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 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 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

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 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 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 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 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 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

    • 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

    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 (

    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

    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

    What’s New in Cognos Analytics 11.2

    What's New in Cognos Analytics 11.2
    What's New in Cognos Analytics 11.2
    Written by Mike Bernaiche on June 10th, 2021

    The next major update from IBM on the Cognos Analytics platform was released in late May.  Cognos Analytics 11.2 brings several enhancements improvements and a new user interface.  I will detail a few of the new items below.

    User Interface

    IBM has moved to Carbon, the IBM open-source design system for digital product and experience.  Personally, I believe it is a beautiful interface, very clean and makes sense as you move throughout the product. 

    •  Welcome Page – A quick launch and samples area has been added to the welcome screen.  This is for ease of use and efficiency.
    • Open Menu – Compact point to enter any area of Cognos Analytics 11.2.
    Open Menu
    •  Full page content viewer – Here you will find your content, team content and samples in a full page view.  You can switch between tiles and a list view.
    • Search and Assistant – these items have been moved to the global content bar.
    • Edit Icon – Is now a toggle button at the top of dashboards, reports, etc.

    For the complete list of changes to the welcome pane and user experience please check out this link from IBM.  Getting started - IBM Documentation


    There are a couple of new changes to dashboards in Cognos Analytics 11.2.  They include:

    •  2 New Visualizations – Boxplot and Radar.  These visualization are also available in Explorations.
    •  Show labels on maps in local language. 


    New in Cognos Analytics 11.2, if you have access to an external Watson environment enabled, you can import notebooks that were authored in IBM Watson Studio and use that data in reports or dashboards.


    A number of items were added to reporting in Cognos Analytics 11.2.  They include:

    • Add baseline to visualization using layout or query calculation.  Baselines are horizontal or vertical lines that cut through the chart to indicate major divisions in the data.
    •  Local language labels in Maps - as in dashboard, you can show the local language in maps in Cognos Analytics 11.2.
    • New Themes – Carbo X Light and Carbon X dark are now available in reporting.
    • Support for PDF drill actions in Chrome and Firefox.

    For the complete list of new items in reporting please check out this link from IBM. Reporting - IBM Documentation.


    •  Navigation Path Enhancements – Navigation paths are now grouped into a folder named Navigation Paths and allows for a much cleaner and efficient use.
    Navigation Enhancements
    •  Java Examples for modeling – using the rest API you can now perform the following:

    - Load metadata
    - Load metadata with select tables
    - Reload metadata
    - Upload new files
    - Replace uploaded files
    - Append to uploaded files

    To access the examples and readme.txt, navigate to ../sdk/modeling/java/examples in your local installation.

    Administration, Installation and Configuration

    For more information on all of the changes in administration and installation of the product, please check out these links.

    Administration - IBM Documentation

    Installation and configuration - IBM Documentation

    Call to Action

    As you can read IBM has made a number of enhancements to Cognos Analytics 11.2.  Many of them are based on the user experience and I believe that is setting the stage for some great customizations and enhancements in future releases.  As of now, I believe Cognos Analytics 11.2.1 will be released in early fall and from what I have heard, it could be a very exciting release. 

    Recently Lodestar Solutions created an Upgrade Bundle to help our clients with the upgrade process on both Cognos Analytics and Planning Analytics.  The bundle includes technical support hours as well.  Trust me when I tell you this is a great deal!  For more information check out this blog on

    Solving the IBM Cognos Upgrade Challenge - Lodestar Solutions.

    If you have questions regarding Cognos Analytics 11.2 or the upgrade bundle, please reach out to

    IBM Cognos Analytics Reporting off Snowflake Data

    IBM Cognos Analytics Reporting off Snowflake Data
    IBM Cognos Analytics Reporting off Snowflake Data
    February 18th, 2021

    As the world of Big Data continues to evolve, we have noticed many of our IBM Cognos Analytics clients are moving to an innovative new cloud data solution, Snowflake.  Snowflake is a fully managed service that’s simple to use but can power a near-unlimited number of concurrent workloads.  Snowflake is a solution for data warehousing, data lakes, data engineering, data science, data application development, and for securely sharing and consuming shared data.  It’s important to know that IBM Cognos Analytics Reporting off Snowflake Data can be a winning combination.  In this blog, Lodestar Solutions will describe the problem many Cognos Analytics Administrators have faced and how Snowflake and Cognos Analytics can solve the problem.

