Surrounding Yourself for Success! – Part 1 of 2

Surrounding Yourself for Success - Part 1
Surrounding Yourself for Success - Part 1
Written by Heather L. Cole, December 2nd 2022

Can you believe it’s December 2022 already?  This week I celebrated my birthday by sitting on the beach and chillaxing with my husband, Gary.  Taking time out is essential to be a high performer and it allows for reflection and goal setting.  I decided this is the year!  This is the year I’ll make an even bigger difference in the world of Performance Management and Analytics!  But for me to achieve my goal, there is one extremely important step I must take!  This one step can change one’s life!  The step is SURROUNDING YOURSELF FOR SUCCESS!

What Does Surrounding Yourself for Success Mean?

Think about your biggest accomplishment.  Who was by your side?  Or who was in front of you leading the way?  Maybe they were behind you pushing you to achieve your vision.  In my life I have found that ALL my achievements had someone that somehow cheered me on!

The cheerleaders were employees and team members that were in the trenches with me, they were family members, and even strangers, but there was always someone.  So, what I have learned is that surrounding yourself for success starts with surrounding myself with the right people.  I believe there are 4 main categories of people that help me reach success faster.  However there have been times that I found myself in the company of people that not only were not my cheerleaders, but they held me back. Some people are even toxic. So, let’s explore these four categories.  It’s important to note that all these categories are important.  If you are significantly lacking in one, it could slow down your success.

But I also want to challenge you to do a little reflection on your situation.  Are you surrounding yourself with the right people… Is it time to level up?

Surround success

Leadership/Mentors

The first category is Leadership and Mentors.  This could be your boss or another leader in your organization, or it could be a mentor or trusted advisor, even a coach you hire.  These are individuals that aren’t just your manager, but they take an interest in your success, hopefully in all areas of your life.  They will ask you the tough questions and should help you become strategic about your actions and future. 

In my life these have not been my bosses, but I have found when I have hired the right coach or joined the right mastermind, it’s like getting in the express lane.  My goals get achieved faster without as much challenge.  Do you have the right coaches, and leaders in your life?  If you are thinking about a career change, I encourage you to not just look at the company and the job but are there leaders within the organization you would benefit from having in your circle?

Team/Co-Workers

The second category of people I put in my circle of success are team members and co-workers.  These are not necessarily just people in the company I work in but can be people working on a project with me.  When we have teams that have a common goal and work effectively, we will be successful.  Unfortunately, we see all too often that teams are put together without consideration of how the personalities will meld.  Organizations just look for skills and knowledge, and then wonder why projects fail. 

In the world of business analytics, I see organizations hiring people just because they know Cognos, or Power BI or IBM Planning Analytics and they fail to look at the most important component, ATTITUDE!

What I have discovered is that many hiring managers fail to define their core values for their team and then find people that have those core values and attitudes.   

When I first took the time to define the core values for our Lodestar Solutions Team and then evaluated our team members it was like lightning struck!  My struggles were because I had a few team members that did not have the right cores values or attitude for our goals.  This epiphany caused me to act.  I immediately talked to the team members in question and helped them find jobs elsewhere that was a better fit for them.  

If you are looking to learn more about building your team and hiring top talent join us for our upcoming webinar.

Tackling the Top 3 Performance Management and Budgeting Struggles: Talent, Time and Tech

Monday, December 12, 2022 10-11AM Eastern

Registration Link

Next week we will address the two other categories in the Circle of Success. 

Lodestar Solutions is Thankful!

Lodestar Solutions is Thankful
Lodestar Solutions is Thankful
Written by Lodestar Solutions, November 23rd 2022

Every year we gather around the table with our family and friends and give thanks for all that we have. This year the Lodestar team has so much to thankful for, and below is just a little piece from each of us at Lodestar Solutions.

Heather Cole

Many of you that follow me, know I do “what’s my number” and “3 gratefuls” every day.  But at Thanksgiving I like to look back at the year to give thanks.  This year there is so much to be thankful for, but I’ll list a few of the top

1. My family – Without them I would not be whom I am today.  My 80 something parents are doing well and very active, especially mom the pickleball champion.  My husband Gary is extremely supportive of my crazy goals and makes me laugh every day.  And I can’t leave out the boys, our two golden retrievers that emit their super chill vibe.  But more importantly they have my back.  I always know in good or bad my family will be there.  This is so important because without their safety net, I would not have the courage to try new things, take bigger risks and be willing and able to fail.  Guess you could say I fail because of my family and that’s a good thing.

Louie and Oz
“You are the Average of the Five People You Spend the Most Time With” - Jim Rohn

2. The Lodestar Team – I am so thankful for our amazing Lodestar Team and Partners.  Their energy and commitment to serving our clients are unsurpassed.  Their positivity infects all our clients and makes work fun.  According to Jim Rohn, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”  And I am grateful I get to spend my time with the Lodestar Solutions team and clients.

3. Finally, I am grateful for Mother Nature.  Although she can show her furry, she provides such amazing events and views.  I cherish her imagination and creativity as often as I can.  Watching her spell bounding sunsets and sunrises, climbing her majestic peaks, or witnessing the first snowfall energize me.  When I am stressed, upset or just feeling down, I go outside take a hike and immediately feel better.  Mother Nature seems to put everything in perspective.  I just wish more of us could respect and honor her more. 

So, I guess you could say I am thankful for FAMILY across the board.  My immediate family, the Lodestar Solutions Family and Mama Nature, all inspire me, challenge me, and most of all make me feel grateful!

Mike Bernaiche

As I inch close to that magic birthday of 50 years old, I find myself thinking about things vastly different than I did even just a few years ago.  As I think about things, I also find myself being thankful for more and thinking about trivial things less.  When you boil it down, I’m really thankful for so much but here are the top things I’m thankful for this year.

1. Family – I have an amazing family and wife that I cherish every day.  Casey is an incredible wife and mother.  Our kids are all adults now, with 2 in college and 1 who entered the work world after graduating college last year.  Yes, we are basically empty nesters now.  While that is strange, I’m so very thankful our kids are doing well, and our relationships are incredibly strong. My parents and in-laws are getting older, and I appreciate all the time we get to spend together.  Finally, my dogs are aging as well and I’m thankful I work from home and get to spend time with them each day.

2. Health – As I mentioned, I’m approaching 50 this year and my health is generally good.  Yes, I take a statin for cholesterol and had that “wonderful” test you get when you approach this age.  Folks, go get a colonoscopy, it is so important and can identify something that is so treatable if caught early.  Overall, my family is healthy.  What I’m most thankful for in this category is that someone chose to give the gift of life through organ donation.  My mother-in-law was in kidney failure and through someone’s tragic loss, she received a new kidney almost a year ago and is doing really well.  I know this is an individual decision and I encourage everyone to make it known if you wish to be an organ donor and save a life.

