be nuts, they don’t know how to create reports or models.  But hear me out, you don’t need them to create the Cognos reports or Planning Analytics models, you need to let them discuss the business goals they are tasked with achieving and the challenges they are facing.  The best way to do this is by hosting workshops.  Workshops can be held live, in person, or virtually via zoom.  If you are not familiar with workshops check out or blog on Discovering Requirements.

Continuous Training of New Functionality

The next step to increase end user adoption of analytics is to provide continuous training.  Do you see that?  CONTINUOUS!  IBM keeps adding new functionality to the software and end users typically only really learn what they need to use at the time.  So, it’s important to provide continuous training and workshop opportunities for your end users.  Consider building a training program internally.  If you need help with training, here’s a link to how Lodestar Solutions can help. 

IBM Infusing AI & Improve Self Reliance

IBM has done a great job of working to help increase end user adoption of Cognos and Planning Analytics as well.  They have done this in a number of ways.

Better In Application Help

Do you remember the day of the Red Books?  They were guides to help you use Cognos.  Or maybe you purchased the big, IBM Cognos TM1 The official Guide, and had it on your desk.  Lugging that around was a good workout. 

IBM Cognos TM1 The official Guide

Today IBM has incorporated the details you need into their in application help and search.  This empowers end users to try new things and feel more confident using the solutions.

Natural Language Processing (NLP)

IBM has incorporated NLP capabilities in Cognos Analytics and Planning Analytics, which enables users to ask questions in natural language (normal words) and get answers in a human-like response.  This allows for more intuitive and user-friendly interactions with the software.

Predictive Analytics

One of the coolest things we are seeing from IBM is the integration of  predictive analytics capabilities into Cognos Analytics and Planning Analytics.  This allows users to forecast trends and identify patterns in data.  This is especially useful for Planning Analytics users that want to leverage the data to forecast out the future.  The result is end users can make more informed decisions and optimize their business strategies.

Cognitive Computing

Did you notice IBM changed the name of their products again?  Cognos is now IBM Cognos Analytics with Watson, and TM1 became Planning Analytics, and is now IBM Planning Analytics with Watson.  Well, it was not just the marketing team being creative.  IBM has incorporated cognitive computing and Watson technologies into Cognos Analytics and Planning Analytics.  This includes the use of machine learning algorithms and other advanced analytics techniques to automate data analysis and decision-making processes.

Intelligent Automation

IBM has introduced greater automation capabilities in Cognos Analytics and Planning Analytics, which allows for the automation of routine data tasks such as data preparation, cleansing, and transformation.  Automation is the key to increasing productivity, so look at where you are spending time doing repetitive tasks and see if you can automate it.  This will give you time to focus on more complex data analysis and strategic decision-making.  (Cognos Automation)

Cognos SDK

For Cognos users the IBM Software Development Kit (SDK) is used to automate many tasks.  But what a lot of users don’t know is IBM includes the Cognos SDK in the Admin license.  This has not always been the case.  You used to need to buy a separate license.  Here’s our very old blog, where we informed everyone of this change. 

The Answer

We can all agree it’s time to stop spreadsheet anarchy and increase end user adoption of Cognos and IBM Planning Analytics.  The first step is to create a Plan that includes engaging with your end users.  I am a huge fan of workshops because they can align the teams and build camaraderie even if done virtually.  Keep an eye out, Lodestar will be sharing more on hosting workshops soon.

If you are on an old release of Planning Analytics or Cognos, it’s probably time to upgrade.  Lodestar solutions can help you plan your upgrade and provide technical services and training for your team.  For more information email services@lodestarsolutions.com.

AI and Analytic Success Requires a Culture Change

AI and Analytic Success Requires a Culture Change
AI and Analytic Success Requires a Culture Change
Written by Heather L. Cole, February 23rd, 2023

Analytics and Artificial intelligence (AI) adoption has been on the rise in recent years as companies have recognized the potential benefits they can offer.  From automating tasks to analyzing data and improving decision-making, AI & Analytics has the power to transform businesses and maybe even the world. However, despite the promise of AI, many corporations struggle to adopt it.  Today, we'll explore some stories of AI adoption in corporations, how AI and Analytic Success Requires a Culture Change, and how to change the culture to foster a more Analytic and AI-friendly environment.