    The Cognos Analytics Administrator’s Historical Struggle

    IBM Cognos Analytics BI Administrators have struggled for years to deliver effective reports and dashboards, in organizations that had data integrity issues.  Many battled silos of data marts, data warehouses and multiple data sources.  In many organizations the Cognos Analytics Administrators did not have control or influence over the data warehousing teams or how they received the data, which resulted in many Cognos Analytics Administrators resorting to what I call duct tape and super gluing reports with code that would be unnecessary if the data was in a better format or indexed.

    You can have the best business intelligence reporting solutions in the world but if you have bad data you are stuck in a swamp!

    It’s not the Data Warehouse Teams Fault!

    Over the years Big Data made big promises but often failed to deliver the results executives were looking for.  Initially, organizations leveraged Data Warehouses to store big data.  A data warehouse is a repository for structured, filtered data that has already been processed for a specific purpose.  The challenge was the amount of unstructured data from different sources like web apps, and social media was growing exponentially.  Business Users were demanding more, and data warehousing just didn’t meet the needs.  So, data lakes were created. A data lake is a vast pool of raw data, the purpose for which is not yet defined, but the data lakes required much larger storage.  Without a lot of baby sitting and governance the lakes became data swamps.  This was especially true of on-premise data lakes.  To solve this problem companies like Snowflake have delivered a modern version of data lakes that leverage cloud technology to handle scaling.  If you want to learn more about modern data lakes check out the complimentary book by Snowflake called Cloud Data Lakes for Dummies by David Baum.  It’s a great short read and you might want to share this with your executives to help them better understand data lakes.   Here's a link to my book review on Cloud Data Lakes for Dummies

    Snowflake and Cognos Analytics

    A number of IBM Cognos Analytics clients are solving this problem by deploying Snowflake. IBM Cognos Analytics has native connectivity to Snowflake with Cognos Versions 11.0.5 or higher.  Click here to see a list of Business Intelligence solutions that have native connectivity with Snowflake.

    How to set up Snowflake Data Source Connection in Cognos Analytics

    IBM Cognos Analytics connects to Snowflake with a Java Database Connectivity (JDBC).

    To set up the data source connection between IBM Cognos Analytics BI and Snowflake, you will need to:

    1. Download JDBC Driver
    2. Place snowflake jdbc (snowflake-jdbc-3.9.2.jar) file into CA_installation/drivers folder.
    3. Restart IBM Cognos Analytics
    4. Edit Snowflake connection
    Connecting Snowflake to Cognos Analytics



    Select Use the following signon:

    ID and Password from snowflake User Name and Password

    5. Test the connection

    Connecting Snowflake to Cognos Analytics2

    If you want additional details, check out this IBM Blog.

    IBM Cognos Analytics Connection to Snowflake with an ODBC Connection.

    For IBM Cognos Analytic Administrators that want to use an ODBC connection to Snowflake there are 3rd party drivers that you can purchase and use.  One such driver is the CData ODBC driver for Snowflake which can integrate Snowflake data with the drag-and-drop style of Cognos Report Studio.  They provide a graphical approach to create data visualizations with no SQL required.  This blog by CData, Create Data Visualizations in Cognos BI with Snowflake shows their approach on how to execute any SQL query supported by Snowflake. 


    IBM Cognos Analytics Reporting off Snowflake data can be a winning combination.  If you are a Cognos Analytics Administrator and want to discuss how IBM Cognos Analytics can be taken to the next level with better data sources like Snowflake, contact

    Five Tips to Hosting a Virtual IBM Cognos & TM1 User Group

    5 Tips to Host a Virtual User Group
    5 Tips to Host a Virtual User Group
    November 12th, 2020

    The world has changed, and it is never going back!  A year ago we were able to attend the IBM Analytics event in Miami, listen to live Cognos Analytics and Cognos Planning Analytics/TM1 user success stories and network with other IBM Cognos users over a beer.  Not anymore, at least not for a while.  But Lodestar Solutions has decided to pivot.  We learned five tips to hosting a virtual IBM Cognos and TM1 User Group, and we have no intention to return to in person user groups!

    Why Virtual Cognos User Groups are Better Than in Person

    On November 11, 2020 we hosted a new format for our Lodestar Solutions, Virtual IBM Cognos and TM1 User Group and it was fabulous!  Our clients and team members loved it so much, we are not going back to in person group for three reasons: time, geography and flexibility.

