Warning! Cognos Analytics Support is Ending for Version 11.1.7. Upgrade Now!

Warning! Cognos Analytics Support is Ending for Version 11.1.7. Upgrade Now!
Warning! Cognos Analytics Support is Ending for Version 11.1.7. Upgrade Now!
Written by Mike Bernaiche, February 9th, 2024

IBM, the provider of Cognos Analytics, has announced that Cognos Analytics support for version 11.1.7 will end in April 2024. This means that organizations using this version or earlier versions will no longer receive critical updates, security patches, or technical support beyond this date. To avoid potential risks and ensure uninterrupted access to support and new features, upgrading to the latest version of Cognos Analytics is imperative.  See the announcement here

Why Upgrade?

As organizations rely increasingly on data-driven insights to navigate complex business landscapes, having robust analytics software is paramount. Cognos Analytics has been a trusted tool for many, providing powerful analytics capabilities to drive informed decision-making. However, with technology evolving rapidly, it's crucial to stay up to date to ensure optimal performance, security, and support.

Here's why you should consider upgrading:

  1. **Enhanced Security**: In today's digital landscape, cybersecurity threats are ever-present. By upgrading to the latest version of Cognos Analytics, you benefit from the latest security enhancements and patches, safeguarding your data and systems against potential vulnerabilities.
  2. **Improved Performance**: With each new release, software vendors introduce performance optimizations to enhance the user experience. Upgrading to the latest version of Cognos Analytics ensures you're leveraging the latest performance improvements, allowing for faster analytics processing and improved efficiency.
  3. **New Features and Functionality**: Software updates often come bundled with exciting new features and functionalities designed to enhance productivity and drive innovation. By upgrading, you gain access to these new capabilities, empowering your team to extract deeper insights and make better-informed decisions.
  4. **Continued Support**: Perhaps most importantly, upgrading ensures continued access to technical support from IBM. Should you encounter any issues or require assistance, you can rely on IBM's dedicated support team to provide timely resolutions and expert guidance.

The Process

Transitioning to a new software version may seem daunting, but it doesn't have to be. Lodestar Solutions offers comprehensive resources and support to facilitate a smooth upgrade process.

To get started with your upgrade, consider the following steps:

  • **Assessment**: Evaluate your current environment and determine the impact of the upgrade.
  • **Planning**: Develop a detailed upgrade plan, including timelines, resources, and potential challenges.
  • **Testing**: Conduct thorough testing to ensure compatibility and functionality.
  • **Deployment**: Execute the upgrade according to your plan, minimizing disruption to operations.
  • **Training**: Provide training to users to familiarize them with the new features and workflows.

Lodestar Solutions offers upgrade bundles to make this process even easier for you.  We offer a 2 and 4 upgrade bundle and you can find more information here.  

Here to Make it Easy

Remember, the end of support for Cognos Analytics 11.1.7 is fast approaching. Please don't wait until it's too late. Take proactive steps now to upgrade your Cognos Analytics environment and ensure continued success in your analytics initiatives.

The latest version of Cognos Analytics is 12.  It is extremely powerful and amazing.  However, if you are still using Query Studio or Analysis Studio, we should talk.  Cognos 12 has removed these legacy studios but there is a path forward!  If you are not ready to move to Cognos 12, Cognos 11.2.4 is a long-term release and will give you a runway to prepare for a move to 12.

You can find more info here on Cognos 12, why you should upgrade, and Cognos 11.2.4.

For assistance with your upgrade or to learn more about the benefits of the latest version of Cognos Analytics, reach out to our team today at services@lodestarsolutions.com

Cognos Analytics Training – Level Up Your Cognos Skills

Cognos Analytics Training – Level Up Your Cognos Skills
Cognos Analytics Training – Level Up Your Cognos Skills
Written by Mike Bernaiche, January 31st, 2024

Are you looking to level up your Cognos Analytics skills?  Maybe you are new to Cognos Analytics, or you have been using it for years and need a refresher.?  We have the right offer for you!  Our Cognos Analytics training, taught by a veteran Cognos Analytics consultant, is a great opportunity to master your Cognos Analytics skills. 

Cognos 12 brings so much power to your fingertip in analytics.  Join us from February 20th – 22nd to master your skills and provide more value to your organization.

