Elevate Your Analytics: Why You Should Upgrade to Cognos Analytics 12

Elevate Your Analytics: Why You Should Upgrade to Cognos Analytics 12
Elevate Your Analytics: Why You Should Upgrade to Cognos Analytics 12
Written by Mike Bernaiche, September 13th, 2023

With the release of Cognos Analytics 12 in June 2023, IBM has taken a product with a long history and redefined what business intelligence means.  In the fast-paced world of business intelligence, staying ahead of the curve is essential for making data-driven decisions that drive success. For years, IBM Cognos Analytics has been a reliable companion for organizations seeking powerful insights, and with the release of Cognos Analytics 12, the benefits have reached new heights. If you're still contemplating whether to upgrade, this blog will delve deeper into compelling reasons why you should make the leap to Cognos Analytics 12.

Modern and Intuitive User Experience

Modern and Intuitive User Experience in CA 12

One of the standout features of Cognos Analytics 12 is its sleek and intuitive user interface. The redesign goes beyond aesthetics; it offers a streamlined and contemporary look, making it easier for both novice and experienced users to navigate and work with data. This modernization enhances the overall user experience, boosting productivity and reducing the learning curve, enabling your team to make quicker, more informed decisions. Start anywhere, go anywhere is the way forward.  Utilizing the new welcome page where the Assistant is front and center, makes getting started easier than ever.

Enhanced Data Visualization

Enhanced Data Visualization in CA 12

Data visualization is at the heart of any effective business intelligence tool, and Cognos Analytics 12 takes this to a new level. With advanced charting options, improved data storytelling capabilities, and more interactive dashboards, you can now transform your raw data into compelling visual narratives. This upgrade enables your organization to communicate insights more effectively and engage stakeholders with data-driven stories, making your data more impactful than ever before.  With 36 modern visualizations included with the product plus the ability to add custom visualizations, Cognos Analytics 12 is a visualization powerhouse.

AI-Powered Insights

AI-Powered Insights in CA 12

Cognos Analytics 12 harnesses the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to help you unearth hidden trends and patterns in your data. The AI-driven features provide smart recommendations, automated data preparation, and predictive analytics, empowering users to make data-driven decisions with confidence. It's like having a data scientist at your fingertips, helping you extract actionable insights effortlessly. This AI integration not only saves time but also opens new avenues for data analysis.

Scalability and Performance

As your organization grows, so does the volume of data you need to analyze. Cognos Analytics 12 is built for scalability, ensuring it can handle large datasets and complex analytics without compromising on performance. Whether you have a small team or an enterprise-level organization, this upgrade will support your data needs today and in the future. You can scale your data analytics as your business expands without worrying about bottlenecks or slowdowns.

Integration Capabilities

Seamless integration with other data sources and systems is crucial for a comprehensive business intelligence solution. Cognos Analytics 12 offers enhanced integration capabilities, making it easier to connect to various data sources, such as cloud-based services, data warehouses, and external databases. This means you can centralize your data and access a unified view of your organization's information, breaking down silos and enabling cross-functional analysis.

Enhanced Data Governance and Security

Data governance and security are paramount in the age of data privacy regulations and cyber threats. Cognos Analytics 12 includes robust features for data governance, allowing you to define and enforce data policies, monitor data usage, and ensure compliance. Enhanced security measures protect your sensitive data from unauthorized access, giving you peace of mind when handling critical information. With data breaches on the rise, investing in a secure solution is non-negotiable.  Be secure in the knowledge that your data is safe and governed, while your users are analyzing a single source of the truth.

Collaboration and Sharing

Collaboration is key to fostering a data-driven culture within your organization. Cognos Analytics 12 offers improved collaboration tools, allowing teams to work together seamlessly. Users can share insights, reports, and dashboards easily, facilitating knowledge sharing and decision-making across the organization. Whether your teams are in the same office or spread across the globe, this level of collaboration ensures that insights are accessible to everyone who needs them.  With integrations for Slack and Microsoft Teams, collaboration and sharing have never been so easy. 

Call to Action - Upgrade Now to Cognos Analytics 12

What are you waiting for?  If you are looking to upgrade your existing Cognos Analytics environment reach out to us at services@lodestarsolutions.com today!  We have excellent upgrade bundles that save you time and money and more importantly, give you the power of Cognos Analytics 12.  If you are on Cognos Analytics 11.1.7 or an earlier version, you need to upgrade today.  Support will soon run out on all versions prior to 11.2.  Now is a great time to plan your upgrade.  Reach out to us for our upgrade checklist to make this process easy and efficient.  You can read here about the end of support for 11.1.7.  


In a world where data is the lifeblood of modern businesses, upgrading to Cognos Analytics 12 is not just a smart move; it's a strategic imperative. With its modern user interface, AI-powered insights, scalability, and enhanced security, this latest version is designed to meet the evolving demands of the business intelligence landscape. Don't miss out on the opportunity to empower your team with the tools they need to extract valuable insights from your data and drive success. Upgrade to Cognos Analytics 12 today and stay ahead of the competition. Elevate your business intelligence, and the results will speak for themselves.

Still not convinced you need to upgrade? Check out our Cognos Analytics 12 Demo!

For those reading this that are involved in your business's planning and budgeting process.  Register for the next big event. 

The Pain of Outgrowing Excel Midmarket CFOs Discover Relief with IBM Planning Analytics

Unleashing Business Insights: A Comparison of Cognos Analytics and Power BI

Elevate Your Analytics Game Power BI vs. Cognos Analytics - Unraveling the Differences
Written by Mike Bernaiche, August 24th, 2023

Cognos Analytics and Power BI are two prominent names in the realm of data analytics and visualization, each offering unique features and capabilities. In the era of data-driven decision-making, organizations rely heavily on business intelligence tools to extract actionable insights from their data. In this blog post, we'll dive into the world of Cognos Analytics and Power BI, comparing their strengths, features, and benefits. We are also hosting a live webinar unraveling the differences of Cognos Analytics and Power BI on Thursday, September 7, 2023, at 2pm Eastern.  You can register by scanning the QR code below or clicking this link.