    Saving Time with a Cognos User Group

    We value our Cognos Analytics and Planning Analytics TM1 Administrators’ time.  In the past we would host events in a main city like Chicago and attendees would have to travel an hour to get to the site and an hour home.  We would do our best to make the session of interest but sometimes, there were sessions that only applied to a subset of the population. 

    With the virtual event we were able to tell the attendees the topics, why they should care or how it impacts them.  If the topic did not apply to them, they were able to do other things and return for the next session. 

    Cognos User Group Geography

    Our clients are all over the US and some internationally.  In the past we could not serve all our clients, so we focused our user groups on locations with a large cluster of clients.  We can now serve our IBM Cognos users even in the most geographically remote locations.

    Cognos User Group Flexibility 

    Most IBM Cognos BI or TM1 Administrators are very busy and often manage multiple systems, not just IBM.  It is not uncommon for them to get the emergency email or text and they must drop everything.  Lodestar Solutions understands our client’s needs, and so we prerecorded our session and let everyone know if they had to drop off, they could come back and watch the part they missed.  Cognos Administrators loved this feature and we discovered that they would leave, address the issue and return.  I believe that if we had not let them know they could watch what they missed; they probably would not have returned for the Q&A sessions.  

    Virtual User Group

    Five Tips to Hosting a Successful Virtual IBM Cognos & TM1 User Group

    We appreciate that there have been local Cognos BI and TM1 user groups all over the world.  Lodestar Solutions also understands that many IBM Analytics User Groups have been forced to suspend their meetings and look for another way.  So, we thought we would share what we did and how to host a successful Virtual IBM Cognos and TM1 User group.

    1. Cognos Content in Small Bites

    The first thing is to plan your content in small bite size chunks, no more than 30-45 minutes per session. Once you have a list of your topics and speakers you will want to organize your agenda in a logical order.  For our Lodestar User Group, we hosted all the Planning Analytics/ TM1 sessions first, followed by TM1 Technical.  Then we moved into BI Technical, followed by other Cognos Analytics sessions.  This allowed people to join when the content applied to them.

    2. Prerecord the Sessions

    We prerecorded the sessions and hosted them on our training site, which is Kajabi.  You could put them on YouTube as well.  The reason we prerecorded is we wanted to ensure there were no technical issues with a presenter’s internet.  We were also able to edit the videos before posting.  We use Camtasia for editing.  You can get a free trial at here.

    3. Zoom for Introductions and Q&A

    We used Zoom for our user group.  All attendees joined by Zoom, then we guided them to our training portal where our sessions where prerecorded.  By zooming we were able to go on camera to create connections during our introductions and were able to answer questions as they came up about connecting to the sessions.  After each session they returned to Zoom for a live question and answer session with the presenter. 

    4. Networking Session with Breakout Rooms

    To further connections with our community we scheduled networking sessions after each topic area like Planning Analytics.  Through Zoom we divided all the attendees into breakout rooms and gave them a series of short questions to discuss with the group.  This allowed Cognos power users to connect with other power users they may never have met.  We also assigned a moderator to each room to ensure everyone had a chance to speak.  Our Cognos clients loved the breakout rooms and said they wish they had more of them.  Not sure how to use breakout rooms? Check out this blog

    5. User Success Story Sessions

    To add more value, we wanted to have a couple clients share their success stories.  But we know our clients do not have a lot of time to prepare a slide deck and presentation, so we made it easy.  We sent our Client Presenters a list of interview questions.  We then scheduled a time to record a zoom session where we asked the questions.  It was in an interview format.  The attendees loved hearing the stories and seeing the interaction.  The feedback was it was a lot better than a boring power point.  We were able to edit the interviews to get them down to the time allotted and upload them as a session on our portal. 

    For More Information

    So, are you looking to join a Cognos Analytics BI or Cognos Planning Analytics User Group?

    For more information on the Lodestar Solutions Client User group, email us at  Another good resource for finding user groups is on the IBM Community site.  Another option to check out for Cognos groups is

    If you are looking to organize an IBM User Group, we recommend you follow our Five Tips to Hosting a Virtual IBM Cognos and TM1 User Group so you can ensure success for your event. 

    To learn more of our tips and tricks be sure to check out all our blogs on our website, or sign up for our Lodestar Solutions Knowledge Center