3. Lodestar – Having a job that keeps you fulfilled and gives you purpose is a blessing.  I enjoy the daily grind of work and it is because of the people I work with every day, both internal and external.  Really Lodestar could be categorized under family, because that is how much I care about the people I work with. 

I wish each of you a very thankful Thanksgiving and a wonderful holiday season!

Christina Vandeveer

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.” Psalm 107:1.

1. Faith - I know that my blessings come from my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and I am so thankful for his goodness in my life. I’m thankful for my church family that supports me and my little family.

2. Family - This year has flown by.  Navigating life with 3 boys, now 5 and under has been well….insane!  However, I know the days are long, but the years are short.  Our boys are Lucas (5), Cooper (4) and Hunter (18 months).  I am so blessed to have such a supportive family that partners with me to raise our boys.  And I couldn’t do any of this without my hard-working hubby.  One of the things I appreciate the most about him is no matter how long of a day he may have had at work as soon as he walks in the door, he jumps into dad mode.  He truly enjoys doing bedtime with our boys and he rocks at it!  He is never too tired to read them their books at night and hear all about their days. 

3. Friends - The street I live on is called Calvin Ct.  And all of us on the street have named ourselves the, “Calvin Ct. Crew.”  There are 17 kids under 7 that live on the street plus many older siblings.  These people aren’t just my neighbors, they are my friends.  From the constant asking each other what house our kids are at, to the late-night mom time hiding in the hot tub from our kids.  I know these friends have got my back.  They have become my village and I and so grateful for them.

4. Sports!  Did you know my husband and I met through church softball?  It’s such a fun story and I love every detail of how God used softball to bring us together.  But whether it’s playing softball with my husband or going to watch our littles play whatever they are feeling this month, currently it’s basketball and baseball, I love it!  Playing a sport and exercising teach discipline and teamwork and these are so valuable for my kids to learn.

Along with playing softball I am thankful for my local gym that I attend.  I may not make it every day, but the days I do make it are better because of it.  The encouragement and challenge that I receive from the coaches and members makes me a better person and momma.  Whether it’s trying to do the heavier weights or working on my boxing form.  I’m thankful for this consistent positive in my life.

We all have many things we can be thankful for, and those were just a few!  We at Lodestar hope you know that we are thankful for our clients and hope that you have a fantastic holiday with your friends and family!

Top Ten Cognos and Planning Analytics Features in 2022

Top 10 Cognos and Planning Analytics Features in 2022
Top 10 Cognos and Planning Analytics Features in 2022
Written by Mike Bernaiche, November 11th 2022

It is that time of year where you start to see top ten lists of different things.  I thought it would be a good idea to highlight some of my favorite things about Cognos and Planning Analytics in one place and thus provide you my top ten features in Cognos and Planning Analytics in 2022.  Without further delay….  Here are my top ten features in Cognos and Planning Analytics for 2022!

Favorite Features 10 to 7

10. Learn Panel in Cognos and Planning Analytics.  IBM spent considerable resources on the quality and usefulness of documentation on both products.  The learn panel is intuitive, gets you answers quickly and even suggests things to view as you look something up.  It includes webpages, videos, tutorials, and documents.  Let’s say you need to figure out a rule in Planning Analytics or how to set up bursting in Cognos Analytics.  Simply start typing in the learn panel and watch the magic happen.  As you can see below, the results speak for themselves. You can even click on the forum area to get even greater info for a broad user base.

Learn Panel
Learn Panel

9. Insights in Visualization using Analytics Panel in Cognos Analytics.  Insights in visualizations provide analytic insights that can help users to detect and validate any important relationships and meaningful differences based on the data that is presented by the visualization.  The type of insights depends on the displayed data by the visualization.  Available types of insights are Average, Predictive strength, Meaningful Differences, Fit Line, and Most Frequent.  Average provides the mean of the displayed summaries, and most frequent the category or category that appears most often in the data.  The rest of the insights depend on more advanced analytics and statistical tests.  The goal is to provide reliable information that you can use for an enhanced description of the viewed data and discovery of any relationships that are expected to be found in the population that is represented by this data.  This area is new to Cognos Analytics 11.2.3 and I would expect IBM to continue to enhance this area in future releases.

Insights in Visualization using Analytics Panel

8. Explorations in Cognos Analytics.  Explore is a flexible workspace where you can discover and analyze data.  You can also explore an existing visualization from a dashboard or story, uncover hidden relationships and identify patterns that turn your data into insights.  Correlated insights are represented by a green icon with a number on the x-axis, y-axis, or the title of a chart.  Ok that was the technical speak.  Now for my thoughts.  At first, I didn’t really get why explorations could be powerful or why you would even use it.  After spending some time really getting to understand how explorations can work and how much effort IBM has put into improving them, I’m a big fan.  Simple case, select 2 points of your data and let the system tell you what to start to look at.  Pin that information and quickly use it in a dashboard.  Speaking of pins.  This is 8.1 of my favorite things in Cognos Analytics.  Pinning visualizations allows you to save information and use it across Cognos Analytics in a quick and efficient way.

Explorations in Cognos Analytics
Explorations in Cognos Analytics

7. Planning Analytics for Excel (PAFe) in Planning Analytics.  Everyone loves Excel!  With PAfe you can have an excel experience in Planning Analytics while exploring data, reporting or inputting data.  You can create several different items in PAFe.

  •  Explorations – slice and dice your data
  • Static – Create a report that is disconnected from the PA database and send to anyone
  • Dynamic – Create presentation style reports and also create data input files
  • Custom – Start from scratch and build what you want.

By the way, whatever you create in PAFe, you can publish to Planning Analytics Workspace

Planning Analytics for Excel
Planning Analytics for Excel

Favorite Features 6 to 4

6. Data Models and Data Sets in Cognos Analytics.  You can use data modeling in Cognos Analytics to fuse together many sources of data, including relational databases, Hadoop-based technologies, Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, text files, and so on.  Using these sources, a data module is created that can then be used in reports, dashboards, or explorations.  Data sets are customized collections of data items that you use frequently.  As you make updates to the data set, the dashboards, stories, or explorations that use that data set are also updated the next time you run them.  You can create data sets from packages or data modules, and use as sources to create dashboards, stories, explorations, and data modules.

Data Models and Data Sets in Cognos Analytics

5. Navigation Paths and Relative Time in Cognos Analytics.  To expand on your Dashboards and Reports using data models and data sets, use navigation paths and relative time.