Why Sign Up?

Our Cognos Analytics training program is meticulously crafted for professionals like you, whether navigating the advanced features of Cognos 12 or working with earlier versions like Cognos 11.2.x or 11.1.7.  Here's why you should not miss this opportunity:

  1. Limited Seating: First Come, First Served: We have limited seats available, and they are filling up quickly! Secure your spot today to guarantee your place at this exclusive event. Don't miss out on this unique opportunity to learn from industry experts in an intimate setting.
  2. Expert Guidance: Learn from a seasoned 20-year professional consultant, not just a trainer. Gain insights from real-world scenarios and industry best practices, ensuring you're equipped with practical skills.
  3. Comprehensive Curriculum: Dive deep into Cognos Analytics Reporting fundamentals during the first two days. Explore topics such as Report Creation, Filters, Parameters, Calculations, and Formatting. On the third day, master Cognos Analytics Dashboard 12 Essentials, covering Pins, Explorations, and Data Storytelling. This will help you plan your upgrade if you are not on Cognos 12 yet.
  4. Hands-On Experience: Immerse yourself in a real-world Cognos Analytics environment. Our interactive sessions provide hands-on experience, allowing you to apply your knowledge immediately.
  5. All-Inclusive Training: No need to worry about materials. We provide everything you need to succeed, including comprehensive training materials to support your learning journey.

The Details

What: Cognos Analytics Training – Reporting and Dashboards
When: Tuesday, Feb 20, Wednesday, Feb 21, and Thursday, Feb 22
Time: 10:00 am Eastern to 5:30 pm Eastern with a couple of small breaks and a break for lunch
Cost: $2,991
Included: All training e-books and training environment
Optional VIP Addon: $397 includes 1 year access to training recordings and 2 hours of consulting.
Invoicing: Payment for all attendees must be received before Feb 20, 2024, to ensure access to the labs. Lodestar will invoice clients upon registration.

The Agenda

Cognos Analytics Training Agenda

Summary

As you can read, we have you covered when it comes to Cognos Analytics.  Why wait?  Sign up now and take your Cognos Analytics game to new levels.

If you are looking for everything new in Cognos 12 you can find that info here.  Cognos 12.0.2 was released in Jan 2024.

If you are wondering if you should upgrade to Cognos 12, please read here

NOTE: Cognos 11.1.7 will reach the end of support on April 30, 2024.  If you are not on a newer version you need to reach out to us now.  services@lodestarsolutions.com

What’s New in Cognos Analytics 12.0.2

What's New in Cognos Analytics 12.0.2
What's New in Cognos Analytics 12.0.2
Written by Mike Bernaiche, January 25th, 2024

On January 18, 2024, IBM released the next version of Cognos, Cognos Analytics 12.0.2.  There are several enhancements and improvements in this version which I will write about below.  If you are not familiar with the power of Cognos 12 please see this blog, Welcome to Cognos Analytics 12,  and if you are thinking about why you should upgrade to Cognos 12 please read this – Elevate Your Analytics: Why You Should Upgrade to Cognos Analytics 12

Multiple Components

Stored Data Management – both administrators and users can manage uploads and data sets.  End users can easily manage anything you have uploaded or created in data sets.  This is done by going to manage -> people -> stored data.

Conditional Formatting in More Visualizations – In Cognos Analytics 12.0.2, you can now conditionally format in the following visualizations: Area, Bar, Bubble, Bullet, Column, Line, Pie, Point, Stacked bar, Stacked column, and Treemap.

Conditional Formatting in More Visualizations

Assistant in Cognos Analytics 12.0.2

Data Source Selection – You are now prompted to either select your data source or a sample data source.

Optimized Data Sources – There are now 6 options to optimize your data through the assistant in Cognos Analytics 12.0.2.  Data from samples has already been optimized automatically.

