Have You Secured Funding Yet? It’s Budgeting Season, Secure Funding Now For IBM Cognos

Have You Secured Funding Yet?  It's Budget Season.  
Secure Funding Now for IBM Cognos!

Do you need process improvement and require funds for Cognos consulting or need additional IBM Cognos licenses? Now is the time to reach out and get your funding in the budget! Far too often we see companies that have a need for a new software solution and services, but they don't factor it in their budget. As a result, this pushes their initiatives out another year!

We all know it's that time of year: budgeting season! So now that budgeting season is ramping up for most companies it is time to reach out to Lodestar Solutions. You need to solidify IBM Cognos software quotes, Cognos upgrade consulting resources, etc. Therefore, it's more beneficial to get what you think you'll need next year in your budget and secure funding now for IBM Cognos!

What You Need to Consider 

Here at Lodestar, we are big believers in helping you realize the importance of how to secure funding now for IBM Cognos. We have found with several clients the earlier you have these software and services conversations the easier it is to get them approved. Hence the longer you wait the less likely you are to get what you want.

In summary, think about it this way, it's kind of like saying what you want for the holidays now. If you don't start thinking about it and talking about it you're just going to get an ugly sweater you will never wear (no one wants that). You want to make sure to cover all topics: net new install or upgrade consulting,  IBM Cognos licenses, training and Cognos consulting services for next phases, etc. You want to get estimates now to put in your budget. Remember, it's all about securing funding now for IBM Cognos!

Budget to Upgrade to Cognos Analytics

Looking to upgrade to Cognos Analytics?   Don't forget Cognos BI 10.2 is unsupported after April 2018! Link to details on Cognos BI 10.1 Support.

To help build your budget, check out our complimentary Cognos Analytics Upgrade Evaluation Kit.  

Challenged to get funding?  ​See our blog on 5 Steps to Get Funding.

In conclusion, email us at Sales@Lodestarsolutions.com to set up a call to discuss your needs in 2018. Furthermore, we will provide free estimates for your IBM Cognos licensing needs, Cognos upgrades and services needs to get the most out of your analytic solutions.

Simplifying Maintenance of Cognos Planning Access Tables w/ D-Cubes

USING COGNOS PLANNING ANALYST D-CUBES TO CREATE CONTRIBUTOR ACCESS TABLES

Are you a Cognos Planning client looking to simplify maintenance of your system? As a business analytics consultant specializing in Planning, I despise the maintenance of access tables. It seems like the process is still living in the 1970s. As a result, we are sharing with you today how to simplify maintenance of Cognos Planning Access Tables with D-Cubes. This technique allows for creating and updating Cognos Planning Access Tables by just changing the data values in an Cognos Planning Analyst D-Cube. I believe this is way better than manually maintaining the Access Tables in Cognos Planning!

The Challenge:

First of all, managing Access Tables for large and highly distributed Cognos planning models can be a labor-intensive and time consuming process. This is especially the case when the access rights change frequently. The Contributor Administration Console - Access Tables editor interface can be a royal pain.

The Solution:

Use an IBM Cognos Planning Analyst cube to manage access and update the Contributor Admin Access Tables. Once you create the Analyst D-Cube, you will be able to assign and maintain the data in the cube then export the cube data and import it into Contributor Admin. You can even put the process in a macro to automate it. This method is so much easier, more visual, and flexible. At least that’s my opinion. If you have simple access tables that don’t change, you might just want to use the Contributor Admin Console.

Setting Up Components in Cognos Planning Analyst

Step1 - Create a D-list with 3 items: READ, WRITE, and HIDDEN as shown below:

cognos planning

Please note that you might want to consider also using NO DATA in your d-list.

Step 2 – Create the Access Table cube in IBM Cognos Planning – Analyst by choosing the dimensions on which access levels will be determined.

cognos planning

An example of the Access Table in Contributor Admin is shown above.

In this example, we will create a cube with 2 dimensions (AcctsIncStmt and the e.List). To format this cube for consumption by Contributor Administration Console as an imported Access Table, a D-Cube format is applied. Make sure the D-Cube is open and active. From the Analyst drop-down menus choose: D-Cube > Format. For format type, choose D-List and select the D-List created in Step1. This will leverage the option of Read, Write and Hidden (No Data).

cognos planning

Above the rows correspond to AcctsIncStmt and the columns correspond to the e.List. Page holds the access [READ/WRITE/NODATA/HIDE] because we set up the format as the D-List formatted.

Step 3 Populate the cells in the cube.

The Analyst D-Cube can be populated manually, automatically via d-link, automatically via formula or some combination of the aforementioned. Note that while not every cell needs to be populated, a default access level can be specified when importing this Access Table into Contributor. Any blank values will be populated with the default access level, in this case NO DATA.

"So what's the next step in the process?"

Step 4 – Exporting the Access Table from IBM Cognos Planning - Analyst

Now that the Access Table D-cube has been created and populated, the next step is to export the table from IBM Cognos Planning Analyst in a format that the Cognos Planning Contributor Admin understands. This is accomplished by having the Access Table D-cube you created open and then selecting D-Cube from Analyst Main Menu bar and then choosing Export Selection involves only the items needed for the Access Table. Choose the following options from the Export D-Cube settings:

cognos planning

a) Select Ascii File and then click the ellipsis to set the export file location; b) In the Format box Select Tab as the separator c) Format Column Headings None d) In the Groups box Select Multiple Column e) In the Dimension Order box ensure that the detail dimension is first, the e-list dimension is second (if applicable), and the data dimension is last. The dimension order MUST correspond to the order required by the Access Table.

In order to suppress items that have not been granted READ, WRITE, HIDDEN or NO DATA access levels. Click on the Zeros tab and highlight the line that represents Rows. When the import is executed, the Base Level Access will be set to NO DATA and any untagged dimension items will be set to NO DATA in the Contributor access table.

cognos planning

Import The Exported File Into Contributor Admin

Now that you’ve created the Export file from the Analyst D-Cube defining the access levels, you will import the Access Table data into IBM Cognos Planning – Contributor. To import the tab-delimited file that was created above, open Cognos Planning – Contributor Administration Console, expand the Datastores, expand the application, expand Development, expand Access Tables and Selections, and choose Access Tables.