  • Navigation Paths – provide a drill up and down feature to your data.  In data models or dashboards simply click on the navigation path area and create your drill path.  Go from Country, to State, to City with clicks of a button in your data and visualizations.
  • Relative Time – with a few clicks of a button create YTD, QTD, MTD, last month, current month and so many more relative time filters in your data to be used across Cognos.
Navigation Paths and Relative Time in Cognos Analytics
Navigation Paths and Relative Time in Cognos Analytics

4. Dashboards in Cognos Analytics.  Dashboards in Cognos Analytics has come a long way over time and especially in the last year.  First, with Cognos Analytics version 11.2.1 the speed to render improved signficantly.  IBM has added in a ton of formatting enhancmenets from colors, fonts and the like.  There are many new visualizations that compete with other BI products available and you can now export the dashboard to a PDF document.  All things considered I believe Cognos Analytics dashboards compete and exceed any BI product available!

Dashboards in Cognos Analytics

The Top 3 Features in Cognos and Planning Analytics for 2022

3. Applications and Plans in Planning Analytics.  Applications and Plans have seen significant enhancements in 2022.  Honestly, Planning Analytics Workspace has improved so much that it is imperative you own it and use it.  More on that shortly.  Back to application and plans.  I wrote a detailed blog on everything new in applications and plans and you can find that here.   Everything written in the blog above is now available as of Planning Analytics Workspace 82 (the most recent version).  In short if you haven’t checked out applications and plans in Planning Analytics, do so now!

Applications and Plans in Planning Analytics

2. AI Assistant in Cognos Analytics.  The AI assistant is game changing for Cognos Analytics.  It has gained so many enhancements over the past year that if you are not using this, you are missing out.  In Cognos Analytics version 11.2.2 and 11.2.3, the AI assistant added in time specific filtering.  Things like:

  •  Show sales this Thursday
  • Show sales between last Monday and last Wednesday
  • Show me sales for camping equipment from June 1-5
  • What is the total income between Halloween and Christmas
  • Show sales for 2021
  • Show October 2021 sales by product
  • YTD, QTD, MTD and abbreviations like Mon for Monday and Thur for Thursday and Xmas for Christmas to narrow your search in the assistant.

Type in “Show quantity between 1/1/20 and 2/29/20” and let the system generate visualizations based on what you typed. 

As you can see, I typed that into the assistant, and it provided the following.

AI Assistant in Cognos Analytics

Now let’s check to make sure it is correct.  I simply created a visualization and filtered on the dates I typed into the AI Assistant.  As you can see the system generated the correct data.

AI Assistant

Finally, my favorite feature in the AI Assistant is the ability to grab a data source and type in “create dashboard’ and watch the magic happen.  The system will create a dashboard with relevant data and then you can pick and choose what you would like to keep by pinning it and then creating other items to complete your dashboard. 

Create Dashboard in the AI Assistant

1. Workspace in Planning Analytics.  Finally, my favorite feature in Cognos and Planning Analytics is Workspace.  IBM has done an excellent job with Workspace in Planning Analytics and I’m going to spend a little time on why you should be using this.  And if you don’t already own it, why you should reach out to us at sales@lodestarsolutions.com to discuss adding this to your license entitlements.

IBM Planning Analytics Workspace is a web-based interface for IBM Planning Analytics with Watson™.  It provides an interface to TM1® data, with ways to plan, create, and analyze your content.

Planning Analytics Workspace helps you focus on the things that matter to your business. Using Planning Analytics Workspace, you can identify and understand patterns and relationships in data.  You can use this information to understand why things happen and predict what might happen. Planning Analytics Workspace opens the world of advanced analytics to all business users.

IBM has spent an enormous amount of time building Workspace to be your A to Z space to build models, input data, analyze data and reports.

Over the past year IBM introduced the Workbench in Workspace.  This is the main area for modelers to create TI processes, dimensions, cubes, rules and everything else you need to build your models.  Those of you who build models in Architect remember having multiple windows open to simply create a cube.  Now with the Workbench you have a flexible space that allows multiple windows open in one place adding great efficiency to the model building task.

Workbench in Workspace

Now that we have talked about the Workbench, let’s spend some time talking about the power of Workspace from a user perspective.  The ability to enter data and create visualizations based on the data that sync with data entry is so powerful.  After data entry the ability to create a dashboard to analyze that data in a visual way brings many insights to your data that were not readily available prior to Workspace.

Planning Analytics Workspace

Trust me when I tell you, if you are not using Workspace or do not have licensing for Workspace, you need to reach out to us today!

Helpful Links and Summary

There it is!  My list of the top ten features in Cognos and Planning Analytics for 2022.  There are so many more great features that didn’t make my top ten list.  However, both Cognos and Planning Analytics have come a long way and are both very impressive offerings from IBM.  Based on the roadmap for both products even more is coming in 2023. 

If you are not on the latest versions and you need help upgrading, reach out to me at services@lodestarsolutions.com.  We have several different offerings to get you upgraded and save you dollars and time.

If you do not own Workspace and would like to learn more reach out to us at sales@lodestarsolutions.com.

For everything new in Cognos Analytics

For everything new in Planning Analytics

What’s New in Planning Analytics Workspace Version 80 and 81

What’s New in Planning Analytics Workspace Version 80 and 81
What’s New in Planning Analytics Workspace Version 80 and 81
Written by Mike Bernaiche, November 3rd 2022

It is that time to discuss what is new in Planning Analytics Workspace version 80 and 81!  Planning Analytics Workspace (PAw) 80 was released in September and version 81 was released at the end of October.  IBM has been releasing updates roughly every 30 days and continues to enhance PAw with many new features.  Please remember, that each update includes all the other fixes and enhancements in previous updates.  If you are on version 70 and install version 81 you will get all the features, enhancements and fixes included in version 71 through 81!  I highly recommend upgrading to Planning Analytics Workspace version 80 and 81.

PAw Version 80

Reporting

Member Unique Names in set editor – you are now able to see member unique names when you hover over members in the available member pane.  A member unique name is used to locate a member in the data source and includes the member name and its ancestry.

Search the Set List in Set Editor – A new search bar lets you search a set list.

Search the Set List in Set Editor

Drag a View to Replace the Current Visualization - You can now drag a cube or a cube view from the data tree onto an existing visualization to replace the visualization.  The visualization updates based on the view you drop.

Zoom Bar is Line, Area and Bar Visualizations - Use the Enable zoom bar property to add the zoom bar to your visualization.  Drag a handle on the bar to zoom and focus on an area in the visualization.  The area of focus changes as you drag the handle.

Modeling

New Experience Set Editor on Modeling Bench - Set editors that are opened or created from the Databases tree on the modeling workbench now use the new experience interface. Previously, the new set editor was available only through the new experience view.  Sets that were opened or created from the Databases tree used the classic interface.

Updated Chore Editor – The chore editor has been updated to Carbon Design.