Cognos Analytics vs Power BI Event
Elevate Your Analytics Game Power BI vs. Cognos Analytics - Unraveling the Differences

Cognos Analytics: Empowering Sophisticated Analytics

Cognos Analytics, developed by IBM, is a robust business intelligence platform designed to help organizations uncover deeper insights and make data-driven decisions. With its comprehensive suite of features, Cognos Analytics offers a powerful solution for businesses looking to harness the full potential of their data.

Key Features of Cognos Analytics:

  1. Advanced Analytics: Cognos Analytics provides advanced analytics capabilities, including predictive analytics and machine learning integration, enabling users to uncover hidden patterns and trends within their data.
  2. Data Modeling: The platform offers sophisticated data modeling tools that allow users to create complex data relationships and calculations, providing a deeper understanding of the data landscape.
  3. Enterprise Reporting: Cognos Analytics excels in creating highly formatted, pixel-perfect reports suitable for corporate reporting, financial statements, and compliance-related documents.
  4. Scalability: It's well-suited for large enterprises with complex data environments, offering scalability to handle extensive datasets and accommodate diverse user needs.
  5. Data Governance: Cognos Analytics places emphasis on data governance and security, making it an appealing choice for industries with strict regulatory requirements.

Power BI: Empowering Intuitive Data Visualization

Power BI, a Microsoft product, is known for its user-friendly interface and robust data visualization capabilities. It's designed to democratize data analytics, enabling users across all levels of an organization to create, share, and collaborate on insights.

Key Features of Power BI:

  1. User-Friendly Interface: Power BI's intuitive drag-and-drop interface allows users to create interactive visualizations and reports without the need for extensive technical skills.
  2. Data Connectivity: The platform seamlessly integrates with various data sources, including Excel, cloud services like Azure, and popular databases, making data consolidation effortless.
  3. Visual Exploration: Power BI offers a vast library of pre-built visualizations and custom visuals, allowing users to present data creatively and explore insights through dynamic dashboards.
  4. Natural Language Querying: Power BI's natural language query feature allows users to ask questions in plain language and receive visualized answers, making data exploration even more accessible.
  5. Collaboration: Power BI supports easy sharing and collaboration, enabling teams to work together on reports and dashboards in real-time, and fostering cross-functional insights.


Certainly, there are some common myths and misconceptions associated with both Cognos Analytics and Power BI. Let's debunk a few of these myths:

Myths about Cognos Analytics:

  1. Cognos is Only for Large Enterprises: While Cognos Analytics is known for its robust features that cater to complex enterprise needs, it is also suitable for small and medium-sized businesses. It offers various editions and deployment options to cater to different organizational sizes.
  2. Cognos is Too Complex for Business Users: While Cognos Analytics does offer advanced capabilities, it also provides user-friendly interfaces and tools that enable business users to create their own reports and dashboards without deep technical expertise.
  3. Cognos is Only for IT Professionals: While IT professionals often play a role in setting up and managing Cognos environments, the tool is designed to empower business users to create, customize, and access their own reports and visualizations.
  4. Cognos Lacks Modern Visualization: Cognos Analytics has evolved over time to include modern visualization options that allow for interactive and visually appealing dashboards, similar to other contemporary BI tools.

Myths about Power BI:

  1. Power BI is Only for Microsoft Users: While Power BI integrates seamlessly with Microsoft products, it supports a wide range of data sources and can be used on various platforms, making it accessible to users across different ecosystems.
  2. Power BI is Only for Small Data: Power BI can handle both small and large datasets effectively. With features like DirectQuery and data compression, it can handle substantial volumes of data without sacrificing performance.
  3. Power BI is Only a Visualization Tool: While Power BI is renowned for its data visualization capabilities, it also offers powerful data transformation, modeling, and analysis functionalities, making it a comprehensive end-to-end BI solution.
  4. Power BI is Not Secure: Power BI offers robust security features, including role-based access control, row-level security, and data encryption, to ensure that sensitive data remains protected.

It's important to dispel these myths to make informed decisions about choosing the right BI tool for your organization. Both Cognos Analytics and Power BI have evolved to meet the needs of various users and organizations, and understanding their capabilities and limitations can help you utilize them effectively.  Join on us on Thursday, September 7, 2023, at 2pm Eastern where we take a deeper dive into the strengths and weaknesses and further dispel these myths.  Which is better?  Cognos Analytics or Power BI?


Both Cognos Analytics and Power BI bring immense value to the table when it comes to data analytics and visualization. Cognos Analytics shines with its advanced analytics capabilities and suitability for large enterprises with complex data needs. On the other hand, Power BI's user-friendly interface, extensive data connectivity, and emphasis on democratizing data analytics make it an excellent choice for organizations aiming to empower users at all skill levels.

Ultimately, the choice between Cognos Analytics and Power BI depends on factors such as your organization's size, data complexity, technical expertise, and desired level of user accessibility. Regardless of your decision, both platforms are essential tools in the journey toward making data-driven decisions that lead to business success.

To learn more please reach out to us at services@lodestarsolutions.com.

And be sure to check out Lodestars' recent blog on Cognos Analytics 12

Welcome to Cognos Analytics 12

Welcome to Cognos Analytics 12
Welcome to Cognos Analytics 12
Written by Mike Bernaiche, June 8th, 2023

It is here!  Cognos Analytics 12 was released on June 6, 2023.  As you can imagine there is a lot to unpack with this latest major release from IBM.  The key points to this update include:

  • Increased productivity with AI-driven self-service analytics. Answers will be shown as both charts and NLG narrative insights, so even first-time users can get the most out of their data.
  • Enhanced performance for instantly responsive dashboards. New caching technology enables instant feedback in dashboards when filtering and interacting, without having to wait for more queries to run.
  • Build dashboards quickly with the new guided UI.  Get started using your data to create a dashboard, either data from a spreadsheet that you upload or your governed enterprise data.