In Access Tables, select the correct dimension and cubes that the access table will be applied to and select the Import access table radio button. If you are using the eList in the access table, check the Include e.List checkbox.

cognos planning

Next, click the Add button. After the new row has been added, select it and click on the Import button. Click the ellipsis to select the file that was exported from IBM Cognos Planning – Analyst. Choose the Base Access Level that will be applied to the access table that is being imported. You might want to select NO DATA, which will result in NO DATA being applied to any items not defined in the import file. Also, ensure that Options – Import is checked. First row contains columns headers should remain unchecked.

cognos planning

After these selections have been made, click OK and the import should run with no errors. This will stage the updates to the access table but before they are applied in Contributor you will need to run a GTP process.

Note: View of the Access Table is a different order than the order required by the import file.

cognos planning

Automate It

Once you set this process up, you could automate it with a macro. By leveraging an Analyst D-Cube to define the access table you will simplify the maintenance. This is recommended when you have complex access tables, they change often or they just seem inefficient.

In conclusion, these are a few short steps you can create a cube to define and maintain access tables in Analyst, export the definitions and import them into the Contribution Administrator. For more information on Cognos Planning check out the IBM knowledge center for the latest product documentation and user guides.

There's Got To Be A Better Way...

Let’s now talk about how challenging it can be to define the security in Cognos Planning. The maintenance time of just waiting for the GTP processes to run can be frustrating. But there is an alternative. You know IBM has a more powerful planning and budgeting solution, called TM1 (Performance Management). The beauty of TM1 is that assigning security even down to the cell level is much easier. You can make changes in your model and not even have to do a sync or GTP process!

Here at Lodestar Solutions, we feel the future of Cognos Planning is in question! So, we encourage you to start considering and defining your migration to a better tool. Check out our blog on the benefits of TM1 over Cognos Planning to learn more information.

Lodestar Solutions wants you to be educated, so we created a library of videos that will help you evaluate TM1. Check out our Move to TM1 Program to get access to our library of videos and templates and there is NO COST TO YOU. Finally, if you have specific questions, please contact us at Coaching@lodestarsolutions.com and one of our analytics coaches will get right back to you.

For more tips and tricks regarding Cognos Planning...

If you learned something from this blog, we encourage you to refer back to the previous tips in this series.

Check out Tip #1 on what your future plans should be for Cognos Planning by CLICKING THIS LINK.

For Tip #2 on the questions most asked by Cognos Planning clients, learn more by CLICKING THIS LINK.

Refer back to Tip # 3 on simplifying D-List maintenance by CLICKING THIS LINK.

The previous Tip #4 regarding the re-ordering your E-List can be found by CLICKING THIS LINK.

For Tip #5 on why your cubes may not be opening, CLICK THIS LINK to learn more.

Check out Tip #6 on how to zero out data in Planning Contributor, CLICK THIS LINK.

And for our final Tip #7 on making an analyst library copy in Cognos Planning, visit our previous blog by CLICKING THIS LINK.

How to Copy and Archive Cognos Planning Models

Help! I Need to Make an Analyst Library Copy in Cognos Planning.

That time of the year is approaching when you either need to rollover your budget or you need to create new Cognos Planning Models. This requires you to make a Cognos Planning Analyst library copy. We have some clients also asking, “Can you remind me how to copy and Archive Cognos Planning Models?” However, before we start with some instructions and tips to creating a Cognos Planning Model Analyst library copy, let’s talk about a few key points.

This approach may or may not be useful for Production libraries. Deleting the objects will also delete the data. However, not deleting the objects could result in objects remaining in the Production library that are no longer needed or used. Depending on the timing, it may be better to create a new production library into which the Development objects are copied. The prior Production Cognos Planning Models library could serve as an archive or historical library.

D-Links, Reports, and Macros...

Inter-library D-Links (source and target have different libraries), reports (linkage between more than one library), and macros (objects referenced reside in more in than one library) will require additional steps. D-Lists, which reside in a library other than where the associated d-cubes reside, will also require additional steps. However, at this point in time, the only inter-library D-cube D-list references are to the d-lists found in the Dev Common.

If unsure of the contents of a library, it is best to check the integrity. Checking the integrity of the Cognos Planning Models library will alert one to objects in other libraries with which the current library shares a reference(s).

To Check the Integrity of Objects in Cognos Planning Models...

In Analyst, go to File/Library/Objects and select the Appropriate Library. Select the Appropriate Object type. In most cases, All should be selected. It is possible to check the integrity of a specific object(s). In that instance, move only the object(s) against which an integrity check needs to be run.

Move All Objects to the bottom half of screen via the down arrow icon in middle of screen.

cognos planning models

Select the highlighted exclamation point in the middle of the screen to check the integrity. Depending on the size of library, this process could take a minute or two for completion.

cognos planning models

The following screen will appear. Review the results of the screen, especially for unexpected references e.g. a d-link saved to the source library, not the target library. It is usually most helpful to look at the Probable and Suspects. Required can also be helpful but keep in mind that if a d-cube is required, it will also list all the d-lists and even d-list formats required.

A determination needs to made for any references to other libraries; should the reference be broken/severed, copied or moved as is, copied to a new library so that the referenced item(s) is (are) updated or modified in some other manner.

cognos planning models

To Delete Objects From Library - Cognos Planning Models:

File/Library/Objects. Select the appropriate Library. With referential integrity of the system, it is usually necessary to delete objects in order:

  1. Reports

  2. Macros

  3. D-Links

  4. A-Tables

  5. Save Selections

  6. D-Cubes

  7. D-Lists

  8. File Maps (as they can be used to update d-lists)

  9. Formats

Next, select the Object Type and move the objects to the bottom half of screen via the down arrow icon in middle of screen. It is possible to delete all objects from a library at the same time by moving the objects to the bottom half of the screen based on the order above. However, the “All Objects” method works best with self-contained, uncomplicated libraries.

cognos planning models
cognos planning models

Select the Red X in the middle of the screen to delete the objects.

If the Object cannot be deleted due to references to other objects, a message similar to the one below will be returned:

cognos planning models

The reference(s) must be broken before the object can be deleted. (In some instances the referenced object can be deleted at the same time.)

If the object can be deleted, the following message will be returned. Select Yes to complete the deletion.

cognos planning models

Follow the steps above until all objects have been deleted.

To Copy Objects - Cognos Planning Models:

File/Library/Objects and select the Appropriate Library. Select the Object Type. All Objects or Specific Objects can be selected.