Updated Reorder Dimensions – The reorder dimension option has been updated to Carbon Design.

Check Feeders in an Exploration on a Modeling Workbench - If a cube contains a rule with SKIPCHECK and FEEDERS statements, you can use the Check Feeders option to check that Planning Analytics properly feeds the components of a consolidation.

Depreciation Notices

Chore editor removed from books, available only on workbenches as of Planning Analytics Workspace 2.0.80 - Starting with Planning Analytics Workspace 2.0.80, chores must be created and edited on a modeling workbench.

Set editor in a widget to be removed from books as of Planning Analytics Workspace 2.0.81 - The ability to add a set editor in a widget from the data tree in Books will be depreciated in Planning Analytics Workspace 2.0.81.  Currently, when you select Edit Set from the data tree, the classic experience set editor opens in a widget.

PAw Version 81

Reporting

Single Cell Widget is now Visualization Type - The single cell widget is now a visualization type and has several new capabilities.  You can create a single cell visualization and convert it to a view (exploration) or another visualization and vice versa.

Single Cell Widget is now Visualization Type

Align Cells and Headers - In explorations, you can align text in data cells and headers either vertically or horizontally.  You can align a row or column of data cells, align a member in row and column headers, and align based on hierarchy.

Applications and Plans

Use Rich Text Formatting in Plan and Application Descriptions -

Use Rich Text Formatting in Plan and Application Descriptions

Task Flow View in Plans – On the plan task tab you can switch between the task list view and task flow view.

Task Flow View in Plans

Modeling

Updated Import Member Procedure - Import members procedure for a dimension has been updated to use Carbon Design.

Snippets in the Process Editor - The process editor in Planning Analytics Workspace provides predefined code snippets that users can insert in the TurboIntegrator process.  To use the snippets, on the Script tab in the process editor, click the snippet icon in the toolbar, as highlighted in the following image.

Administration

Include Plans and Applications when copy and deploy assets with Lifecycle Management.

Depreciation Notices

Set editor in a widget to be removed from books as of Planning Analytics Workspace 2.0.81 - The ability to add a set editor in a widget from the data tree in Books will be depreciated in Planning Analytics Workspace 2.0.81. Currently, when you select Edit set from the data tree, the classic experience set editor opens in a widget.

Summary

Planning Analytics Workspace version 80 and 81 continues to add amazing new features and enhancements to PAw.  I believe it is very important to stay updated on the latest version.  If you want to discuss in more detail or need help with your upgrades reach out to us at services@lodestarsolutions.com.  We have some great update packages to help you stay up to date!

Move to IBM Planning Analytics on Cloud

Move to IBM Planning Analytics on Cloud
Move to IBM Planning Analytics on Cloud
Written by Heather L. Cole, October 27th 2022

Is your IT department too busy to upgrade your IBM Planning Analytics, but you want the amazing new functionality IBM has added to Planning Analytics?  Well maybe it’s time to look at IBM Planning Analytics on the Cloud, which is SaaS (Software as a Service).  With the great resignation, companies on hiring freezes and all the mergers and acquisitions, it’s not uncommon to see IT teams stretched too thin.  By moving to IBM Planning Analytics on Cloud, you can free up IT resources and yet still get your upgrades.  

At Lodestar Solutions we are seeing more clients inquiring about moving IBM Planning Analytics from On-Prem to SaaS, IBM Planning Analytics on Cloud.  So today we will share with you your options and timing for migrating to Planning Analytics on Cloud…  But know with proper planning, it is possible and not hard to Move IBM Planning Analytics from On-prem to SaaS on Cloud.

What is Planning Analytics SaaS

Planning Analytics on Cloud is IBM’s SaaS version of Planning Analytics.  Which means IBM hosts Planning Analytics in their cloud environment and IBM handles most of the technical aspects like upgrades, backups, etc…  Clients don’t have to worry about doing the installations, upgrades, or backups.  IBM does all that for you, freeing up valuable IT resources.

For more details on Planning Analytics Cloud see IBM’s site on Getting Started with Planning Analytics on Cloud

Additionally, you might want to see our earlier blog What You Need to Know When Moving IBM Cognos and Planning Analytics on Cloud. 

How to Move from Planning Analytics On-Prem to SaaS

Licensing Options- 

When you are looking to move to Planning Analytics on Cloud there are a couple different approaches to consider. Typically, the approach is based on the type of licensing and/or size of your current deployment of IBM Planning Analytics.

Enterprise Licensing:

If you are a mid to larger size client on Enterprise Planning Analytics licensing, the option you should explore is the IBM promotion called Cloud Adoption Play (CAP).  This is a promotion that IBM is offering at the time of this blog but is subject to availability.  The Cloud Adoption Play allows you to have dual entitlements of Planning Analytics on Prem and on Cloud for 1 year.  This will cost you a little more then your normal on-prem support renewal but gives you plenty of time to migrate and test the cloud before committing to it. 

At the end of one year, you will have to decide whether you will continue to use Planning Analytics on Cloud or return to on-prem.  When you make the final decision, your renewal will be based on if you choose SaaS/Cloud or on-prem.  But the great news is if you choose to return to on-prem there is no penalty. 

Express Licensing:

If your deployment of Planning Analytics is under 50 users, or you are on the Express licensing model, the Cloud Adoption Play might not make financial sense as it does have minimum requirements.  But don’t worry, Lodestar Solutions and IBM can work with you to determine the best migration path to a SaaS subscription.

In order to understand your unique situation and what the best approach is for you to move to Planning Analytics on Cloud, contact us at Services@lodestarsolutions.com and we will be happy to help you explore your options and timelines.

Creating the Timeline

The first step to moving from IBM Planning Analytics On-Prem to Saas/cloud is to plan your timing.  Determine when your team will be available to move the models and do the testing you will require.  Remember finance teams have certain times of year that are really busy, like year end and you don’t want to overwhelm them.

Enterprise Client –

If the Cloud Adoption Play is the route you are going, then you may want to purchase SaaS at the time of your renewal.  This will be the best value.   But don’t wait until your renewal to start discussing your SaaS plan with Lodestar Solutions or IBM, you will want to start the discussions 3 months before your renewal.

Express Client -

If you are an Express Client and the Cloud Adoption Play does not make financial sense, then it’s important to note that you will want to ensure you have support with IBM for your on-prem Planning Analytics while you move to the cloud.  To save money, you want to review your renewal data as this could impact your timing.

For example, if you know your support renewal expires in March, and you want 3 months to test and migrate to the cloud, we recommend you start your Cloud subscription in January.  This will essentially create 3 months of dual licensing and support.

In order to plan your migration to Planning Analytics on Cloud, contact us at Services@lodestarsolutions.com and we will be happy to help you explore your options and timelines.