Now that we have covered the highlights, let’s dive into the details.

General Updates

  • Welcome Page Updates – The welcome page has been redesigned to put AI and self-service at the forefront.  Start quicker and easier with the new welcome page.
Welcome Page in Cognos Analytics 12
  • Custom Tabs in Content View – Previous to Cognos Analytics 12, administrators could only add one extra tab to this view.  Now administrators can add multiple folders to this view.
  • Support for Fuzzy Search – now searching lists results that closely match your search, not exactly.
  • Enhancements to Embedded Reports in Microsoft Teams - If you are using the Microsoft Teams Web application, you can now log in to your embedded report or dashboard using your IBM ID.  A new link in your embedded report or dashboard tab in Microsoft Teams allows you to open Cognos Analytics in a new browser window.
  • Interactive Performance Assistant (IPA) – Report and dashboard authors can now gather statistics on performance.
  • New Videos on Cognos Analytics 12 – please see link for all available videos. 


There are many enhancements to the Assistant, hitting on 1 of the key highlights of Cognos Analytics 12.

  • Design and Usability Improvements – The assistant is now more intuitive and guided for the end user making self-service easier and quicker.
Design and Usability Improvements in Cognos Analytics 12
  • Open the Assistant from Anywhere – You can now open the Assistant from the Home page.  Previously you could only open from Reports, Dashboards, and Explorations.
  • Select Your Data Source - You can quickly set the context for the Assistant by clicking Select Source to select a data source. The name of the data source then displays in the Assistant.
Select Your Data Source in Cognos Analytics 12
  • Expand to Full Screen
  • Clear Chat and Reset Data Source
  • Natural Language Improvements to Assistant - The Assistant now understands comparatives and additional filters.  You can also associate a term with a field name so that the Associate recognizes the term to be a synonymous word for the field name.


  • How do marketing costs for the last two years compare?
  • What is the difference in marketing costs between the last two years?
  • Compare the average ticket of Store A and Store B
  • What city has an average ticket above 90,000?
  • Which product has the highest revenue today?
  • Which product has the worst NPS Score?
  • View Narrative Insights in Assistant - The Assistant displays narrative insights automatically when it renders a chart or a visualization.  Any filters in the chart are also applied to the insights.
View Narrative Insights in Assistant in Cognos Analytics 12

You can also ask the Assistant to show you narrative insights without a chart by using commands such as:

  •  show insights for <column name>
  • explain <column name>
  • analyze <column name>
  • Share Visualizations from Assistant - A new share option in the Assistant allows you to select a visualization that was returned by the Assistant in response to your question and share it via Email, Microsoft Team, or Slack.  Your administrator must configure a mail server and/or a collaboration platform before you can use this feature.
Share Visualizations from Assistant in cognos analytics 12
  • Create a Simple Dashboard from Assistant – Previously you could only create a full dashboard from the assistant.  Now in Cognos Analytics 12, you can create a simple 1 visualization from the Assistant and then build around that visualization.
  • Embed Assistant on any Webpage or Web Application - The Assistant is now embeddable using the Cognos URL in an iFrame.  With this feature, you can embed an Assistant text field in your web page or web application and interact with the Assistant.  To embed the Assistant, use the following Cognos URL in an iFrame:
    https://<cognos server>:<port>/bi/?perspective=assistant


There are a few updates to dashboards and one of them is a big one!  Who doesn’t want a dashboard that loads and filters in less than a second?

  • Configuration of Local Cache - Dashboard authors can now configure specific data to be cached locally.  This helps them to optimize the performance of their dashboard's widgets.  Click here to learn more about this. 
  • Statistical Details for Multi Variant Forecast - When the dashboard is in Edit mode, select a visualization that has Forecast enabled.  From the Analytics icon, click See Statistical Details to view the statistical details on the forecasting results.
  • Nested Dashboards 
Nested Dashboards in Cognos Analytics 12


  • Define Default Parameters in a Report - Reporting now includes the functionality to define default parameter values in a report. The values can be specified as a static text, a report expression, or a data item with a corresponding query.
  • Range Values Based on Expression for Date Control –
Range Values Based on Expression for Date Control
  • Quick Links to Report Objects
Quick Links to Report Objects in Cognos Analytics 12

Deprecated and Removed Features in Cognos Analytics 12

The following components are removed from Cognos Analytics:

  •  Query Studio
  • Analysis Studio
  • Cognos Workspace


WOW, lots of enhancements in Cognos Analytics 12.  As of this writing, we are downloading and installing and will provide an update once I have had time to get my hands on the product.  Just reading what has been added and seeing videos from IBM, I’m really looking forward to this release.  Self-service and AI are the key additions that I know many customers have been asking for.  Would you like a live demo of Cognos Analytics 12?  Reach out to us at services@lodestarsolutions.com to set something up.

There are a number of changes to administration and you can find everything new in Cognos Analytics 12 here

There are also a few known issues and you can read about those here.

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!

New in Cognos Analytics 11.2.4 – Important Information!

New in Cognos Analytics 11.2.4
New in Cognos Analytics 11.2.4

In December 2022, IBM released Cognos Analytics 11.2.4. There are several efficiency enhancements, changes, and some very important information on future releases.  Please read below for all the important information. 

In summary Cognos Analytics 11.2.4 provides the following:

  •  Query engine performance improvements
  • Microsoft™ Teams integration for Cognos reports
  • Data source support
  • Capability to render maps in PDF and Excel
  • Natural language generation in dashboards
  • Themes support for toolbar colors

Now on to the details of these additions and more!