Story 1: The Unsuccessful Implementation

Let’s look at Company A that decided to implement AI to improve its customer service.  The goal was to use AI to respond to customer inquiries and reduce the workload on customer service representatives.  However, the implementation was unsuccessful.  The AI was unable to understand the context of customer inquiries, leading to inaccurate responses that frustrated customers.  Not exactly the outcome they were looking to achieve.

Why it Failed.

The company had a culture that valued efficiency over quality.  This led the organization and its people to focus on implementing AI quickly rather than ensuring it was effective.  AI requires some trial and error.  AI needs to be fed with information so it can learn.  But most importantly, the failure was attributed to the company's culture.  Because the culture valued speed over quality, they did not assign the right resources and lacked the necessary expertise to implement AI properly.  They didn't have data scientists or machine learning engineers on staff, so the implementation was left to non-experts who lacked the necessary knowledge and experience.

Story 2: The Successful Implementation

Company B decided that they needed to improve their marketing efforts by leveraging AI.  The goal was to use AI to analyze customer data and identify patterns that would allow them to tailor marketing campaigns to specific customer segments.  After proper scoping the AI was able to predict customer behavior and preferences with high accuracy, leading to more effective marketing campaigns, which resulted in more revenue.

Why they Succeeded.

The culture in Company B was very different than A.  The culture valued innovation and experimentation, leading to a willingness to try new things, including AI.  The leadership had already created a strong foundation building a data culture, with data-driven decision-making ingrained in its processes.  So, when they decided to leverage AI, the company had the necessary data and expertise to implement AI properly. 

Changing the Culture to Foster Analytics and AI Adoption

The successful implementation of Analytics and AI requires a culture that supports it.  Here are some tips for changing the culture to foster AI adoption:

Learn the Steps for Making Change Work

Have you ever noticed that some companies create a new initiative every 2 years, only to scrap it and rebrand a new initiative?  Organizations that try to make a massive change and fail, often have leaders that don’t follow the framework for implementing Change.  Yes, there’s a framework for that.  At Lodestar Solutions we have developed a 9-step framework for Leaders who want to become Analytic Leaders to follow.  (To learn more, join our webinar on Feb 28th Noon- 1:30 PM Eastern here’s the link to register.) 

Failed Step - Urgency

As an executive coach the step I see executives and organizations miss most often and maybe one of the most important steps is to create a sense of urgency.  Status Quo is comfortable.  But changing a culture to be data-driven, to leverage analytics and AI, is not comfortable for most people.  They fear they will lose their jobs.  They fear failing and looking stupid.  So, it’s safer to drag their feet, and not take the bold actions required for success.  But when leaders create a sense of urgency and share the WHY leveraging Analytics and AI is so important, it can create a movement.

Invest in Training Your Team

When people are not trained, they will be fearful.  For many employees, especially us Gen Xers or older, technology can be scary.  By developing a training program where everyone is exposed to technology, data, and even design thinking, you can create a culture that values data and data-driven decision making.  At Lodestar Solutions we even train all team members in SCRUM methodologies to help projects succeed.

Hire the Right People

Although it’s important to make sure you have team members that have a background in data science and machine learning to implement AI properly, these resources can be hard to find and costly.  At Lodestar Solutions, we believe hiring people with an ability and desire to learn is critical.  We also believe that hiring for attitude is another key to success.  We highly recommend the book Hiring for Attitude by Mark Murphy.

If you are looking to hire, check out our earlier blog, Why You Aren’t Attracting Analytics Talent. 

Encourage Experimentation

Encourage employees to experiment with new technologies and ideas, including AI.  Creating workshops and training opportunities for your teams can help promote curiosity.  When you host workshops try to have a mix of team members from various departments to encourage cross functional ideas.  Ideally you will use an agile method so that short sprints will encourage experimentation and flexibility to change the course.  Here’s a blog we wrote about the benefits of a SCRUM method. 

In conclusion, AI and Analytic Success Requires a Culture Change.  This does not happen overnight, and it doesn’t happen because an executive said, “we are now going to be a data-driven organization”.  AI and Analytic success comes when you focus on empowering your people, hiring the right people, leading by example, and letting people learn.  Analytics and AI adoption can be challenging, but it has the potential to transform businesses.  By changing the culture to foster Analytics and AI adoption, companies can reap the benefits of this powerful technology.  But Executives or all areas need to learn to become analytic leaders.