Moving your TM1 Planning Analytics Models

Once you have your Planning Analytics on Cloud environment you will need to move a copy of your models to your new cloud environment.  You will want to make sure you set up your users with the proper security and update the connections to your source data sources.

For some of you that don’t currently own Planning Analytics Workspace (PAW), you will want to educate yourself and your team on all the cool new functionality.  Here’s a link to one of our videos on PAW.  

If you would like training on PAW, please reach out to Lodestar services at Services@lodestarsolutions.com and we can discuss your training needs.

Testing

Never skimp on testing.  Make sure your team has plenty of time to fully test your Planning Analytics on Cloud solutions. 

Don’t go it alone!

Lodestar Solutions is here to help you understand your options, evaluate the costs of on-prem verse on cloud and help you successfully Move IBM Planning Analytics on Cloud.  Set up a chat today by emailing us at Services@lodestarsolutions.com.

IBM Cognos and IBM Planning Analytics Price Increase Coming!

IBM Cognos and IBM Planning Analytics Price Increase Coming!
IBM Cognos and IBM Planning Analytics Price Increase Coming!
Written by Heather L. Cole and Mike Bernaiche, October 21st 2022

Inflation is everywhere!  Have you seen the price of eggs lately?  Well, I am sure you will not be surprised that inflation is impacting the technology industry too.  Software costs, support renewal costs and consulting are all rising.  IBM Cognos and Planning Analytics price increase is coming in January 2023.  Unlike the price of eggs that increases every trip to the store IBM has held their prices all year. But that’s about to change!

(Want to learn more about what’s causing this inflation, check out this NY Times article.)

IBM Price Increase

IBM has announced that effective January 1, 2023, that most of their products worldwide will increase 8% with a few countries increasing at a different rate.  See IBM’s recent announcement for your specific country. 

For many of us 8% seems outrageous, but is it?  The Consumer Price Index is around 8.2%.  Pricing all around us from gas, to food, to well everything is increasing.  Even the government is recognizing inflation by increasing social security payments in 2023 by 8.7%.  So, thank you IBM.  An 8% increase by IBM is not that bad. 

Take Action Now!

Budget and Save Money

My goal is to make sure every IBM Cognos and IBM Planning Analytics client knows the 8% price increase is coming.  This should allow you to plan accordingly and make sure your budget for 2023 reflects this increase because your annual software support renewal will reflect the 8% increase.  For some IBM Cognos and Planning Analytics clients that have not reviewed their licensing with an IBM licensing expert recently, there may be ways to reduce your support costs.  At Lodestar Solutions we have helped hundreds of clients save on support by ensuring they are in the correct licensing mix.  Think of it this way, licensing is like a cell phone plan, IBM comes out with new bundles and licensing models periodically.  But, if you don’t ask if you are on the right licensing plan, you might end up paying more than you need to.  (See our blog How to Save Money on Cognos Analytics and Planning Analytics)

If you would like a licensing review with one of our IBM Licensing experts, email Services@lodestarsolutions.com.

Buy Software Now to Save

The second reason I want to sing this from the roof tops is that there is an opportunity!!  If you believe you will need additional licenses of IBM Cognos, IBM Planning Analytics, SPSS or any other IBM products in 2023 you might want to act now!  Many clients Lodestar Solutions’ works with are in acquisition and merger mode.  If this is you, you may need more licenses with your acquisition.  Or maybe you are rolling out new dashboards or planning models and need to add users.

It’s important to know that December is IBM’s end of year, which is always the best time to buy software and the pricing is still at 2022 rates.

NOW IS THE TIME TO BUY SOFTWARE!

Buy Future Year's Support to Save

But let me tell you a little trick!  Often when a client makes a significant purchase, they miss an opportunity to lock in their future year’s support.  How can you lock in support?  If you prepay for 2 years with your purchase, you will reduce the annual uplift and save money. 

Now, I know you are thinking “we don’t want to spend our cash.”  So, consider leveraging IBM Global Financing to purchase your licenses and 2 more years of support.  At Lodestar Solutions, we can help you do the analysis to see what rates you qualify for with IBM Global financing and see if the numbers work to save you money.  (Learn more about IBM Global Financing)

Consulting Rates Increasing Too

I would be remised if I did not also announce that Lodestar Solutions, and most consulting firms are increasing their rates too. 

Over the past year we have done our best to keep prices for our services at the same rates we have had for the last 5+ years. As we mentioned above, costs are rising and as such we will be increasing the price for services approximately 8.5% in 2023. This cost increase will be reflected on Statements of Work created starting Jan 1, 2023.  We hate to do this but to retain our top talent we need to compensate them fairly.

Lodestar Solutions offers many services including:

  • Technical Support – This includes upgrades, installation of new IBM Analytics software, database work, security and much more.
  • Planning Analytics and Cognos Analytics Consulting Including - architecture, modeling, model redesign, end user reporting and dashboard creation.
  • Power BI Consulting – data, creating reports, and visualizations.
  • Training – Cognos Analytics and Planning Analytics training for both the novice and experienced. Including both modeler and end user training.

This is our first consulting price increase in many years, and we strive to show value far above the cost.

Lodestar Value Add -

This is our first consulting price increase in many years, and we strive to show value far above the cost.  One of the benefits that add a ton of value to our clients is our Lodestar Solutions’ Client Only, Quarterly Virtual User Groups. These are live interactive events that allow our clients to network and learn from our other clients.  We record all content and offer our clients access to our library of prior users group sessions.  This allows Lodestar clients to reference our content at any time. If you are a current Lodestar client and have not accessed your library, please reach out to us at services@lodestarsolutions.com and we will help you get access.

Our next user group is scheduled for Nov 15, 2022 (Cognos Analytics) and Nov 17, 2022 (Planning Analytics) at 11am – 2pm est. If you are an active Lodestar client and want to attend but have not received an invitation, please reach out to us at services@lodestarsolutions.com and we will ensure you are on the right list.

In Summary

Unfortunately, a lot of things must happen to slow inflation.  IBM Cognos and Planning Analytics Price Increase is Coming.  We can’t stop that. But we all can plan and take action NOW to SAVE MONEY!  If you would like to discuss your unique situation, email us at sales@lodestarsolutions.com.

Things to Consider for Corporate Budgeting in Uncertain Times (Part 2)

Things to Consider for Corporate Budgeting in Uncertain Times Part 2
Things to Consider for Corporate Budgeting in Uncertain Times Part 2
Written by Heather L. Cole, October 13th, 2022

Budgeting and Planning is even more important in times of uncertainty!  And I think we can all agree that we are in one of those crazy times.  This is a year of extreme uncertainty!  Inflation, supply chain issues, workforce issues, and crazy political unrest in many countries are all creating a budgeting environment we have not seen in decades.  Last week we blogged about things corporations should consider when budgeting for expenses.  This week we will cover Things to Consider for Corporate Budgeting in Uncertain Times and focus on, revenue, the other important component of the Cash Flow and Balance Sheet. 