Long Term Support

IBM Cognos Analytics 11.2.4 is a long-term support release (LTSR) and provides standard support for a minimum of two years with an available one-year extended support option to provide coverage for a total of three years minimum.  IBM provides defect corrections, security patches, and select conformance updates on Cognos Analytics 11.2.4 as needed during the supported period.

Why is this important?  Cognos Analytics 11.1.7 was the previous LTSR and with this release the new LTSR is Cognos Analytics 11.2.4.  This means that you should start to make plans to upgrade from any version prior to 11.2.4 soon.  At a minimum, you should be on version 11.1.7 today.

Cognos Analytics 11.2.4

Legacy Studios

Cognos Analytics 11.2.4 (LTSR) is the final release that includes IBM Cognos Query Studio, IBM Cognos Analysis Studio, and IBM Cognos Workspace.  Support for Cognos Query Studio, Cognos Analysis Studio, and Cognos Workspace will not be continued after the current release.

What does this mean?  You will still have support and availability of Query Studio, Analysis Studio and Cognos Workspace on version 11.2.4.  Once you upgrade past 11.2.4, support will NOT be available through IBM and the studios will not be available in Cognos Analytics.  I highly suggest you start planning to upgrade to Cognos Analytics 11.2.4, however, I also suggest you start to make a plan for the above studios to go away.  How does that change what you do today and what can we do to help you through this transition?  Reach out to us at services@lodestarsolutions.com to start these discussions.

Hardware and Software Requirements

Something we don’t highlight enough are the requirements for Cognos Analytics.  IBM provides links to each of these requirements, and I suggest from time to time, clicking on this link to read the latest and verify your set up.  

We can also help you through this by reaching out to us at services@lodestarsolutions.com.

Ok, on to the enhancements and product changes in Cognos Analytics 11.2.4.


Support for Assistant capabilities on data sources - The Use Assistant capability can now be set at the source level.  Previously, capability to use the Assistant was set at the user level.  When the Use Assistant capability is enabled on a source, you can interact with the source in the Assistant and ask questions or create a visualization or dashboard.

When you open the assistant panel, the source is set to the active data source that is in Dashboard or Explore, depending on which component you open the assistant panel from.  If you do not have Use Assistant capability for the source, you might be prompted to select a source before you can proceed. If you do not have Use Assistant capability on a specific source, when you enter Show source <source name>, the Assistant displays a message indicating that the package cannot be used.


Narrative Insights - Narrative Insights derive and leverage data from outside the visualization (such as by using other measures, categories, or time dimensions) to explain or highlight potential drivers, underlying causes, or further breakdown data.  These are different from insights that were released in Cognos Analytics 11.1.3.  The new auto-generated narrative insights are in natural language, making it easier to read and understand these insights.  Think explorations inside a dashboard visualization.

Narrative Insights in Dashboards

Zoom Levels on Dashboard Canvas -

Zoom Levels on Dashboard Canvas
Zoom Levels on Dashboard Canvas2

Zoom Bar – the zoom bar in now in bubble, line, column and scatter charts.  You can use this bar to zoom in on individual visualizaitons and drive deeper insights.

Bubble Size Limits – you can now spicify the minimun and maximun size on bubble charts.

Alignment position for zero in line and column charts - In line and column visualizations, you can control whether or not the line and column sections have zero in the same position.

Handleing missing values in line visualizations – you can specify how missing values are now handled in line visualizaitons.

Data Labels in Visualizations - You can show value labels in line visualizations and line and column visualizations so that the data values are clearer.


New VIDA Image Service - A new service, VIDA Image Service, is introduced in Cognos Analytics 11.2.4.  This service allows Cognos Analytics reports to render maps and other visualizations into PDF and Excel formats.  In previous releases, these visualizations were available only in HTML format.

VIDA Image Service supports these chart types:

  • Map (Tiledmap using MapBox API)
  • Donut
  • Treemap
  • Bullet
  • Marimekko

To learn about installing the VIDA image service please click here

Embedded Reports in Microsoft Teams – you can now add a tab within teams to embed a Cognos Analytics Report.

Bulk Conversion of Query and Analysis Reports - Convert a group object of type query (Query Studio report) or analysis (Analysis Studio report) to objects of type report.  This supports the deprecation of Query Studio and Analysis Studio and allows you to migrate your analysis and query content to Cognos Analytics Reporting.

Bulk Conversion of Query and Analysis Reports

For instruction on how to accomplish this please see this link.  

Trend Lines in Bubble and Scatter Visualizaitons - You can apply a trendline to the X- and Y-axis data items in bubble and scatter visualizations.  Apply trendlines to X- and Y-axis data items to illustrate trends in those specific items, typically when charting predictions.

PDF Drill Behavior - Drill-through behavior in PDF reports is changed to work similarly as in Cognos® Analytics 11.1.7.  In Cognos Analytics 11.1.7 and earlier versions, PDF drill through was supported only in Internet Explorer, using Adobe Acrobat Reader.  Acrobat Reader provided a mechanism that allowed for generation of self-contained PDFs where the drill-through information was encapsulated in the PDF. Drill-through links worked as long as the PDF was viewed in Acrobat Reader.

Starting in Cognos Analytics 11.2.0, PDF drill through became available in all supported browsers and their respective PDF viewers. Because some of the viewers don't provide the same functionality as Acrobat Reader, the PDF output needed to be saved in Cognos Analytics for the drill-through links to work.

For cases where the PDF output is not saved in Cognos Analytics, a change is delivered in this release (11.2.4) that allows the drill-through links to work like they did in Cognos Analytics 11.1.7: in self-contained PDF reports that can be viewed in Adobe Acrobat Reader. The drill-through links don't work if the PDF report is opened outside of Cognos Analytics, in a viewer other than Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Downloaded PDF reports can be opened in any PDF viewer. However, drill-through links work only in the following situations:

  • The downloaded PDF report is viewed in Adobe Acrobat Reader.
  • The report output is saved in Cognos Analytics, such as when running a report in the background and selecting the Save Delivery option.