To aid in filtering out objects that should not be copied, most notably the “z’d” objects, click on the filter icon (funnel with an =) at the top of the screen.

cognos planning models

Under the Name drop down, select either <> or =.  As noted, * is the wildcard so <> z* will return all objects that do not begin with z. (It is possible to use *criteria* if the string may be found anywhere within the objects’ name.) Select Okay.

All items not beginning with a z are returned.

Move the objects to the bottom half of screen via the down arrow icon in middle of screen.

Cognos Planning Models

Select the Copy icon from the middle of the screen.

cognos planning models

Select the Target Library (the library to which the objects will be copied) and ensure the BETWEEN and FROM boxes are checked.

Ok....what's next?

If D-cubes already exist in the target library and the data in those D-cubes should not be overwritten, also select Do not overwrite existing D-Cube data. The structure (D-lists comprising the D-cube, D-cube itself, and D-links referencing it) will be updated with the results of the copy but the underlying data will not be copied over. Data integrity may be lost if the underlying structure of the new cube differs from the existing cube i.e. new calculations or items no longer on a D-list.

cognos planning models

If objects with the same name are found to already exist in the target library, the following warning will be returned. The name of the object must be identical. If a D-list originally named fund is renamed funds, Analyst will not recognize the rename during the copy and both objects will exist in the target library.

Answering Yes will overwrite the existing objects with the new objects. Answering no will stop the copy process.

​If target items should not be replaced, the items need to be removed from the source copy. Select Cancel from the copy window.

cognos planning models

Remove the objects from the bottom half of the selection screen by using the up arrow.

cognos planning models

Once the list of objects to be copied has been modified, proceed as before. Once the initial copy has been completed, the newly copied D-links need to have their source modified to reflect the same environment i.e. training, development, production.

To Modify a D-Links Source

Using the File/Library/Object* method (see previous), select the D-links to be copied.

  • *File/Library/D-Links can also be used in this instance.

Note: Any D-links with a source existing in another library are prefixed with i*_. Integrated Expense D-links have a prefix of ie_. The filter (see previous) can be used to select the relevant D-links.

The Copy default is the BETWEEN option. Leave the default [BETWEEN] and select the original source library. If there is more than one source library for the set of D-links, each must be handled separately.

cognos planning models

Once the D-Links are copied to the original source library, select them [from the original source library] and copy them to the corresponding source library in the new environment e.g. from Dev TA Revenue to Training TA Revenue.

Ensure both BETWEEN and FROM are selected.

cognos planning models

Once the D-Links are copied to the new source library, select them [from the new source library].

Select the move icon from the middle of the window.

cognos planning models

Move them to the corresponding target library in the new environment e.g. from Training TA Revenue to Training Integrated Expense.

What's the next step?

Delete the D-Links from the original source library (the library to which the D-link were copied in step 1.) Step 1 can be done via Move instead of copy. Steps 2 through 4 remain the same regardless. Steps 1 through 4 can also be used to modify Reports with links to other libraries and Macros with objects in other libraries.

If a D-cube has D-lists residing in other libraries and the D-list references need to be modified, copy the D-cube using only BETWEEN objects, to the library in which the D-lists reside (Step 1). Copy the D-cube and the associated D-list(s) to the new D-list source library (Step 2) using BETWEEN and FROM. Move the D-cube back to the ‘D-cube starting’ library (Step 3). Delete the D-cube only from the D-list’s original source library (Step 4).

If self-contained libraries are desired, use the Copy Wizard. File/Library/Copy.

If additional information is needed before deleting an object, determine which objects are used by the object. Use the Show Using icon.

cognos planning models

If additional references are needed, select the down arrow or level 1 through 4.

cognos planning models

An alternative to using the Show Using option to determine the target and source of a D-link is to select the D-links and move them to the bottom of the window. This can be used to quickly determine if the aforementioned process was successful.

Finally, and to save paper, select print preview and view the source and target of the D-links on the screen.

cognos planning models

If you are looking for more reference material check out the IBM Cognos Planning documentation on IBM’s site.

So WHY this need to copy libraries so often? Is there a better solution?

Are you running out of size in Cognos Planning Models? You can’t even add one more year to the model without blowing it up? Maybe you have too many sales people and just need to break your sales model into two separate applications? Well, the writing is on the wall! You have outgrown your Cognos Planning Models!

The good news, however, is IBM has an even better solution for you! IBM Cognos Performance Management, more commonly known as TM1, handles MUCH bigger models! It has the ability to hold 256 dimensions in a single cube.

We encourage you to start considering and defining your migration to a better tool. We suggest hopping over to our blog to learn the benefits of TM1 over Cognos Planning.

A 24/7 Video Library At No Cost To You....

Lodestar Solutions is also creating a library of videos and templates that will help you evaluate TM1. Check out our Move to TM1 Program where there is NO COST TO YOU! If you do, however, have specific questions, please contact us at coaching@lodestarsolutions.com and one of our analytics coaches will reach out to you.

Lodestar Solutions is working to educate readers with our blogs so we encourage you to refer back to the previous tips in this series....

Check out Tip #1 on what your future plans should be for Cognos Planning by CLICKING THIS LINK.

For Tip #2 on the questions most asked by Cognos Planning clients, learn more by CLICKING THIS LINK.

Refer back to Tip # 3 on simplifying D-List maintenance by CLICKING THIS LINK.

The previous Tip #4 regarding the re-ordering your E-List can be found by CLICKING THIS LINK.

For Tip #5 on why your cubes may not be opening, CLICK THIS LINK to learn more.

And for last week's Tip #6 on how to zero out data in Planning Contributor, CLICK THIS LINK.

How to Zero Out all of the Data in Cognos Planning!

Are You Looking for a Simple Way to Zero Out Data in Cognos Planning Contributor?

Do you need to reset a cube to zero in order to clear out all the data in the contributor so users can start over? Maybe you are updating processes and you require a reset of your cubes in Contributor? Below, we will share how to zero out all of the data in Cognos Planning on a per cube basis only.

It’s an all or nothing option – every cell within a cube will be set to zero. Please note that the option to zero out only a selection of the cube like a version, does not exist. However, you can run an Analyst to Contributor link to zero out a selection of the Cognos Planning Cube. For more information on zeroing out a selection check out this IBM link on how to zero out contributor dcube data on the web. Before you run this process, please ensure your users are ok with a complete reset of the cube to zero.