Revenue Planning

When times get uncertain, and scary, organizations usually tighten their purse strings and look at what expenses can be cut.  But wait, there are two parts to the Profit and Loss statement.  The revenue is a key component to profitability. 

There are only a few ways to increase your revenue. 

  •  Increase prices
  • Sell more to your existing clients
  • Find new clients

But there are additional ways to increase profitability even in uncertain economic times.

Profitability

Losing Clients on Purpose

One way I find interesting is to purposely lose the non-profitable clients.  I was talking to a CFO friend and client of mine a few years back and their industry was in a difficult situation.  Competitors were slashing prices, and it was putting them in jeopardy.  The CFO made a bold decision, after doing the analysis he determined if he increased his prices, he would lose about 20% of his clients.  He believed that the 20% of the clients he would lose were also the high maintenance, non-profitable clients.  At first people thought he was crazy, but they did it.  When they increased prices, they lost a little more than 20% of their clients but their profits soared. 

It's the old Pareto Principle, which states that for many outcomes, roughly 80% of consequences come from 20% of causes, also known as the 80/20 rule.  If you want to learn more about Pareto Principle I think you will find this Entrepreneur article interesting, The 80/20 Rule is True for What’s Holding You Back, Too.

Talk to Key Customers

Don’t just look at expenses and guess at revenue.  Talk to your key customers.  Remember they are facing the same uncertain times you are.  Talking to your customers about their business, their struggles, and their fears, will not only build a stronger relationship but give you clarity on your revenue stream. 

Another advantage to talking to your customers, is that you will also learn if the staff shortages you may be experiencing are jeopardizing your relationship with your customers.  I don’t know about you but recently I have experienced horrible customer service at companies I used to love to patron.  In some cases, I am not going back.  To accurately forecast your revenue, you must evaluate your customer service.  According to a Forbes article, Ninety-Six Percent Of Customers Will Leave You For Bad Customer Service.

The Other Important Statements

Most companies still focus on capital expense, operating expense and revenue in their budgeting and planning cycles.  But in uncertain times it is even more important to not ignore the other statements.  Yes, the cash flow and balance statement.

Typically these statements are viewed at the highest level of the organization but according to the Harvard Business Review article, Setting Your Annual Budget Amid Economic Uncertainty, “Business-unit budgets generally track revenues and costs — items on the income statement — but not cash-flow or balance-sheet items.  The three get tied together at the highest level of the company, but P&L owners should see them, too.  They’re likely to be the first to spot slowing orders, growing inventory, or delayed collections, but they effectively ignore the cost of capital and rarely look to the balance sheet as a source of funds or savings.  As a result, they often miss the broad significance of what they see.”

Lodestar Solutions recommends our IBM Planning Analytics clients redesign their models to incorporate all the financial statements - P&L, Balance Sheet and Cashflow.  But we also recommend monthly and quarterly reviews at the budget unit level to understand where the potential issues lurk. 

Ask Questions at Lower Levels

In the book, Seeing around Corners How to Spot Inflection Points in Business Before They Happen, by Rita McGrath the author discusses how team members at the lower levels often see changes, risks and opportunities first.  We recommend clients get more people involved and ask more questions to thrive in uncertain times.

Having the Right Tools

As a software reseller of IBM Planning Analytic software, I would be remiss if I didn’t remind you that having the right tools for your budgeting and planning process is essential.  I am amazed how many mid-market and large organizations still rely on Excel for their planning and budget process.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Excel, but also appreciate it’s limitations.  One of the things to consider when budgeting in uncertain times is the tool you are using.  If you want flexibility and to be agile in your planning, you need software that helps streamline the modeling and planning processes when budgeting in uncertain times.

LEARN MORE!

If you would like to learn what industry leading tools like IBM Cognos Planning Analytics can do for you, join us on Thursday, Nov 10th, 2022, at 1 PM Eastern for our webinar, Tackling the Top 3 Performance Management and Budgeting Struggles - Talent, Time and Tech.

Tackling the Top 3 Performance Management and Budgeting Struggles - Talent, Time and Tech

Things to Consider for Corporate Budgeting in Uncertain Times

Things to Consider for Corporate Budgeting in Uncertain Times
Things to Consider for Corporate Budgeting in Uncertain Times
October 6th, 2022

It’s that time of year again when most companies are frantically creating their budgets.  But this is not a normal budget year.  This is a year of extreme uncertainty!  Inflation, supply chain issues, workforce issues, crazy politics and unrest in many countries are all creating a budgeting environment we have not seen in decades.  For many in the budgeting and planning world this means late nights, and stress as they try to contort their models to provide the modeling they need in this uncertain world.  So, we thought we would share a few things to consider when budgeting in uncertain times.  First, we will start with expenses and then look at revenue.

What Got You Here Won’t Get You There!

The models or Excel spreadsheets you used last year are probably not designed to handle the questions executives have today!  Companies that use the same templates year after year without updating them for the changes in their industry and world are going to struggle more to gain certainty than those that see around the corners and anticipate changes like interest rates, and inflation.  If your models don’t allow you to do “what if” modeling, well you really need to look at a redesign and maybe even invest in more robust tools. 

If you don’t have flexible models and software that allows for rapid changes, then it’s like you are mowing your acre lawn with a weed whacker.  It can be done, but how long will it take? 

If you want to discuss your current models or want to see the power of an industry leading planning and budgeting system, IBM Planning Analytics/TM1, email us at sales@lodestarsolutions.com.

Change Your Frequency

According to McKinsey in their article, Just-in-time budgeting for a Volatile Economy
A volatile economy makes traditional budgets obsolete before they’re even completed.” 

We agree, many corporations still do the big annual budgeting process that is outdated the day it is approved.  The annual budget process worked in a stable world.  But news flash, we are not in a stable world.  Changing your frequency to quarterly instead of annual or better yet a rolling forecast will allow your budget to be more current.  As the Harvard Business Review article, Three Ways to Bring Flexibility to Your Budget states, “These “just-in-time budgeting” solutions got popular during the 2008–2011 economic crisis but for many were perceived as a temporary fix. Today, with high volatility a permanent feature, it’s time to accept that they’re here to stay.”

At Lodestar Solutions we have been encouraging clients to move to a Rolling Forecast for years.  Here’s a link to my 2016 video Rolling Forecast verse Budgeting – Let it Roll.  This may be more relevant today than it was when I initially presented this at CFO conferences years ago.