Dynamic Source Override - Data modules can be dynamically redirected to different data server connections, schemas, or catalogs at run time.

Convert and Relink Option Available for All Types of Tables - The Convert and relink option is now available for all types of referenced tables, including the except, intersect, join, union, and SQL-based tables.

Current_date Sesison Parameter added for Dynamic Query Mode


There are serval additions and changes for administrators.  For all that information please see this link. 


There is a lot going on with Cognos Analytics 11.2.4 and we are here to help!  Please reach out to us at services@lodestarsolutions.com and let our experts help you with this transition.  As mentioned earlier, please start to plan for upgrading to Cognos Analytics 11.2.4 and beyond.  Especially with the Query and Analysis studio announcement, planning is even more important.

2023 Lodestar Solutions Services

2023 Lodestar Solutions Services
2023 Lodestar Solutions Services
Written by Mike Bernaiche, December 23rd, 2022

Lodestar Solutions Services team is ready to help in 2023!  I wanted to take a minute and provide details on everything Lodestar Solutions Services team offers.  Whether it is a big project or small, redesign or upgrades, we can deliver on all of your needs for Cognos and Planning Analytics.  We even provide consulting on Power BI!  Plus, with our partner network and addon products, we can help take your analytics initiatives to the next level!  Please reach out to us at services@lodestarsolutions.com to discuss your needs and let us put a plan in place to take your analytics to the next level.

Technical Services – Installations and Upgrades

At Lodestar Solutions Services, we can handle all your installs and upgrades on:

  •  Planning Analytics
  • Cognos Analytics
  • Cognos Planning
  • Cognos Controller
  • ILMT
  • Data Connections to IBM SaaS offerings

Our technical expert has over 15 years of experience on IBM Analytics products and can perform the upgrade on their own or work with your team to guide your internal resources on a successful install or upgrade.  Over the years we have performed hundreds of installs or upgrades on IBM products and we are here to help you be successful!

We offer upgrade bundles that can save you time and money on your install or upgrade and provide extra technical support hours for those pesky issues that come up from time to time.

Planning Analytics Services

Lodestar has a vast array of Planning Analytics Consultants that can handle the smallest project to the very large and complex.  Utilizing best practices and the newest technology that Planning Analytics has to offer so we ensure all your Planning Analytics needs are exceeded.  Lately, we have been performing model redesigns to utilize some of the newer features in Planning Analytics, like virtual hierarchies.  Maybe you have outgrown your current models and it is time for enhancements.  Whatever your needs are we are here to support you and make you successful.

Our services include but are not limited to:

  •  Architecture
  • Dimension builds
  • Cube builds
  • Integration with Data
  • Model Redesign
  • Planning Analytics for Excel Reporting and Data Entry Points
  • Planning Analytics Workspace Dashboards and Entry

Cognos Analytics Services

We also have you covered on Cognos Analytics Projects.  Lodestar has several excellent consultants to meet your needs on reporting, dashboards and modeling in Cognos Analytics.  Perhaps you want to learn about some of the new features in Cognos Analytics or just need some simple reporting work, we have you covered. 

Our services include but are not limited to:

  • Framework and Data Modeling
  • Dashboard Design
  • Reporting
  • PowerPlay and Transformer
  • Explorations
  • Bursting Reports
  • Power BI Services

    Recently we started consulting on Power BI Reporting.  We have an excellent Power BI resource that can work with your team on dashboards, reporting, and data.  Reach out to us to discuss your Power BI needs and let our expert work hand in hand with you. 


    Lodestar offers several different training programs on both Cognos Analytics and Planning Analytics.  Let our certified trainers help your organization get up to speed on everything from model design to Dashboarding.  We can come onsite or deliver virtual training for your organization at a very cost-effective rate.

    Cognos Analytics

    •  Framework Manager
    • Data Modules
    • Explorations
    • Basic and Advanced Reporting
    • Dashboards
    • Administration

    Planning Analytics

    •  Complete Modeling in Workspace
    • Workspace end user set up and design
    • Planning Analytics for Excel
    • Administration

    Add on Software

    Did you know that Lodestar partners with and sells several different addon software platforms to take your Cognos or Planning Analytics to the next level?  Read below for information on each product and don’t forget to reach out to us if you are interested.  We can set up demo’s and take care of everything to get that product ordered for you!

    TM1 Connect – Do you own Planning Analytics and need to create reports in something other than Cognos Analytics?  TM1 Connect solves that problem!  You can connect your PA data to Power BI, Tableau, Qlik and pretty much any other BI tool through an ODBC connection and provide that reporting in your BI software. 

    TM1 Connect

    Digital Hive – Those of you with multiple BI/Data systems need to check out Digital Hive.  It is your single-entry point to all of your data and so much more.  We recently had a demo of this product in our client only user group and it was amazing.  Reach out to us for more info and a demo today!

    Digital Hive
    Digital Hive

    Motio – Tools for the CA administrator or power user to make your life so much easier!

                MotioPI Pro - MotioPI Pro gives Cognos Administrators tools and automations to bring even more efficiencies to your work with Cognos.  MotioPI Pro saves you time, effort, and frustrations across a world of Cognos administrative tasks.

                MotioCI - MotioCI provides Cognos authors and administrators with new capabilities including faster upgrades, change management & version control, faster deployments, automated testing, and improved cleanup.

    ReportWorq - enables you to generate and distribute personalized reports across your organization with ease.  You can develop stunning dashboards and professional reports with all the power of Microsoft Excel from IBM Planning Analytics.  When it’s time for distribution, ReportWORQ’s scalable bursting functionality is like an enterprise mail merge, generating, collating, and distributing personalized reports across your organization through Network Drives, Email, SharePoint and even Slack Channels. Yes, burst PA data!