Want to Learn More? 

 Join Us.
Creating An Analytic Culture Webinar

Feb 28th Noon- 1:30 PM Eastern

Here’s the link to register or scan the QR code above. 

Digital Hive and Content Hub Explained

Digital Hive and Content Hub Explained
Digital Hive and Content Hub Explained
Written by Mike Bernaiche, February 16th, 2023

In today’s digital age, businesses need to manage an increasing amount of digital content.  This includes not just images, videos, and documents, but also social media posts, blogs, and other types of digital assets.  To keep up with this demand, businesses are turning to digital asset management (DAM) solutions to organize, store, and distribute their content.  Two popular DAM solutions are Digital Hive and Content Hub.

In this blog, we will explore what Digital Hive and Content Hub platforms offer and their features.

Digital Hive:

Digital Hive is a cloud-based DAM solution that provides a central repository for all types of digital assets.  It enables businesses to easily store, manage, and distribute their content to various channels.  Digital Hive has a simple user interface that allows users to easily search and retrieve content.  Digital hive is a no code environment and very easy to use and format to your specific needs.  Honestly, one of the best products I have explored in years!  Check out Digital Hive for more information.

Digital Hive’s Key Features Include:

  1. Asset Management: Digital Hive allows businesses to easily manage their digital assets in one central location, providing a single source of truth for all content.
  2. Collaboration: Digital Hive enables teams to collaborate on content, allowing them to share and work on assets together in real-time.
  3. Distribution: Digital Hive provides tools for businesses to distribute their content to various channels, such as websites, social media, and mobile apps.
  4. Analytics: Digital Hive provides insights into how content is being used and its performance, allowing businesses to optimize their content strategy.

You can utilize Digital Hive to bring together content from many sources.  These include Cognos Analytics, Planning Analytics, PowerBi, Tableau, Qlik, Salesforce and many more. 

Content Hub:

Content Hub is a content management platform that provides businesses with a central location for their digital content.  It provides an interface for managing and distributing content across various channels.  Content Hub’s user-friendly interface makes it easy to find and manage content, allowing businesses to streamline their content creation and distribution processes.  Content Hub is part of the IBM Catalog of Analytics Enterprise.

Content Hub’s Key Features Include:

  1. Asset Management: Content Hub provides a central repository for all types of digital assets, making it easy to manage and organize content.
  2. Workflow Automation: Content Hub provides automation tools that help streamline content creation and distribution processes, saving businesses time and resources.
  3. Collaboration: Content Hub enables teams to collaborate on content creation and distribution, ensuring that everyone is working together towards the same goal.
  4. Analytics: Content Hub provides insights into how content is being used and its performance, allowing businesses to optimize their content strategy.

You can find info on Content Hub here

What you Must Know:

If Digital Hive and Content Hub sound the same, it is because they are.  Content Hub is Digital Hive, labeled for IBM.  An important difference is in the licensing and that is explained below.

Digital Hive – No license user restriction or product restriction.

IBM Analytics Content Hub – Requires 1000 users and licensing for both Cognos Analytics and Planning Analytics.

Also, you may ask, do I need multiple BI tools to utilize Digital Hive?  The answer is no.  Obviously, if you have multiple BI tools the power of Digital Hive speaks for itself.  Even if you own just 1 or maybe 2, a single point of entry with all the features this product offers can help end user adoption and a single source of the truth in data.

Digital hive and Content Hub


Digital Hive and Content Hub are two popular DAM solutions that help businesses manage their digital assets.  When choosing a DAM solution, it’s important to consider your business needs and requirements to ensure you choose the best solution for your organization.

Lodestar is here to guide you through the process.  Reach out to us at services@lodestarsolutions.com to schedule a short call to discuss your situation, plan for a demo and help you work through Digital Hive and Content Hub.  Trust me, you want to see a demo and I promise you will be blown away by what you can do with these products.

One last thing.  Have you ever wondered what content is being used and how valuable it is to the end user?  Yeah, Digital Hive can provide that info as well!  Reach out to us for a demo today!

Docker Support – Every Planning Analytics Customer Must Read

Planning Analytics Workspace
Planning Analytics Workspace
Written by Mike Bernaiche, January 10th, 2023

If you own Planning Analytics and use Planning Analytics Workspace (PAw) on Microsoft servers, you most likely have Docker installed.  Docker is required to run PAw in windows server environments.  Recently Microsoft sold Docker to Mirantis and Docker is now called Mirantis Runtime Engine. This change has brought some potential issues for Planning Analytics clients.  Please read below for all the information you need regarding this change and potential ways to overcome this change.