Zero Based Budgeting -

We appreciate that taking last year’s actuals and providing them to business units as a starting point for the budget is easier.  However, given the uncertainty and changes in almost every industry, Lodestar Solutions recommends a zero-based budget.  By having budget unit owners start from zero, you will cause them to really think about how their department budget has changed or how it needs to change.  A zero-based budget mentality will allow team members to reflect and understand how the business drives value and where it is lacking.  I am not opposed to providing last year’s actuals, but you really want to encourage people to reflect on changes and anticipate the future.  Unfortunately, I believe inflation and employment challenges will be here for a while.

If you subscribe to the Wall Street Journal, check out Zero-Based Budgeting Gains Clout as a Way for Companies to Find Savings.

Outsourcing Verse In-House

Consulting:

Many companies are dealing with staff shortages in their finance and analytics teams.  This can result in team members bearing the burden of doing the work of two or more people.  This can cause them to start considering their options.  This is one of several factors that cause companies to take a closer look at what functions are handled internally vs externally.  If you are like many clients and you have experienced attrition during the great resignation, you know how difficult it is to find talent.  When you find talent, they are very expensive.  These increased labor costs may motivate your organization to think maybe instead of hiring we should outsource.  This is a valid question, but it’s important to note that the consulting firms are having the same talent pool challenges.  Therefore, we want to remind everyone that in your budget, you need to include an increase in consulting fees.  We are seeing inflationary increases in almost every service industry so make sure you are increasing your professional service fees, including IBM Cognos and IBM Planning Analytics consulting.  Everyone is raising their rates! 

Software as a Service:

Another option to consider when you are faced with staff shortages, especially in IT is to consider moving more software applications to a hosted or Software as a Service (SaaS) model.  When you have SaaS your IT department typically does not have to allocate internal resources for patches, upgrades, backups… 

SaaS is a good option if your IT resources are limited.  Additionally, many SaaS structures like IBM Cognos’ structure allow you to add more users for a short period of time. 

Take IBM Planning Analytics on Cloud (SaaS).  Let’s say throughout the year you need 100 users in the system but during budget cycles you need 100 additional users for only 3 months.  You will pay a small upcharge for users not originally contracted for the year, but you could end up paying only for three months for the budget season users.  The result is you have more control over your expenses and therefore cashflow.  For more info on what you need to know when moving to the IBM cloud, see our blog, What You Need to Know When Moving IBM Cognos and Planning Analytics on Cloud

If you are an IBM Cognos or Planning Analytics client and would like to explore an outsourced model where your power user is a consultant contact use at services@lodestarsolutions.com.

Having the Right Tools

As a software reseller of IBM Planning Analytic software, I would be remiss if I didn’t remind you that having the right tools for your budgeting and planning process is essential.  I am amazed how many mid-market and large organizations still rely on Excel for their planning and budget process.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Excel, but also appreciate it’s limitations.  One of the things to consider when budgeting in uncertain times is the tool you are using.  If you want flexibility and to be agile in your planning, you need software that helps streamline the modeling and planning processes.  

LEARN MORE:

Tackling the Top 3 Performance Management and Budgeting Struggles - Talent, Time and Tech

If you would like to learn what industry leading tools like IBM Cognos Planning Analytics can do for you, join us on Thursday Nov 10, 2022, at 1 PM Eastern for our webinar Tackling the Top 3 Performance Management and Budgeting Struggles - Talent, Time and Tech.

New in Planning Analytics Workspace 79

New in Planning Analytics Workspace 79
New in Planning Analytics Workspace 79
Written by Mike Bernaiche, September 15th 2022

On September 1, 2022, IBM released Planning Analytics Workspace 79 or 2.0.79.  There are a number of enhancements, especially within the applications and plans area in this update.  I wrote and spoke about this in a prior blog post titled, What is Coming in Applications and Plans.  Well in Planning Analytics Workspace 79, we now have a lot of what is coming.  Please read below for more details.

Latest versions of Planning Analytics Components.  We highly recommend staying up to date on versions for all the fixes contained in the below link.

  • Planning Analytics Workspace – 2.0.79
  • Planning Analytics for Excel – 2.0.80
  • Planning Analytics TM1 Web – 2.0.79
  • Planning Analytics Server – 2.0.9.14

For all fixes in each component of Planning Analytics please see below link.
IBM Planning Analytics 2.0 Fix Lists

Applications and Plans

  •  Track and report on plan progress with the new Overview Report.  You can view a plan  oriented report on the progress of your plan in Planning Analytics Workspace 79. 
  • The Overview Report contains 3 main areas:
  1. Timeline - The Timeline panel shows the status of tasks within a plan against a timeline, which can be configured to show either months or weeks.
  2. Contributions - The Contributions panel provides details for individual contributions in a plan.
  3. Plan Progress - The Plan Progress panel displays progress for all contributions and for individual tasks in a plan.
Applications and Plans in Planning Analytics Workspace 79
Contributions in Planning Analytics Workspace 79
Plan Progess in Planning Analytics Workspace 79
  • Send email reminders to contributors of a plan.  You can now send an email reminder to plan contributors from the Contributions panel of the Overview report.
Email Reminders in Planning Analytics Workspace 79
  • Set task dependencies to automate plans.  You can now automatically open a task upon completion of one or more dependent tasks.  When you create or edit a task, use the Task Dependency option on the Task Details tab to set the dependencies.
Set Task Dependencies in Planning Analytics Workspace 79
Dependencies in Planning Analytics Workspace 79
  • Set a task start and end date  
Task Start and End Date in Workspace 79

Cloud Enhancements

  • Planning Analytics Workspace Classic no longer available on Cloud 2.0.79 – guidance was previously given that in 2.0.79 the classic workspace was no longer available.
  • Features and Configurations Tiles – Separated into two tabs now in the administrator area to make your experience easier.
  • Configure an Inactivity Timeout on cloud – previously this was set to 60 minutes.  You are now able to set as you see fit.

Miscellaneous Enhancements

  • Process editor only available on Workbench – Starting in Planning Analytics Workspace 79, the process editor is only available on the Workbench.
  • Use new interface to manage chores in a specific process – simplifies chore management by presenting two distinct options when you open the context menu for a process in the Databases tree: Edit related chores and remove from chores.
  • Select multiple variables in process editor - You can now select multiple variables in the process editor.  When multiple variables are selected, you can apply any option on the selected variables bar to multiple variables simultaneously.
Multiple Variables in Planning Analytics Workspace 79
  • Apply formatting to an axis in a visualization 
Formatting in Planning Analytics Workspace 79
  • Wrap text in data cells – you can now format string values in a data cell to wrap text.
  • Chore Editor to only be available on the Workbench in Planning Analytics 81.