    ControlWorq – extends Planning Analytics by providing a framework of controls that facilitates financial reporting.

    Key Benefits:

    •  Controlled, balanced, authorized, and auditable journal entries
    • Excel and web user interfaces available
    • Automated recurring and reversing journals
    • Journals can be posted individually or in a batch
    • Reconciliation reporting for inter-company balances
    • Automatic elimination of journals of inter-company balances
    • Real‐time visibility of the impact of journal entries in IBM Planning Analytics


    As you can see Lodestar Solutions Services team has you covered.  Our consultants have many years of experience and hundreds of successful projects on our resume.  Reach out to us at services@lodestarsolutions.com and schedule a consultation today.

    Using the Cognos Analytics Assistant

    Using the Cognos Analytics Assistant
    Using the Cognos Analytics Assistant
    Written by Mike Bernaiche, April 14th 2022

    Have you ever wondered, “where do I start in building a dashboard in Cognos Analytics?”  Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed with all of the data?  I have and I bet you have as well.   What if I told you that IBM Cognos Analytics with Watson has a built in feature called the Cognos Analytics Assistant and it can help answer the questions above and so much more. 

    What is the Cognos Analytics Assistant?

    The Cognos Analytics Assistant is a text-based feature that allows you to gain quick insights into your data, making creating dashboards or explorations simple.  With just a few steps you can access data sources, view suggested visualizations or insights, and bring them over to a dashboard or exploration.  The assistant panel is made up of 3 sections: toolbar, output, and input areas. 

    Cognos Analytics Assistant
    Cognos Analyitcs Assistant Chat

    Capabilities and Commands

    There is a lot to unpack in this area about everything you can do with the Cognos Analytics Assistant.

    • Show Overview of Assistant – Type “help” to see a general overview of the assistant.
    • View Data Sources – To see a list of supported data sources type “view data sources.”
    • Suggest Questions – Type “suggest questions” and the assistant will suggest some starting questions for you.
    Cognos Analytics Assistant Suggested Questions
    • Show Data Source Details – Type “show source (enter source name” or “load source (enter source name)” to see fields and details of your source.
    Show Data Source Details
    • Show Column Details – type “show column (column name)” to see information and related fields.
    Show Column Details
    • Show Column Influencers – Enter “What influences (column name)” to see what fields influence your chosen field.
    Show Column Influencers
    • Create chart of visualization – The assistant can create a chart of visualization by simply typing “show chart (column1) and (column2)”.  You can further expand by then clicking “show related visualizations”.  You can further the experience by clicking “create dashboard form chart”.
    Create chart of visualization
    Related Visualizations
    Create dashboard from chart
    • Create Dashboard – If you want to select a data source and ask IBM Cognos Analytics with Watson to start with a dashboard you can simply type “create dashboard” and use that as a starting point.
    • Create Simple Dashboard – With larger data sources or just the need for something simple, you can start with “create simple dashboard” to ask the Cognos Analytics Assistant to create a simple dashboard to start with.

    Dashboard Example:

    Cognos Analytics Assistant Dashboard Example

    Filtering with Assistant

    You can ask the Cognos Analytics Assistant to apply filters to data by applying words and associated synonyms.  I will go through a few examples below but there are many ways to filter through the assistant and a complete list can be found here. Assistant filtering - IBM Documentation

    Filtering through the assistant has been included for many versions, however, time entity filtering is included with Cognos Analytics 11.2.2 which was released in March 2022.  To read about everything new in CA 11.2.2 please see this recent blog.  What’s New in Cognos Analytics 11.2.2 - Lodestar Solutions

    General Filters

    This filters examples are provided through IBM documentation.

    • show the top 3 products by sales
    • show sales where month is January
    • show products by sales where inventory > 500
    • show products by sales for California
    • show top <num> <column1> by <column2>

    The following operators or modifiers can be used to filter.

    • In, for, if
    • Where, with
    • including
    • excluding
    • top percentage
    • bottom percentage
    • greater than
    • less than
    • top (post data aggregation)
    • bottom (post data aggregation)

    Time Entity Filtering

    The Cognos Analytics Assistant understands references to date, time, month, year, seasons, and holidays.  For the Assistant to apply time entity filters, the data set must have a Timestamp or Date/Time column.  The Assistant can filter based on relative time references (this, that, last, and next).  For example, show sales this Thursday.

    The Assistant can use closed time intervals to filter.  A closed time interval has a start and end date. Example, show laptop sales for January 2021 or show sales from January 2021 to March 2021.

    Other examples from IBM documentation are:

    • Show sales before last Thursday
    • Show sales in 2021
    • Show profit for December 31, 2021 at 10 pm
    • What is our expected revenue on the day before Labor Day?
    • Show me sales for camping equipment from June 1-5
    • Show me total sales last year
    • Show the average sales for past 3 weeks
    • Show the top 3 products sold on the third Monday after Christmas
    • show sales after next Christmas
    • Show October 2020 sales by product
    • Show sales after October 12, 2020
    • Show me sales up to a week ago
    • Show sales between last Monday and last Wednesday
    • Show sales every January and March
    • Show sales every January and every March
    • Show sales every single August
    • Show revenue in Canada for every Friday
    • Show sales each August and September and each Monday
    • Show sales by product each and every August
    • Show sales where transaction date is not January
    • Show sales where transaction date is not before January
    • Show sales where transaction date is not between January and March.

    The following time-based filters are not supported:

    • References to time zones (ex. show sales for October 1 at 2 pm GMT)
    • Fractional periods (ex. half day or quarter month)
    • 2nd Tuesday
    • Weekly or monthly
    • Month over month, YTD, and QTD
    • Time periods such as Q1 and Q2 are not supported.