Steps to Zero Out Data in Cognos Planning Contributor

The first step in zeroing out all of the data in Cognos Planning Contributor is to go to Cognos Planning Contributor Administration. Next, select the appropriate application as noted below. Make sure you have the right application! Then, inside the development folder, go to the import section and select the prepare tab. Next, check the zero data box next to the appropriate cube and click the prepare button at the bottom. These steps are noted below in the screen shot.

Cognos Planning

After you click prepare, the following message will appear.

If you then click on the Job Management folder for the application, you will see the Prepare_Import job running. Once complete, you will need to run a GTP process. (Go to production) by clicking the green arrow at the top. Please note that if you forget to run the GTP process, it will not zero the data out until you do.

ZERO OUT THE DATA QUEUE

There may be a situation arise when you load data via a Cognos Planning Analytics to Contributor link. Then, after you ran the link, you realized you didn't want to process the data all the way to Contributor. Don't worry. You can zero out the data queue. This will basically delete the staged date before you send it to Production. A couple important notes about this process. This should NOT be used in conjunction with the aforementioned Zero Data in a Contributor Model procedure. Reason being that it would result in deleting the import queue created by the previous prepare_import job and the data would not zero.

Steps to Zero Out the Data Queue

The first step is to go to Cognos Planning and then the Contributor Administration area. Then select the appropriate application as noted below. Next, go to the development folder and select import data area. Select the prepared data blocks tab and choose delete import queue. This will delete the staged or prepared data blocks. Also note that a Go To Production process is not required for this action. If you need to, you can fix the data in Cognos Planning Analyst and rerun the Analyst to Contributor link with the good data.

Cognos Planning

Hopefully this helps you understand how to zero out all of the data in Cognos Planning! My recommendation when you do this type of maintenance in Cognos Planning is to always FOCUS! Shut down your email and turn off your phone! I learned that lesson the hard way.

Some food for thought...

If you really want to simplify the maintenance of your budgeting and forecasting models, you should absolutely consider looking at TM1. At Lodestar Solutions, we feel the future of Cognos Planning is in question! Hence, we encourage you to start considering and defining your migration to a better tool. Check out our blog to learn the benefits of TM1 over Cognos Planning.

Lodestar Solutions is wanting you to be educated, so we are creating a library of videos that will help you evaluate TM1. Check out our Move to TM1 Program to get access to our library and don’t forget that there is NO COST TO YOU for this program.

If you have specific questions, please contact us at Coaching@lodestarsolutions.com and one of our analytics coaches will contact you.

If you learned something from this blog, we encourage you to refer back to the previous tips in this series....

Check out Tip #1 on what your future plans should be for Cognos Planning by CLICKING THIS LINK.

For Tip #2 on the questions most asked by Cognos Planning clients, learn more by CLICKING THIS LINK.

Refer back to Tip # 3 on simplifying D-List maintenance by CLICKING THIS LINK.

The previous Tip #4 regarding the re-ordering of your E-List can be found by CLICKING THIS LINK.

For Tip #5 on why your cubes may not be opening, CLICK THIS LINK to learn more.

Help! Emergency! My Cognos Planning Cubes are Not Opening!

Help! Emergency! My Cognos Planning Cubes Are Not Opening!

As a business analytics coach with over 15 years of experience implementing Enterprise Cognos Planning, I often get calls from clients saying, “Help! Emergency! My Cognos Planning cubes are not opening! What do I do?"

IBM Cognos Planning has performance and memory issues. This happens when the size of the Cognos Planning cubes or contributor models you’re opening includes large amounts of data. Cognos Planning was built on a distributed architecture. This means when the end users & contributors open their models, it downloads the data appropriate to them to their machine. When the end user changes the data, the system is using the memory of the end users machine to calculate the new values. If the end users’ laptop doesn’t have a lot of memory, this is when we get the help and emergency calls.

When the end user or contributor hits “save” or “submit”, the changed values are then sent back to the server.

cognos planning cubes

Back in the day, the distributed architecture was how Adytum (Cognos Planning's predecessor) was a leader in deploying budgeting & forecasting solutions to end users over the web. However today, we desire more data so we add items and dimensions till our models blow up in size, causing memory errors. Unfortunately, IBM Cognos Planning has size limitations. If you are trying to open multiple nodes at the same time or very large Cognos Planning Cubes in Analyst, you are very likely to have memory issues.

There are a number of solutions to this problem. Our recommendation is to start looking for a long term solution and we will discuss the option of moving to TM1/ Performance Management as a long term solution in just a moment.

Cognos Planning Cubes Not Opening - Quick Fix

Short term fixes for Cognos Planning Cube Memory errors include:

1. Add more memory to the power user and end user machines.

2. Leverage the “No Data” setting on the access tables to cut down what is passed to the contributors. See IBM site for information on No-Data Setting.

3. Another tip is to add dummy nodes in your elist so you can open fewer nodes at one time.

This is where reality sets in. With today’s increased demand for data, the issue ends up being bigger than just adding more memory.

IBM Cognos Planning is outdated technology!

The good news is that IBM does have a solution for you. TM1, also called IBM Performance Management, was purchased in 2007 for its tremendous calculation engine. Over the years, IBM has merged the things we love about IBM Cognos Planning and the powerful 64 bit in memory calculation engine of TM1. As a result, it is a powerful solution that can be deployed to a large number of users, while eliminating the memory issues Cognos Planning has inherently.

The calculations are done on the server as opposed to the end users machine. TM1 allows for large cubes and faster response times. Lodestar Solutions is successfully migrating many clients from Cognos Planning to TM1. Many of them are now able to merge multiple Planning applications, which were previously broken down because of size issue, into a single TM1 model. This is reducing their maintenance and eliminating the Cognos Planning Cube memory issue.

Benefits of IBM Cognos TM1

There are so many benefits to moving to TM1 we can’t cover them all here. Wouldn’t you like a more powerful tool that handles much larger models and doesn’t require time consuming Sync and Go To Production processes? IBM Cognos Performance Management TM1 is a much more flexible solution.

​Here at Lodestar Solutions, we feel the future of Cognos Planning is in question! We encourage you to start considering and defining your migration to a better tool. Check out our blog on the benefits of TM1 over Cognos Planning.

In addition, Lodestar Solutions is wanting you to be educated, so we are creating a library of videos that will help you evaluate TM1. Check out our Move to TM1 Program to get access to our library. There is NO COST TO YOU!