Mirantis Runtime Engine


Previously when you installed Paw, the IBM install executable simply checked for a version of Docker and called the MS install script if Docker wasn't found. This was based on installing in a windows environment. 

Currently, if you are installing PAw for the first time you need to get the Docker install files directly from Mirantis.  This started with PAw 2.0.78, released in July 2022.

If you are running PAw in a Linux environment, Docker is not required, and this doesn’t apply to your environment.

What the Future Holds

Starting on April 30, 2023, Mirantis will assume support for Mirantis Runtime Engine (formerly Docker Engine) from Microsoft.  Mirantis will then directly provide all support, defect fixes, and security patches.  While you have a couple of months before this change takes place, you should start the planning process today.

This change impacts the ability of IBM Planning Analytics on-premises customers to download Mirantis Runtime Engine.  Mirantis Runtime Engine is required to deploy Planning Analytics Workspace on Windows Server 2016 and 2019.


Microsoft Server Environments

As mentioned above, if you are running Microsoft Server 2016 or 2019 you may want to plan for support of Docker (Mirantis Runtime Engine) through Mirantis. 

Existing customers would need to purchase if they want updated versions or support from Mirantis. Security (future vulnerabilities being identified in Docker) will likely be the motivating factor for updates.  You can find more information at the here.  In short, there will be an annual cost to keep support.  

Linux Environments

Linux environments do not require Docker or Mirantis Runtime Engine. 

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 deployments do not require Mirantis Runtime Engine as Podman is used as the container runtime.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 continues to support the version of Docker Engine that it packages with the RHEL7 extras package.

Other environments such as Ubuntu do not require Docker or Mirantis Runtime Engine. 

IBM Planning Analytics SaaS Environments

This change does not impact Planning Analytics on Cloud customers, or Red Hat OpenShift based deployments of Planning Analytics Workspace on-premises.


  •  Take the risk and not purchase support and continue to run PAw as you have.  You would not have access to any updates or security patches, if needed.  This would be my least favorable option.
  • Contact Mirantis to purchase support if you are required to stay on Microsoft servers.
  • Consider moving your PAw deployment to a Linux based server like Red Hat or Ubuntu.
  • Consider moving your licensing to IBM PA on cloud (PA SaaS).

Lodestar solutions is here to help you through this process.  Please reach out to us at services@lodestarsolutions.com to schedule a brief call to discuss your situation and allow us to help you will the best path forward.  We can help move Paw to Linux servers or can discuss your current licensing to see if a move to the PA cloud makes sense for you.  Whatever your situation and each client will be different, and we are here and ready to help! 

For the latest on Planning Analytics Workspace, you can check out some of our recent blog posts here.

Why Hiring a Chief Analytics Officer Might Slow Down Analytics Adoption

Why Hiring a Chief Analytics Officer Might Slow Down Analytics Adoption
Why Hiring a Chief Analytics Officer Might Slow Down Analytics Adoption
Written by Heather L. Cole, February 2nd, 2023

I was WRONG!  GULP!  Wow that’s hard to say but I am afraid it might be true!  For years I have been preaching that to get momentum in your analytics you needed to commit to the initiative and hire team members focused on analytics and ideally hire a Chief Analytics Officer.  But I have changed my mind.  I now believe for many companies hiring a Chief Analytics Officer might slow down Analytics Adoption.

A Chief Analytics Officer (CAO) is a high-level executive position responsible for overseeing an organization's data analytics strategy.  While the appointment of a CAO can bring many benefits to an organization, it can also lead to slowing down the analytics process.  In this blog, we'll explore some of the reasons why a CAO can slow down analytics.

Departmental Accountability:

For analytics to flourish in an organization it must follow the adage, “for the people by the people”.  Every department needs to be part of the solution.  They must help define where analytics can solve pressing business problems in their areas.  The entire organization needs to embrace an Analytic Culture and work together to become data driven.  When a Chief Analytics Officer is hired and leads an analytic department, other departments often decide analytics is not their problem.  Finance, Marketing, HR... all need to be accountable for being part of the solution.  But, when there is a department in charge of analytics, they no longer feel they need to be accountable.   Without all departments committed to and accountable for their role in analytics, analytics success will be significantly slower and harder to achieve.