    As you can see there are many ways to filter based on time, and If I were to take a guess the unsupported filters will be supported in due time by IBM.  I want to be clear I do not have any inside knowledge, but IBM has done an excellent job of continuing to update an already great product.

    IBM has documentation on tips and best practices for using the Cognos Analytics Assistant that can be found here.  Check it out and take your knowledge to the next level.  Tips and best practices - IBM Documentation


    As you can see the best place to start in Cognos Analytics may very well be the Cognos Analytics Assistant.  You gain great insights, start a dashboard, build a dashboard and so much more.  Simplifying using a few commands and natural language will get you started and wow your business.  If you need help upgrading to the latest version to take advantage of the time filtering or just general knowledge of the assistant please contact us at service@lodestarsolutions.com and we would be happy to talk with you. 

    What’s New in Cognos Analytics 11.2.2

    Written by Mike Bernaiche, March 31st 2022

    The latest update of Cognos Analytics 11.2.2 arrived in March 2022 and it brings several new enhancements.  IBM is on a good release schedule, typically every 3-4 months, which helps brings new features, enhancements to an already good product.  Below you will find a list of changes for Cognos Analytics 11.2.2 with links for more information. 


    The assistant now allows you to use more specific time entity filtering.  To use this the selected data must have a timestamp or date/time column.  For example, some potential items you can ask the assistant now include:

    • 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


    Dashboards now include the following enhancements:

    •  Select multiple objects by using mouse drag
    • Vertical and horizontal alignment of objects
    • Change the style on axis and legend text in visualizations
    • Better thumbnails and ability to rename pins
    • Set different colors for tabs in dashboards
    • Additional and enhanced widget properties


    You now have an option to set a different background color for each of your scenes.


    One area of explorations that has needed some improvement for awhile is the natural language information provided on each data visualization.  As you can see below from the IBM screenshot, they have improved the readability in the details area.


    Also, you can now use box plot and radar visualizations in explorations.


    Several enhancements have been added to reporting in Cognos Analytics 11.2.2.

    •  New custom filter option in reports to ignore empty items.
    • Consistent experience with downloadable report formats in both classic and interactive viewer.
    • Consistency with the view of optional prompting in both classic and interactive viewer.


    Cognos Analytics Mobile now supports all authentication providers that are supported in Cognos Analytics.  View the complete list of providers here. Configuring authentication providers - IBM Documentation

    Logs for Cognos Analytics Mobile in Cognos Analytics 11.2.2 are now found here. install_location\logs\cognosserver.log


    Improvements to modeling include:

    •  Faster metadata updates - To batch-update multiple properties, the option Refresh properties is added to the context menu for data modules, tables, columns, calculations, and folders.
    • Sort the data in data tree
    Sort Data in Data Tree
    •  As of date – added to the dynamic date list in creating a relative time period.
    As of date


    For you administrators out there, IBM has added a number of new features and connections in the administration area.  For a complete list check out this link from IBM, Administration - IBM Documentation.  Also a few items have changed in the install process.  Here is a link to those changes. Installation and configuration - IBM Documentation


    As you can read there have been a number of changes in Cognos Analytics 11.2.2.  I wouldn’t call this a major update, but I do think there are a number of items in here that make it worth installing.  The changes to the Assistant and Dashboards help you create and format.  The update to explorations makes it easier to understand your data and the ability to add an as of date in data modules is something I’m looking forward to putting into practice.

    For a complete list of everything new in Cognos Analytics 11.2.2 check this link out.

    Release 11.2.2 - March 2022 - IBM Documentation

    If you are still on Cognos Analytics 11.1.7 and are not sure why you should update – check out these recent blogs from Lodestar Solutions. 

    Cognos Analytics 11.2.1 – What’s New! - Lodestar Solutions

    What’s New in Cognos Analytics 11.2 - Lodestar Solutions

    Also, if you are interested in checking out Cognos Analytics Mobile - IBM Cognos Analytics Mobile Walkthrough - Lodestar Solutions.

    Last, if you need to discuss or explore upgrading we have a number of great options to get you updated.  Reach out to me at services@lodestarsolutions.com to discuss.

    P.S. For our clients who attend our next client only user group, I will have a session on Cognos Analytics 11.2.2 as well as the office connection to utilize Cognos and PowerPoint to make your presentation creation very efficient.  Our next user group will be May 24, 2022.

    Cognos Analytics 11.2.1 – What’s New!

    3D Hexabin Map and Donut visualization from a pie chart
    Written by Mike Bernaiche, November 11th, 2021

    In September 2021, IBM released Cognos Analytics 11.2.1.  This blog will highlight the changes and some of the new features included with this new version.

    General Changes

    Search Enhancements – In version 11.2 IBM moved the search bar to the address bar.  In Cognos Analytics 11.2.1, IBM added a couple of nice items to the search function.  They have now included filters and the ability to save that filter for ease of use.  You can filter on a particular area like data or dashboards and save that filter to use again and again.

    Search Enhancements in Cognos 11.2.1

    Support for merged cells in Excel uploads – You can now take a file from excel that may look like this

    Excel Upload

    And Cognos Analytics 11.2.1 will render properly in Cognos when you upload.

    Render properly

    This enhancement will save you a lot of time “fixing” excel to properly import into Cognos Analytics.


    New Visualizations – Included in Cognos Analytics 11.2.1 is a new 3D Hexabin Map and Donut visualization from a pie chart.

    3D Hexabin Map and Donut visualization from a pie chart
    New Visualization Properties -

    Change colors on the following:

    •  Border color on a per-axis basis
    • Grid line color on a per-axis basis
    • Value label color
    • Repeat label color on a column
    • Repeat label color on a row

    Other property changes:

    • Transpose bullet visualizations.  This new property allows you to switch between horizontal or vertical bullet charts.
    • Customizable range of bullets in bullet visualizations.  These new properties allow you to customize the appearance to suit your preference or to align with your corporate branding.
    Conditional Formatting Enhancements - 

    Easier to use properties for conditional formatting.

    conditional formatting in cognos 11.2.1


    • Performance improvements for tabbed reports.
    • Active Report Viewer – Active Report Viewer is a Windows application that is used to view and interact with IBM® Cognos® Analytics with Watson active reports that are saved in the .mht file format.  Download from IBM Accelerator Catalog.
    • Select and search prompt now available for data modules.