If you have specific questions, please contact us at Coaching@lodestarsolutions.com and one of our analytics coaches will contact you.

If you are learning valuable tips from this blog, we encourage you to refer back to the previous tips in this series....

Check out Tip #1 on what your future plans should be for Cognos Planning by CLICKING THIS LINK.

For Tip #2 on the questions Cognos Planning client are asking, learn more by CLICKING THIS LINK.

Refer back to Tip # 3 on simplifying D-List maintenance by CLICKING THIS LINK.

The previous Tip #4 regarding the re-ordering your E-List can be found by CLICKING THIS LINK.

The Secret to Reordering Your Cognos Planning E-list

The Secret to Reordering Your Cognos Planning E-list

Have you ever tried reordering your Cognos Planning E-list and wondered, ”What the Heck is going on?” For years, I have told clients the E-list in Cognos Planning is the spine of your Cognos Planning Contributor model. Furthermore, you can avoid having surgery by reordering it. But sometimes you just have to reorder the E-List so that the data rolls up properly for the reviewers. So, here are your secrets to reordering your Cognos Planning E-list.

Let's begin...

In our example, we notice that location 0695.00.00 Rockingham NC is in the original E-list but it rolls up to 0001- FS1- System Improvement and therefore to Direct Projects. We need 0695.00.00 Rockingham NC to roll up to 0000- Corporate instead of to Direct Projects.

cognos planning e-list
cognos planning e-list

You will notice that 0695.00.00 Rockingham NC already has some data entered and we don’t want to lose the data the end users entered. Notice data entered and saved Employee Hours Cube Budget Version.

cognos planning e-list

When we look at the Cognos Planning D-List in Analyst, we see our 0695.00.00 Rockingham NC is in the middle of the list.

cognos planning e-list

However, we see 0695.00.00 Rockingham NC is included in the calculation for 0001- FS1 System Improvement. We will need to fix that because we want it to roll up to the 0000- COR -Corporate node instead.

cognos planning e-list

Note that the Calculation Order is important. See how 0695 is at the top of the 0001 calculation above. The order of the calculation determines the Contributor E-List order as you can see below.

cognos planning e-list

"Ok....what's next?"

We determined earlier that we needed to move 0695.00.00 Rockingham NC so that it rolls up to 0000- COR – Corporate. So let’s go look again at the calculations in the D-List in Cognos Planning Analyst. We will need to remove 0695.00.00 Rockingham NC from the 0001 Calculation by deleting it from the calculation and click Apply then Save.

cognos planning e-list

Now we need to add 0695.00.00 Rockingham NC to 0000 calculation. Once it’s added manually, move it to assure the item will be in the order you want it in the calculation because that’s the order that will be displayed in the Cognos Planning Contributor. Remember to save your work. See below.

cognos planning e-list

The next step is to Export D-List from Analyst as an E-List. Select Text to Column creating a .txt file in Excel. Now return to Cognos Planning Contributor Administration and expand the E-list folder for the application to see the structure. Click Import as a .txt file. Make sure there are no errors or warnings received during import. The Cognos Planning E-list is now updated and its appearance is based on the calculation order, not D-list item order in analyst. Notice that 0695.00.00 Rockingham NC now rolls up to 0000 COR- Corporate. However, we are not done yet.

cognos planning e-list

You will need to complete the Go To Production Process (GTP) in the Cognos Planning Admin. Make sure you see only changes and no deletions, no destructive changes!

cognos planning e-list

As you can now see, 0695.00.00 Rockingham NC rolls up to 0000 COR – Corporate.

cognos planning e-list

Finally, you will see that as we open 0695.00.00 Rockingham NC, the data still exists. Due to our previous steps, you'll see we didn’t lose the work already completed by the end users.

cognos planning e-list

So, that’s the secret to reordering your Cognos Planning E-list and not losing data. Hopefully this information will help save you time and frustation with Cognos Planning.

"I still get frustrated and want to better use my time!"

Let’s now talk more about your time and frustrations with Cognos Planning! Did you know that IBM has a much more powerful tool? One that handles much larger models! It doesn’t require time consuming Sync and Go To Production processes. Furthermore, it does not require the E-list. IBM Cognos Performance Management TM1 is an extremely powerful tool that allows greater flexibility. Here at Lodestar Solutions, we feel the future of Cognos Planning is in question! IBM’s lifecycle page tells you how long IBM will support IBM Cognos Planning.

We encourage you to start considering and defining your migration to a better tool. To learn the benefits of TM1 over Cognos Planning check out our “Migrating From IBM Cognos Planning To TM1” blog.

Lodestar Solutions wants you to be educated as possible, so we created a library of videos that will help you evaluate TM1. We encourage you to check out our Move to TM1 Program. And if you have any specific questions, please contact us at Coaching@lodestarsolutions.com and one of our analytics coaches will contact you.

If you learned something from this blog, we encourage you to refer back to the previous tips in this series....

Check out Tip #1 on what your future plans should be for Cognos Planning by CLICKING THIS LINK.

For Tip #2 on the questions most asked by Cognos Planning clients, learn more by CLICKING THIS LINK.

Refer back to Tip #3 on how to simplify D-List maintenance by CLICKING THIS LINK.

Simplifying D-List maintenance with a D-Cube in Cognos Planning

Are you looking to simplify D-List maintenance?

Simplifying D-List maintenance with a D-Cube in Cognos Planning can save you time and frustrations. Do you spend a lot of time maintaining your models and not have very much time for analyzing? Using a D-Cube in Cognos Planning to create or maintain D-Lists could be the solution you are looking for to save time and ease frustration.

Steps For Using D-Cubes To Create or Maintain Your Cognos Planning D-List

Below is a summary of steps to using D-Cubes to create and/or maintain D-Lists.

Create an All items D-List – This is a D-List that contains all source items. Later, we will show you how to filter this list to a subset which will reflect your new list. This could be accounts, locations, departments, etc. For this blog, we will be using GL accounts as you can see below. You may want to create this with a link to an OBDC connection or your source file.

cognos planning

Next, create a Yes / No D-List – This is a simple D-List of yes and no. When you create it, make sure you put the Yes first so the IID number is 1. We will use the IID in a calculation later.

cognos planning

Create a Calculation D-List – This list contains the calculations that will be used to determine which D-list will contain specific items from the All Items D-List you created in the first step. So basically, as we set the Y/N flag in the cube, that will determine when the account will be included. For example, if an account from the All Items DList has a yes next to Bal Sheet Flag, it will appear on the Balance Sheet D-List.