The appointment of a CAO often brings with it a layer of bureaucracy that can slow down the analytics process.  CAOs often must navigate multiple stakeholders, conflicting priorities, and navigate organizational politics, all of which can take time and slow down the analytics process.  Furthermore, if the CAO came from outside of the organization which many do, they may not have the influence needed to succeed.

Focus on compliance and security:

CAOs are also responsible for ensuring that the organization's data analytics processes are compliant with regulations and secure.  This can often mean that the CAO has to put security and compliance measures in place, which can slow down the analytics process.  It a fine balance between security data and distributing data for analytic use.  Meanwhile departments are looking for information rapidly, and if they feel the CAO is just slowing them down, they may not provide the collaboration required to properly discover and define departmental requirements.

Chief Accounting Officers are often tasked with driving change within an organization.  However, change can often meet resistance, especially when it involves processes that have been in place for a long time. This can slow down the speed of analytics as the CAO has to navigate the resistance and get everyone on board.  If CAO’s are not trained in influence, persuasion, negotiation, and facilitation they may face change resistant departments.

To learn more, see our blog Facilitating Analytic Discovery for Success 

Have you given up on the vision of being a data driven organization

Changing to an Analytic Culture:

To really succeed in analytics an organization must make the changes necessary to convert the culture to embrace data and analytics.  The first step is to define what data driven means.  According to Scott Castle in his Forbes blog, Rise Of The Analytical ExecutiveData Driven means “implementing a hypothesis-driven culture where we identify theories, test them, and rigorously seek to disprove them while rapidly implementing those that show promise.” 

So, then the question shifts to how does a Chief Analytics Officer get an entire organization to take an almost scientific approach and embrace being wrong?  According to Gartner in their article Create a Data-Driven Culture by Influencing 3 Areas, leaders must inspire people to believe that change is necessary.  

I believe, this is not a one-person job!  Inspiring people requires people to trust you, believe in your vision, and believe they will benefit from the changes.   This requires all leaders in the organization to be on board and become analytic leaders, not just the CAO.  For more information on what makes an Analytic Leader, see our recent blog, 7 Traits of Analytics Leaders.


Join us on Thursday, Feb 16th, 2023, from 1-4 PM Eastern for our Creating an Analytic Culture 3 Hour Workshop!  This is a Get **it Done, interactive workshop.  Learn more here.

Or just register at ENROLL NOW!

What’s New in Planning Analytics Workspace 83

New in Planning Analytics Workspace 83
New in Planning Analytics Workspace 83
Written by Mike Bernaiche, January 26th 2023

It is a new year and IBM has released the first update to Planning Analytics, Planning Analytics Workspace 83.  This is not a huge update, but there are a few things included that I wanted to make you aware of.  Reminder that updates to Planning Analytics Workspace are cumulative. This means that if you are on version 71, for example, you can upgrade to version 83 without having to install 72 73, 74, etc.  On to the changes!

New in Books and Reporting

Set Default Background Color in Tabs – You now can set background color for all tabs in a workspace.  Any new tabs will have the default background color.  You can, however, select a different color for individual tabs.

Set Default Background Color in Tabs in PAw83

Customize Styling for Repeat Column and Row Titles – Formatting properties for repeat columns and rows are located in their own section in properties.

Customize Styling for Repeat Column and Row Titles in PAw83

New Properties in Bubble and Scatter Visualizations – several new properties were introduced in Planning Analytics Workspace 83.

  • Enable Zoom Bar - The zoom bar allows for horizontal and vertical scrolling in bubble and scatter visualizations.  You can now enable the zoom bar in bubble and scatter visualizations to scroll and focus on a smaller area of the visualization.
Enable Zoom Bar in Planning Analytics Workspace 83
  • Bubble Size Limits - You can specify bubble size limits in bubble and scatter visualizations in the Chart section under Properties.  In bubble visualizations, you can specify the minimum and maximum values for the bubble size. Bubbles for values that are below the minimum size appear as the minimum size, while bubbles for values that are above the maximum size appear as the maximum size.
Bubble Size Limits in Planning Analytics Workspace 83
  • Show Item Values and Axis Grid Lines - Two new properties, show item value grid lines and show item value grid lines, have replaced the show grid lines property in bubble and scatter visualizations.  These new properties now let you show or hide item value and axis value grid lines independently of each other.
Show Item Values and Axis Grid Lines in PAw83