    The following are the same as in Dashboards:

    • 3D Hexabin in maps
    • New visualization properties
    • Donut visualization created from a pie


    New in Cognos Analytics 11.2.1 - License entitlements of Cognos Analytics for Mobile only users.  Please reach out if this license is something you are interested in.  Contact us at sales@lodestarsolutions.com.

    • Consume shared pin boards.
    • Receive alerts.
    • Use the Assistant in the app, with any available data sources.
    • Create their own pin boards in the app.
    • Browse Team content and open dashboards or explorations in the app.
    • Scan a QR code from the desktop to authenticate into the app.

    Administrative and Samples

    There are many administrative updates to Cognos Analytics 11.2.1.  You can check out this link for everything new in the administrative side.

    Administration - IBM Documentation

    There are also new samples with Cognos 11.2 and 11.2.1.  These come with the install and can be added to your environment from the deployment area of the administrative panel.  Your Cognos Administrator can help get these loaded for you.  I highly recommend loading them for ideas and new techniques in version 11.2 and 11.2.1

    New Samples with Cognos 11.2.1


    We are here to help and answer your questions about Cognos Analytics 11.2.1.  We can perform your upgrade or work with you on the upgrade.  Please reach out to us at services@lodestarsolutions.com.

    For more information on all things Cognos Analytics, you can check out our vast library of blogs anytime here.  If you are interested in mobile there is a great blog recently released.

    Cognos BI Blogs written by IBM Cognos Expert Consultants and Coaches (lodestarsolutions.com)

    For detailed information on the updates to Cognos Analytics 11.2.1 see link below.

    Release 11.2.1 - September 2021 - IBM Documentation

    IBM Cognos Analytics Mobile Walkthrough

    IBM Cognos Analytics Mobile Boards Area

    Written by Mike Bernaiche, August 12th, 2021

    Looking for a quick view at important data in Cognos Analytics?  Maybe, your executive team is starting to travel again and needs access to information on the road or want push notifications to alert you to changes in targets?  If you own IBM Cognos Analytics and have upgraded to version 11.1.7 or 11.2 then you already own the solution to these questions.  IBM Cognos Analytics Mobile.

    Breakdown of Key Areas in Cognos Analytics Mobile

    Supported Devices, Set up and Authentication

    Download the Cognos Analytics Mobile App from IOS or Android App store. Utilize the personal QR code from inside Cognos Analytics or enter the server url.

    For a list of support devices: Supported devices - IBM Documentation

    Authentication: Authentication - IBM Documentation

    Link to Cognos Analytics Mobile app on IOS – IBM Cognos Analytics Mobile - Apps on Google Play

    Link to Cognos Analytics Mobile app on Google Play Store - IBM Cognos Analytics Mobile - Apps on Google Play

    Boards Area

    IBM Cognos Analytics Mobile Boards Area

    Boards provide convenient places for you to pin your visualizations.  Use boards to organize and manage your visualizations so that you can find and retrieve them at a moment's notice.  You can create, rename, hide, show, or delete boards in the Boards screen.

    For more information on boards: The Boards screen - IBM Documentation

    Content Area

    Content Area

    Use the Content screen to quickly find and open content.  The Content screen contains three tabs and a filtering feature to help you find and open content.

    •  Use the Recent tab to access your recently viewed content 
    • My Content tab to access your created content
    • Team Content tab can be used to access team content, which is shared with you from the team content folder.

    NOTE - Only visualization widget pins can be displayed in IBM Cognos Analytics Mobile.  All other pins are hidden by default.

    For more information on the Content Area: The Content screen - IBM Documentation

    Notification Area

    Notification Area

    Use the Notifications screen to conveniently view your notifications.  You can receive notifications if one of your visualizations or a visualization that you are a viewer for has triggered an alert.

    From the Notifications screen, you can access visualizations that have triggered a notification, filter your notifications by read and unread, and see the date and rules, which triggered the notification.

    For more information on notifications: Alerts and notification settings - IBM Documentation



    The Assistant is a powerful feature that allows you to use simple questions, in natural language, to search, find, and explore your data.

    TIP – typing help into text fields provides examples to get started.

    For more information on the Assistant feature: Assistant - IBM Documentation

    Management of Cognos Analytics Mobile

    As an administrator you have a number of options in the management of Cognos Analytics Mobile.  You can set up the following:

    •  Enable or disable Cognos Analytics Mobile
    • Manage alerts for users
    • Enable or disable scheduling
    • Enable or disable dashboards, explorations, or assistant
    • Configure token login signing secret setting
    • Configure your Cognos Analytics environment with SMTP

    For more information on management of Cognos Analytics Mobile: Managing Cognos Analytics for Mobile - IBM Documentation


    If you are looking for information to troubleshoot your set up please check out the following:


    Cognos Analytics Mobile offers some great features to take your information on the road with you and gain insights without having to get out the computer or take paper with you.  The addition of the new mobile app takes Cognos Analytics to the next level in my opinion.  Adding in Android, along with IOS devices provides access to almost all users.  Reminder, you do need to be on the latest release of Cognos Analytics (11.2) to take advantage of mobile. 

    To upgrade to the latest version or talk about getting mobile set up in your environment reach out to us at services@lodestarsolutions.com.

    I will be providing a demo on our client only user group on August 17, 2021.  If you are a client and have not yet signed up to attend, check your inbox for the invite.  If you did not receive an invite, please contact us at services@lodestarsolutions.com.