Summary

Well, there you have it!  Everything that is new in Planning Analytics Workspace 79.  Applications and Plans provides a ton of enhancements and if you are using this, you should look to upgrade as soon as possible to take advantage of these great new features.  IBM continues to update Planning Analytics bringing a ton of new functionality to make your planning experience industry best.  If you want to discuss an upgrade or see a demo of the latest and greatest, please reach out to us at services@lodestarsolutions.com.

New in Cognos Analytics 11.2.3

What's New in Cognos Analytics 11.2.3
Written by Mike Bernaiche, September 8th, 2022

At the end of August 2022, IBM released Cognos Analytics 11.2.3.  There is a lot to unpack in the release as IBM has been hard at work enhancing Cognos Analytics.  Below you will find all the details of what is new, what has changed and what has been removed.  As always, if you have any questions or want to discuss an upgrade please reach out to us at services@lodestarsoltuins.com.

Feature Updates

  • Integrations with Microsoft Teams - Much like Slack integration of past versions, IBM Cognos Analytics 11.2.3 now supports Teams integration.  Share dashboard and report content along with messages in Teams. Please note, your company must be using the Microsoft 365 developer program with an E5 subscription.
  • Use the up down arrows – utilize the up and down arrows to move through certain menus and content areas.  Previous versions only supported the tab button.
  • Full page property view – view properties for an item in full screen view.
  • Context sensitive search – define the context of your search and see only items in that context, also a new tab that shows all search results.

Assistant

  • Enhanced Time Filtering – The Assistant now understands even more time related searches.  Use text like YTD, QTD, MTD and abbreviations like Mon for Monday and Thur for Thursday and Xmas for Christmas to narrow you search in the assistant.

Dashboards

  • Insights and Forecast on New Analytics Panel – Open the Analytics Panel to turn on or off insights and forecast.
  • Create a multivariant Forecast – You can now add in optional data points to take into account in your forecast in Cognos Analytics 11.2.3.  For more information check out this link, Creating a multivariate forecast - IBM Documentation.
Dashboards in Cogons 11.2.3
Dashboards in Cognos 11.2.3 v2
  • Enhanced Forecasting with the Watson Core Time Series Library - Using the Watson Core Time - Series Library increases the prediction accuracy of the forecasts and allows the use of multiple seasons (or nested seasons).  Time series that have regular repeating cycles can be modeled with a seasonal component.
  • Embedded Dashboard in Microsoft Teams - In Microsoft Teams, you can add a tab with an embedded dashboard from an external Cognos Analytics environment.  On any platform, Teams users can then perform interactive analyses of the dashboard without having to log in to Cognos Analytics themselves.
  • Cascading Filters – There is a lot to unpack in Cascading Filters.  Check out this excellent link from IBM.  Cascading filters - IBM Documentation
  • New Bar Visualization –

The bar chart includes the following value label formats:

  •  Value and percentage of category – two values in the value label
  • Value and percentage of color – two values in the value label    
  • Value delta of target
  • Percentage delta of target
New Bar Visualization in Cognos Analytics 11.2.3
  • New Area Visualization – a new gradient option on the area chart.
New Area Visualization in Cognos Analytics 11.2.3
  • Tree map Visualizations Enhancements - Leaf labels in treemap visualizations can now be shown as value, item, or both.
  • Area and Line Visualization Enhancements – A property has been added to handle null values in a better way.
  • Display Multiple Measures on Rows Instead of Columns in a Crosstab.

For all dashboard enhancements check out this link. Dashboards - IBM Documentation

Explorations

Explorations has been enhanced with the following.  For complete details see the dashboard section as these are the same.

  •  Insights and Forecasts in New Analytics Panel
  • Enhanced Time Forecast with Watson Core Time Series Library
  • Multi Variant Forecasting

Reporting

  • Controlling Drill Through Behavior when Context Filters are used - You can change the default package-based drill-through behavior in Cognos® Analytics - Reporting when using context filters.
  • New Treemap Visualization – as discussed above under Dashboards.
  • New Properties for Bubble and Scatter Charts – The new properties allow you to specify the border width color, and size of bubbles, minimum and maximum size of bubbles, and label rotation.

For a complete list of Reporting enhancements check out this link. Reporting - IBM Documentation

Other Enhancements

Depreciated or Removed

In Cognos Analytics 11.2.3 the following is not supported:

  • Windows 8 and 8.1
  • Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS) 7.5
  • IBM InfoSphere Information Server 11.3 and 11.5
  • Microsoft .NET Framework 4.0
  • IBM Connections
  • Mozilla Firefox ESR 68 and ESR 78
  • Adobe Reader XI and DC
  • FileNet Content Manager 5.2

Removed Data Source Connectors

As of release 11.2.3, connectors for several types of data sources are removed from IBM Cognos Analytics with Watson.  If you have existing connections to these data source types, they will no longer work.

Connectors are removed for these data source types:

  • IBM Weather Company
  • TM1
  • IBM Planning Analytics versions prior to 2.0.6
  • Microsoft Analysis Services (OLEDB) versions prior to SQL Server 2016 Service Pack 2

Depreciated Data Source Connections

In a future version of Cognos Analytics, support will be removed for the following data source connections:

  1. Planning Analytics 2.0.6 - 2.0.8
  2. Snowflake prior to 3.10
  3. Oracle Database 11g and 12c
  • Oracle Database 11g Standard Edition Release 2
  • Oracle Database 11g Enterprise Edition Release 2
  • Oracle Database 12c Release 2 (12.2) Standard Edition
  • Oracle Database 12c Release 2 (12.2) Enterprise Edition
  • Oracle Database 12c Release 1 (12.1.0.0.0) Enterprise Edition
  • Oracle Database 12c Release 1 (12.1.0.0.0) Standard Edition
  • Oracle Database 12c Release 1 (12.1.0.1.0) Standard Edition

4. IBM Db2 Server 10.5

  • IBM Db2 Advanced Enterprise Server Edition 10.5
  • Db2 Express Server Edition 10.5
  • DB2 Workgroup Server Edition 10.5
  • DB2 Enterprise Server Edition 10.5
  • DB2 Advanced Workgroup Server Edition 10.5

5. Essbase

Supported Versions of Cognos Analytics from IBM

Reminder that Cognos Analytics version 11.0.x end of support was in September of 2021.  Cognos Analytics 11.1.7 is the long-term support version and we HIGHLY recommend you are on that version or later.  What happens when you are on an older unsupported version?  Well in a few words, you will be asked to upgrade to a latest supported version and will not receive support directly from IBM.

Summary

As you can see Cognos Analytics 11.2.3 offers a lot of new features and enhancements.  Schedule your upgrade now with us at services@lodestarsolutions.com.  We would also be happy to schedule a demo with you to see if this version is right for you!

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