Ensure that 1 item of your calculation D-List is formatted as a D-List format selecting the All Items D-List. In our example, the Accounts item on the Calculation D-List is set to D-List format.

congos planning
congos planning

Create Flag Item(s) and D-List format with the Yes No Flag D-List - The flag items in the Calculation D-List will determine whether an item from the All Items D-List belongs to a particular D-List subset of items. In our example, we create Flags for the Balance Sheet Income Statement and Other Inc/Exp. The Flags will be assigned a Format of D-List Format.  You will select the Yes/No Flag you created earlier as the D-List for the format. Please note you will want to set all the “Flag” Items, like Income Statement Flag and Other Inc/Exp Flag, to D-List format selecting your Yes/No D-list.

cognos planning

The Next Step Is Calculating Items...

Create Calculation Items - The calculation is a conditional formula that is the secret sauce to simplifying D-List maintenance with a D-Cube in Cognos Planning. The calculation will look at the flag D-List item.  If it’s set to Yes, then it will use the respective account from the All Items D-List. If it is set to No or blank, it ignores the account from the All Items D-List.

​In our example, we put the calculation on the Balance Sheet item. Then, we used the calculation IF (Bal Sht Flag)=1 THEN Accounts ELSE 0. Please note that the 1 represents a Yes from our Yes No Flag D-List because that's the IID number for Yes. If you have added and deleted items or put No before yes in your Yes No Flag D-List, you may need to use a different number. If something seems off, look up the correct IID number from the Yes No Flag List. On the other hand, it might just be easier to create a new Yes No Flag making sure you put Yes first.

cognos planning
cognos planning

Now Set D-List Format Calculations with the [Step 1]All Items D-List - For the DList items in the calculcation D-List, you need to assign a D-List Format to all the calculation items. In our example, we will assign a D-List Format to our Balance Sheet, Income Statement, and Other Inc/Exp. The format will leverage the All Items D-List we created in step one. Please note the Flag line items should all have a D- List format using the Yes No format. Make sure you don’t assign them the wrong D-List Format.

cognos planning

Note: Additional items [or calculation items] can be added as needed if a hierarchical d-list is needed.

Create D-Cube – Create a new Cognos Planning D-Cube using the All items D-List you created in step 1 and the Calculation D-List you created.

cognos planning

"Ok...now what?"

Populate the D-Cube - You will now populate your cube so the accounts are listed from All Items D-List.

  • If the original source of the All Item D-List is a File Map, add a duplicate column and select the second/duplicate column as data. Then use a d-link to import the data.
  • If the original source of the All Item D-List is an ODBC connection, use a D-Link and create [via SQL] a new column from the original All Item column.
  • If it was manual, you will need to manually populate it.
cognos planning

Next, populate the Flag columns with a Yes [in the column(s) to which the row belongs. The name of the item in the row should populate the corresponding column. For example, if you put a Yes in the Bal Sht Flag column, the account should appear in the Balance Sheet Column. Remember to Save your work.

cognos planning

Create D-Lists that are a Subset of the All Items D-Dist – Now you will create D-Lists that represent the subset of the All Items D-List based on the values in the cube you just created.

Create/Update the Subset D-List(s) using the Import from D-Cube Data. Then select the appropriate “calculated item(s)” to import. (Don’t grab the flags). In our example, we select the Balance Sheet item so we can create the D-List for just the Balance Sheet items.

cognos planning

Ensure the All Items D-List is the row dimension and the Calc D-List is the Column.

cognos planning

Finally, ensure the Suppress Zero Rows box is checked - The first column shown is the row column from the D-Cube. In most instances, it should be skipped when selecting attributes. (The where setting depends on what type of order is needed for the d-list: alphabetical, hierarchical, etc.)

cognos planning

Congrats! You have set up the D-Lists needed. Also created is the D-Cube to define which accounts should be assigned to your new subset D-List. Furthermore, you can modify your subset D-List by just updating the information in the cube. Use this method to simplify D-List maintenance with a D-Cube in Cognos Planning. It can save you time and frustrations.

"What's the next step for us concerning Cognos Planning?"

It’s now time to talk more about your time and frustrations with Cognos Planning! Did you know that IBM has a much more powerful tool? One that handles much larger models! A tool that doesn’t require time consuming Sync and Go To Production processes. IBM Cognos Performance Management TM1 is an extremely powerful tool. It allows for an even easier way to maintain your account structures. Here at Lodestar Solutions, we feel the future of Cognos Planning is in question! IBM’s lifecycle page tells you how long IBM will support IBM Cognos Planning.

We encourage you to start considering and defining your migration to a better tool. To learn the benefits of TM1 over Cognos Planning check out our blog.

Lodestar Solutions wants you to be educated, so we are creating a library of videos that will help you evaluate TM1. Check out our Move to TM1 Program and remember that there is NO COST!

If you have specific questions, please contact us at Coaching@lodestarsolutions.com and one of our Analytic Coaches will get back to you.

If you learned something from this blog, we encourage you to refer back to the previous tips in this series....

Check out Tip #1 on what your future plans should be for Cognos Planning by CLICKING THIS LINK.

For Tip #2 on the questions most asked by Cognos Planning clients, learn more by CLICKING THIS LINK.

What IBM Cognos Planning Clients Ask about…

What IBM Cognos Planning Clients Ask about…

As you are looking at a new budget cycle, we are reminding you that it’s a great time to request funding for moving from Cognos Planning to TM1. As business analytics coaches with decades of Cognos Planning and TM1 experience, we are deciding to share what IBM Cognos Planning clients ask about.

The most common question IBM Cognos Planning clients ask about is, “How long will Cognos Planning be around?”

It is a great question and the rumor mill has been busy lately. You see, in July 2016, Lodestar’s IBM support renewal specialist discovered that IBM’s life cycle site stated that Cognos Enterprise Planning 10.1.x was tagged as EOS (End of Support) for Sept 2017. This is the site you go to find out how long IBM is going to support the product.