  • Hide Unneeded Columns - You can hide columns that might not be useful in visualizations such as row ID or product code columns. These hidden columns are fully functional in the product but cannot be selected in new visualizations or dashboards.
  • Rename Columns - make sure that column names in the data module reflect the data accurately, you can rename columns. Rename columns that include underscores, dashes, or abbreviations as these can be difficult to use when asking the Assistant a question in natural language.
  • Add Synonyms - You can train the Assistant to understand terms in your data that it might not recognize by adding synonyms.
  • Create Useful Calculations - You can create calculations such as a count field which always returns 1. In tables that are lists or logs, a count field that always returns 1 lets you get the count of employees in an employee table or the number of calls in a call log table.
  • Eliminate Duplicate Column Names Across Tables - avoid ambiguity in your data, if you have multiple tables in a data module, make sure that the same column names do not appear in more than one table.
  • Set Data Formats - you can set formats for the values in your data module to ensure that the Assistant responses are easy to read and understand. For example, you can choose to display a value as a local currency, or as a number with consistent decimal places.

Dashboards in Cognos Analytics 12.0.2

Widget Connection Limit Increased - You can now create a maximum of 20 groups of widgets. The previous limit was five groups of widgets.

Reports in Cognos Analytics 12.0.2

Map Manager Removed from Reporting – Map Manager is no longer supported by IBM Cognos Analytics. Existing reports that contain Map Manager maps continue to run.  To see the impact please click this link

Search and Select Prompt Improvements - When you now perform a search in a Search & select prompt control, a background request is submitted, and the search results are displayed without reloading the entire page.

Dashboards and Reports in Cognos Analytics 12.0.2

Dual Line Visualization – Use a dual line visualization to present as lines two data sets that have two different ranges of values.

Dashboards and Reports in Cognos Analytics 12.0.2

Negative Values and Item Labels as a Percentage - You can now use two properties to show negative values and item axis labels as percentages.

Additional Formats of Value Label in Bullet Visualizations - You can now use additional formats of value labels, percentage delta of target, and value delta of target, in bullet visualizations.

Show Value Axis Zero Grid Line in Visualizations - You can place a custom line at the zero point of the value axis.

Modeling in Cognos Analytics 12.0.2

Auto-Relationships - Data modules now support the automatic creation of new relationships, called auto-relationships, between tables from different data sources. The auto-relationships are discovered and generated with minimal effort from the modeler. By using auto-relationships, you can avoid the manual effort of identifying the related tables and connecting them. For example, when adding newly uploaded files to a schema-based data module, you can establish relevant relationships throughout the data module with just a single click.

Creating a Dashboard within a Data Module

Creating a Dashboard within a Data Module in CA 12

Editing the Union, Except, and Intersection - You can add and remove tables from an existing union, except, or intersect a custom table. You can also update the columns in these custom tables based on column changes in their underlying reference tables.

Summary

There you have it!  Some new great stuff in Cognos Analytics 12.0.2.  For a full list of items, specifically in the administration and install you can click this link

Reminder – Support for Cognos Analytics 11.1.7 ends on April 30, 2024.  If you need IBM support and you are not on at least version 11.2 or higher, IBM will ask you to upgrade.  Why wait?  Upgrade not to Cognos Analytics 12.0.2 and take advantage of the incredible enhancements.  You can reach out to us at services@lodestarsolutions.com for more information on upgrading.  We make it easy and cost-effective to get you on the latest version.

Need More? Join us for our upcoming Cognos Analytics Training!

Cognos Analytics Training on Reporting Fundamentals and Dashboarding Basics

The Details:

When: Tuesday, Feb 20, Wednesday, Feb 21, and Thursday, Feb 22
Time: 10:00 am Eastern to 5:30 pm Eastern with a couple of small breaks and a break for lunch
Cost: $2,991
Included: All training e-books and training environment
Optional VIP Addon: $397 includes 1 year access to training recordings and 2 hours of consulting

Click this LINK for more info and to register, limited seating and we are filling up!

Take your skills to the next level with our Cognos Analytics Training on Reporting Fundamentals and Dashboarding Basics

Cognos Analytics Training is Here!

Cognos Analytics Training is Here
Cognos Analytics Training is Here
Written by Mike Bernaiche, October 20th, 2023

Are you ready to revolutionize your Cognos Analytics expertise? We are thrilled to invite you and your team members to our exclusive 3-day Cognos Analytics training event.  This Cognos Analytics training is designed to empower you with the skills and knowledge essential for mastering Cognos Analytics.

Here are the details:

Dates: Coming in January! 
Classes: Cognos Analytics Reporting Fundamentals and Cognos Analytics Dashboarding Essentials
Location: Your venue / online
Instructor: Professional consultant and trainer with 20-plus years of experience.
Investment: $2,781 for the full 3-day training, environment, and training materials included.