New Properties in Line and Column Charts –

  • Enable Zoom Bar – This works the same way as above in the bubble and scatter charts.
  • Formatting Options for Column Value and Point Value Labels - You can format column value labels and point value labels in line and column visualizations.  Value labels can now display as values or percentages of a category or color.
Formatting Options for Column Value and Point Value Labels in PAw83
  • Alignment Position for Zero - In line and column visualizations, you can control whether the line and column sections have zero in the same position with the new Align axes zero property.
Alignment Position for Zero in PAw83
  • Change Line Width - You can now change the line width in line and column visualizations by specifying the thickness of the line.  By default, the line width is set to 2 px.
Change Line Width in PAw83

Depreciation Notice – Planning Analytics Workspace 83

Starting in Planning Analytics Workspace 84, the classic dimension editor will not be available in the modeling workbench.  All dimension creation and maintenance in the modeling workbench must be performed in the new experience dimension editor.  The new experience dimension editor was introduced on the modeling workbench in Planning Analytics Workspace version 82.


There you have it, everything new in Planning Analytics Workspace 83.  If you missed my other blogs on new features in previous versions, I’m providing links below for you to read.  Over the past year, IBM has added a ton of features and enhancements to Planning Analytics Workspace.  If you have any questions or want to discuss upgrading, please reach out at services@lodestarsolutions.com.

For a complete listing direct from IBM, please visit What's new in Planning Analytics Workspace.

Links to Blogs -

7 Traits of Analytic Leaders

7 Traits of Analytic Leaders
7 Traits of Analytic Leaders
Written by Heather L. Cole, January 19th 2023

Almost every organization is striving to be data driven.  Companies are working hard to create a culture that embraces analytics.  Unfortunately, many companies are expecting their BI and analytics team to lead this initiative.  But what they are missing is that companies with a culture for analytics have ANALYTIC LEADERSHIP!  So today we will cover the seven traits of Analytic Leaders. 

What Is An Analytic Leader?

Analytic leaders are executives who rely heavily on data and analysis to make decisions.  They are often seen as logical and methodical thinkers, who are able to take a step back and look at the big picture while also focusing on the details.  Here are some of the key traits that define analytic leaders:

Strategic Thinking:

Analytic leaders are able to think strategically, considering long-term goals and objectives while also taking into account current resources and constraints.  They are able to identify patterns and trends in data and use this information to make informed decisions that will help the organization achieve its goals.

Attention to Detail:

Analytic leaders pay close attention to details and are able to identify important information that others might miss.  They are able to dig deep into data and find insights that can be used to improve the organization.

Critical Thinking:

Analytic leaders are able to think critically and objectively, considering multiple perspectives and evaluating evidence to make decisions.  They are able to separate fact from fiction and identify what is truly important.


Analytic leaders are natural problem-solvers.  They are able to identify problems, gather and analyze data, and come up with solutions that are both effective and efficient.


Analytic leaders are able to communicate complex information and ideas in a clear and concise manner, making it easy for others to understand.  They are able to explain the reasoning behind their decisions and the data that supports them, making it easy for others to buy-in and support their decisions.


Analytic leaders are able to adapt to changing circumstances and are comfortable working with uncertainty.  They are able to pivot and change course when necessary, making sure they stay on course to achieve their goals.


Analytic leaders are able to lead and inspire others, fostering a culture of data driven decision-making throughout the organization.  They are able to build strong teams and create an environment where everyone is encouraged to think critically and share their ideas.

What to learn more?  Check out a few other great resources on this topic.

In Summary

Analytic leadership is essential to success.  Analytic Leaders are a valuable asset to any organization. They are able to make data driven decisions that are strategic, logical, and effective.  They are able to think critically and objectively, identify problems and come up with solutions.  They are able to communicate complex ideas and lead and inspire others.  Companies that have analytic leaders in the executive ranks are more likely to be successful in today's data driven world.  But to become an analytic leader you must learn the skills necessary to inspire a cultural shift, be a role model and lead the organization. 

Over the next few weeks Lodestar Solutions will be sharing valuable insights on how to become the spark that gives your organization what it needs to succeed in the data driven world. Find all our blogs here.