This is causing some alarm bells to go off. As a result, the Lodestar Solutions team asked IBM a lot of questions about their intentions for the older Cognos Planning product. Several of you out there were also alarmed and gave us a call. We never received a direct answer from IBM. However, they did update their website on August 3, 2016 to show that 10.1.0 is EOS in September 2017 but 10.1.1 still has life. Despite this, Lodestar Solutions strongly feels the writing is on the wall for the longevity of Cognos Planning.

cognos planning

What else do IBM Cognos Planning clients ask about?

They ask, “What are the benefits of Moving from IBM Cognos Planning to TM1?” There are so many benefits that this blog would be incredibly long if I mentioned them all. Let’s share the highlights:

  1. Huge cubes up to 256 dimensions in a single cube
  2. No Sync or Go To Production time to implement changes
  3. More powerful reporting with dashboards and scorecards
  4. Did I mention faster models?

For more benefits, check out our Migrating from IBM Cognos Planning blog.

They also ask, “Can’t the Cognos Planning licenses be used on TM1?” The answer is yes… sort of. You see, only your Enterprise Planning Contributors have rights as TM1 Users in TM1. However, you must purchase the Analytic Server license and at least one TM1 Modeler which is the power user license. In addition, please also take note that Cognos Enterprise Planning Contributors are only authorized for Enterprise TM1 and not Express. If you anticipate having less than 50 TM1 users, we should chat about your options. You may also check out the details on licensing in our Move to TM1 Program video.

If you have more questions on licensing, check out my LinkedIn post on 13 Common IBM Cognos TM1 Licensing Questions. Please share and like the post as we are looking to disseminate this valuable information with as many people as possible.

MOVE TO TM1 Program

For more details on the benefits of licensing, join our free Move to TM1 Program and gain access to our library of videos and templates. This library also includes a TM1 demo that shows the benefits over planning. To access our Move to TM1 Program, just click this link and you will be directed to our portal that has a video covering additional questions regarding “What IBM Cognos Planning Clients Ask About“. In this video, we answer real questions asked by clients to our Business Analytic Coaches. Some of the questions include:

  1. "I've heard Planning may be sunset soon. What does that mean?"
  2. "Can I just migrate my models over to TM1? Isn't there an Import feature?"
  3. "How hard is it to learn TM1 if I am an expert in Cognos Planning? Can I teach myself?"
  4. "My company is not going to give me funding for a lot of services. Do I really need consultants to move to TM1?"
  5. "Is there better reporting in TM1 than there is in Planning?"
  6. "I keep getting calls from IBM about moving to the cloud. Is it best to go to TM1 Cloud?"
  7. "What if I have Cognos Planning and Enterprise BI but I don't have a lot of users? Should I be looking at Cloud, Express, or Enterprise licensing?"
  8. "I've watched the videos in your portal. They are great but if I want to move to TM1, where should I start?"
  9. "How long will a migration to TM1 take?"
  10. "I've tried to get funding in the past and was told that we would have to review other tools as well as TM1. I've never done this before. Do you have any advice on what I should do?"
Cognos Planning

What's the next step?

After you watch our video on “What IBM Cognos Planning Clients Ask About”, the next step is to click the green button next to the video. You will then be asked to set up your free account with a name, email address and password.

You will then get access to our exclusive library of videos covering IBM TM1 Cloud (SaaS) vs ON premise, costs and benefits of moving from Planning to TM1, a demo of TM1, a ROI calculator, and more!

Once you are a member, you can return to the library at any time by going to our website www.lodestarsolutions.com and clicking the login button in the top right corner. If you have questions or comments, please add them to the videos and we will provide a response so everyone can see the answers.

If you want to speak with Heather or our service manager, Mike Bernaiche, directly, feel free to email us at coaching@lodestarsolutions.com or call 813-254-2040.

And if you enjoyed this tip, check out the previous info/tip on Cognos Planning by CLICKING THIS LINK

What Is The Future Of IBM Cognos Planning?

What is the future of Cognos Planning?

There are rumors flying around about “What is the Future of Cognos Planning?” I think IBM accidentally created the buzz in July 2016 when their website showed the lifecycle of Cognos Planning 10.1.x was having an EOS (End of Support) date of September 2017. Typically, an X means all.

This raises some alarm bells, so the Lodestar Solutions team started asking IBM a lot of questions about their intentions for the older Planning product. There are rumors out there that IBM might be selling Cognos Planning to a partner. However, it turns out those were just rumors but I would not rule it out. Unicom is known for buying products IBM doesn’t want any more like Cognos Finance.

Cognos Planning

We never did receive a direct answer from IBM when we asked, “What is the future of Cognos Planning?” However, IBM did update their website on August 3, 2016 to show that 10.1.0 is EOS (End of Support) in September 2017. It currently looks like IBM gave Cognos Planning 10.1.1 a longer life. How long is the million-dollar question. To find out how long IBM is going to support the IBM Cognos Enterprise Planning Product, use THIS LINK.

We think the writing is on the wall as to the future of Cognos Planning. We have heard it for years that TM1 is the go forward strategy for IBM’s budgeting and forecasting solution. Over the years, IBM has added so many kick butt features to TM1. This old Adaytum (the predecessor to Cognos Planning) consultant is wondering why clients are still on Cognos Planning.

I know for a fact there are a large number of companies still on Cognos Planning. So I have to ask you… how long are you going to wait? Do you not know the benefits of how much better your life can become by moving to TM1? For benefits on moving from Planning to TM1 check out our blog.

What are your options for Cognos Planning?

I get that it has not been a priority, but let’s play out your options…

  1. Act now and start to plan your migrations. Begin to ask for funding in your next budget process. You’re able to plan your resources around your schedule. The migration can begin and have your Cognos Planning system as a backup until you receive the new TM1 system just the way you need it.
  2. You wait and stay on your current Cognos Planning system. Memory challenges, size restraints & laborious maintenance, and inflexibility will just have to be tolerated. Then, one day, IBM announces that it is sun setting Cognos Planning forcing you to possibly run unsupported. (We never recommend running unsupported especially with the frequency of updates from Microsoft which can cause issues.) Worse yet, you have to scramble to find funding and resources at a time when all the other Cognos Planning clients are doing the same thing. Do I need to explain to you what happens to consulting rates when demand for consultant knowledge on Cognos Planning and TM1 skyrockets? I didn't think so.

So which option to you prefer? The great thing about Option 1 is you just have to start planning. To make it really easy, we have a little video on “What is the Future of Cognos Planning?” After you watch our video, the next step is to click the green button next to the video. You will then be asked to set up your free account with your name, email address and password.