Why Attend

Our Cognos Analytics training program is meticulously crafted for professionals like you, whether you are navigating the advanced features of Cognos 12 or working with earlier versions like Cognos 11.2.x or 11.1.7. Here’s why you shouldn’t miss this opportunity:

  1. Limited Seating - First Come, First Served: We have limited seats available, and they are filling up quickly! Secure your spot today to guarantee your place at this exclusive event. Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity to learn from industry experts in an intimate setting.
  2. Expert Guidance - Learn from a seasoned 20-year professional consultant, not just a trainer. Gain insights from real-world scenarios and industry best practices, ensuring you’re equipped with practical skills.
  3. Comprehensive Curriculum - Dive deep into Cognos Analytics Reporting fundamentals during the first two days. Explore topics such as Report Creation, Filters, Parameters, Calculations, and Formatting. On the third day, master Cognos Analytics Dashboard 12 Essentials, covering Pins, Explorations, and Data Storytelling. This will help you plan your upgrade if you are not on 12 yet.
  4. Hands-On Experience - Immerse yourself in a real-world Cognos Analytics environment. Our interactive sessions provide hands-on experience, allowing you to apply your knowledge immediately.
  5. All-Inclusive Training - No need to worry about materials. We provide everything you need to succeed, including comprehensive training materials to support your learning journey.

What Will You Learn?

Cognos Analytics Training – Reporting Fundamentals, 2 days.

Tables, Crosstabs and Charts

List Reports, Crosstabs, Advanced Crosstabs, Legacy Charts, Visualizations, Create a Report with Multiple Displays

Filters

Filters – Defined, Model Filters, Custom Filters, Detail Filters, Summary Filters, Filter Options

Parameters and Prompts

Parameters – Defined, Global Parameters, My Parameters, Prompts – Defined, Why Use Prompts, Create Prompt Pages, The Prompt Button, Multiple Prompts, Cascading Prompts

Calculations

Calculations – Defined, Subtotals, Insert Calculation Button, Query Calculations, Layout Calculations, Using Functions

Formatting and Conditional Formatting

Templates, Fonts and Styles, Styles, Alignment and Justification, Text Items, Headers and Footers, Blocks, Tables, Conditional Formatting Defined, Conditional Styles, Advanced Conditional Formatting, Define the Condition

Complex Reports

Dashboard Reports, Drill-Through Definitions, Create Drill-Through Definitions, Create Reports from a Dimensional Source, Member Tree View vs. Metadata Tree View, Add Levels, Members, and Sets

Saving and Scheduling

Schedule reports for distribution.

Cognos Analytics Training - Dashboard Essentials - 1 day

Now that you have learned the fundamentals of Reporting, join us for the last day to start mastering Dashboards in Cognos Analytics. Rookie or veteran, this class will teach you the essentials of building a dashboard in Cognos Analytics 12.

Introduction

Cognos interface, Dashboard interface, Edit mode vs Preview mode

Basic Dashboard

Starting a new dashboard, Layouts, Data sources, Visualizations, and different methods of creating a visual, Saving a dashboard

Complex Dashboarding

Customize and filter dashboard objects, Filtering capabilities, Verify and modify filters, Modify dashboard object properties, Add an active visualization, Add insights, Customize dashboard for presentation, Share the dashboard

Miscellaneous

Pins and Explorations

Secure Your Spot Now!

Ready to elevate your Cognos Analytics game? Don’t miss this chance to boost your career opportunities and enhance your organization’s capabilities. Secure your spot today by emailing services@lodestarsolutions.com now.

For any inquiries to determine if this is a good fit for you, contact Lodestar at services@lodestarsolutions.com. Act swiftly as seats are limited, and this transformative learning experience awaits you.

Additional Blogs on Cognos 12

What’s New in Cognos Analytics 12.0.1

What's New in Cognos Analytics 12.0.1
What's New in Cognos Analytics 12.0.1
Written by Mike Bernaiche, October 13th, 2023

IBM released Cognos Analytics 12 in June 2023, adding an enhanced experience for all users with the incredible assistant, lighting quick dashboards, and so much more.  Now IBM has released Cognos Analytics 12.0.1 with some additional enhancements. Below I will provide all the details of what is new in Cognos Analytics 12.0.1

General Enhancements in Cognos Analytics 12.0.1

Favorites – In the Content view, you can now mark items as a favorite by clicking the heart icon.  Your Favorite items will show up in your favorite tab.