Why sign up for our Move to TM1 Program?

This gives access to Lodestar Solutions’ Move to TM1 Program which consists of an exclusive library of videos and templates covering IBM TM1 Cloud (SaaS) vs on premise, Cost and benefits of moving from Planning to TM1, a demo of TM1, an ROI calculator, and much more.

Once you subscribe to our Move To TM1 Program, you can return to the library at any time by going to our website   LodestarSolutions.com and clicking the login button in the top right corner. If you have questions or comments, please add them to the videos and we will respond so everyone can see the answers.

If you wish to speak with one of our business analytics coaches or our service manager directly, email us at coaching@lodestarsolutions.com or call us at 813-254-2040.

Cognos Planning Blogs

Cognos Planning Blogs

Below is a   list of Cognos Planning (aka Adaytum, Enterprise Planning, EP, Contributor)  blogs. To search for a specific topic, use the search bar to the right.

Have You Secured Funding Yet? It’s Budgeting Season, Secure Funding Now For IBM Cognos
Have You Secured Funding Yet?  It's Budget Season.  Secure Funding Now for IBM Cognos!​Do you need process improvement and require[...]
Simplifying Maintenance of Cognos Planning Access Tables w/ D-Cubes
USING COGNOS PLANNING ANALYST D-CUBES TO CREATE CONTRIBUTOR ACCESS TABLESAre you a Cognos Planning client looking to simplify maintenance of[...]
How to Copy and Archive Cognos Planning Models
Help! I Need to Make an Analyst Library Copy in Cognos Planning.That time of the year is approaching when you[...]
How to Zero Out all of the Data in Cognos Planning!
Are You Looking for a Simple Way to Zero Out Data in Cognos Planning Contributor?Do you need to reset a[...]
Help! Emergency! My Cognos Planning Cubes are Not Opening!
Help! Emergency! My Cognos Planning Cubes Are Not Opening!As a business analytics coach with over 15 years of experience implementing[...]
The Secret to Reordering Your Cognos Planning E-list
The Secret to Reordering Your Cognos Planning E-listHave you ever tried reordering your Cognos Planning E-list and wondered, ”What the[...]
Simplifying D-List maintenance with a D-Cube in Cognos Planning
Are you looking to simplify D-List maintenance?Simplifying D-List maintenance with a D-Cube in Cognos Planning can save you time and[...]
What IBM Cognos Planning Clients Ask about…
What IBM Cognos Planning Clients Ask about…As you are looking at a new budget cycle, we are reminding you that[...]
What Is The Future Of IBM Cognos Planning?
What is the future of Cognos Planning?There are rumors flying around about “What is the Future of Cognos Planning?” I[...]
Cognos Planning Cubes Not Opening? It’s Your Memory!
​Cognos Planning Cubes Not Opening? It’s Your Memory!As a Business Analytics Coach with over 15 years of experience implementing Enterprise[...]
Easy Tips For Finding Hidden Cognos Planning Items
Most IBM Cognos Planning models have a lot of items that will be hidden over the web. These items are often used for calculations but do not need to be presented. To hide the item on the web, Contributor Administrators will set up saved selections and access tables for the hidden items.
Cognos Planning Assumption Cubes
Basically, you are able to update global rates in one place and populate them out to your elist nodes via an Admin Link. By using a Contributor Application, you have a bit more flexibility in what you are populating and you don’t have to Synch and GTP. By not having to do the Synch and GTP and depending on your model size, you may increase the speed of data population and since you are not Synchronizing with Analyst, you don’t have to bring over structural changes you are not ready to put in production.
Cognos Planning Collapsing Dimensions
If you have ever moved older models from IBM Cognos Planning to a new release, you may not have noticed the “Expand and Collapse” functionality which was added a few versions ago. Maybe older clients did not experience it because it’s only available if the dlist fits the rules for expand and collapse.
Cognos Planning 8.4.1 Clients with Contributor May Have TM1 Licenses
IBM recently announced a major licensing change in their Cognos Planning licensing. Clients that are on 8.4.1 of Cognos Planning and own Contributor, will receive an equivalent license for IBM Cognos TM1 Contributor. This is great news for clients looking to compliment Planning with TM1.
Announcement of Cognos Planning 8.4.1
IBM Cognos recently announced a licensing change in IBM Cognos 8 Planning Version 8.4.1 . If you weren’t anxiously awaiting the news like Lodestar was, I’ll bet you missed it. Why were we anxious for the announcement? It paves the way for IBM Cognos clients to leverage both Enterprise Planning and TM1 to provide the Best of the Best Planning solution at a reasonable price.
Naming Conventions for Cognos Planning D-List
The idea behind this is that when creating a D-Cube you create it putting the D-List in order of 1-5. This helps in priority conflicts of formulas and formats. Plus, when you browse the library the D-Lists are sorted by the type of D-List. Easy Right? Maybe yes, Maybe no. The naming convention is open to interpretation. If I have a D-List for Years and it has no calculations, is it a 4 or a 3? What about a D-List that has Current Year Budget, Prior Year Actual, and a variance between Current Year Budget and Prior Year Actual. Is this a 5 since it has versions or is it a 1 since there is a calculation? What about a D-List that was a 3 but I’ve recently included a subtotal in the D-List do I need to go back and rename this to a 2? The numbering method works great in a training class environment to help us learn the dimension order when creating the D-Cubes. After we learn the order, do we really need to number our dimensions?
Integrating Cognos Planning & BI – Dimension for Publish
Choosing the dimension for publish is one of the most critical steps in the Generate Framework Manager model process. The dimension chosen for publish will be treated as the Fact table in the publish process. In addition, the Generate Framework Model admin extension will model the dimension chosen for publish as the fact table. More simply put, the dimension chosen for publish will be your measure dimension.
Integrating Cognos Planning & BI – Reporting Applications
It is always important to consider any Business Intelligence requirements during the design of planning applications to ensure planned information is structured in such a way that it can be leveraged in Cognos BI. Anyone who has ever used planned information as a source for reporting will attest. That being said, it is not always possible to create a planning application that is both Planning and BI friendly. As a result, we have pioneered the concept of a reporting application to help bridge the gap between Planning and BI Requirements. I like to think of it as a mini data mart masked as a Cognos Planning application.
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