Search Result Enhancements – a new result reason option has been added to search results to show reasons why the search returned various items.

AI-Generated Recommendations in Learn Panel - the recommendation engine makes daily updates based on what you and other users are searching for.  Each search you make in the learn panel makes it better and better.

AI-Generated Recommendations in Learn Panel

AutoComplete and Popular Search Suggestions in Learn Panel - The Learn pane now predicts your search query as you type keywords in the Search field and displays a list of search suggestions from all content types.

Assistant

Assistant and Learn Panel Integration - The Assistant now gives you the option to jump to the Learn pane if it cannot find an answer to a general usage question. You can use the Learn pane to find help in the product documentation, blogs, and videos.

Share Narrative Insights from Assistant – You can now share insights with or without a visualization via email, Slack, or Teams.

New Option for adding Visualizations to Dashboard – You can now add a visualization from the assistant to a new dashboard or a current dashboard by clicking the add to button or dragging the visualization to an open dashboard.

New Option for adding Visualizations to Dashboard

Usability Improvements and Natural Language Enhancements - The Assistant now understands choose source, set source, change source, and select source when you want to change the Assistant's data source.  When you ask the Assistant a question that doesn't require a visualization, the Assistant now responds with just the relevant values.  The assistant now understands: What is, When is, Where is, Who is.

Dashboards

Automatic Sorting in Month, Weekday, and Season Columns - In newly loaded database schemas and uploaded files, the members in the month, weekday, or season columns are automatically sorted in chronological order, no matter in which order they are listed originally.

Showing Additional Data Values in Tooltips – display additional values in the tooltip data field.

Expanding Visualization Content in PDF Content - You can configure crosstab, table, or list visualizations on the dashboard to export detailed information into new pages in the PDF output. A hyperlink at the visualization on the main canvas in the PDF file directs you to the new page where the detailed visualization information appears.

Showing and Styling Stack Labels in Stacked Visualizations – New show stacked label property to show the sum of each item in a stacked visualization.

Showing and Styling Stack Labels in Stacked Visualizations

Additional Fields in Line and Column Visualization – 2 new fields are available in this visualization.  Column y start and Column Target.

Additional Fields in Line and Column Visualization

Styling Titles of Repeated Row and Columns in Visualizations – When you repeat a column or row you can now add formatting to those titles.

Styling Titles of Repeated Row and Columns in Visualizations

Icon Visibility in the Visualization Header – you can hide or show icons in the visualization header now in Cognos Analytics 12.0.1

Better Documentation of all Visualizations – please see the link for this documentation. 

Reporting

Excel Sheet Naming Improvements – In Cognos Analytics 12.0.1 this has been greatly improved.  Please see link for all the details.  

Event Agent

Event Studio – Event Studio was reinstated as a standard component in Cognos Analytics 12.0.1 and is now named Event Agent.

Administration

Activities Page Enhancements – The activities page contains many improvements and is best described here.  

New Settings for Uploaded File and Data Set Size - Administrators can now use the Manage component to configure size limits for uploaded files and for data sets.

New Settings for Uploaded File and Data Set Size

New Watsonx Data Connector - A new connection editor, watsonx.data, is available for creating data source connections.

Summary

There you have it; Cognos Analytics 12.0.1 brings some nice enhancements across the board in Cognos Analytics.

If you haven’t checked out my blog on Cognos Analytics 12, please check that out here

Next, head over to this blog to understand why you should upgrade today.  

Last, you can check out a quick demo of Cognos 12, most specifically the amazing Assistant here

You can always reach me at services@lodestarsolutions.com to discuss your specific needs.  We offer some amazing upgrade bundles to get you on the latest and greatest version.

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.  

Conclusion

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.

Myths

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?

Conclusion:

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. 

Assistant

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.

Examples

  • 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

Dashboards

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

Reporting

  • 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

Summary

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

Conclusion:

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.

Assistant

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.

Dashboards

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.

Reporting

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.

Modeling

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

Administration

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

Summary

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.

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