IBM Cognos Analytics for Office – PowerPoint Edition

IBM Cognos Analytics for Office – PowerPoint Edition
IBM Cognos Analytics for Office – PowerPoint Edition
Written by Mike Bernaiche, April 21st 2022

I am sure some of you reading can relate to this situation.  Management reporting is due each month and quarter and you spend hours searching for updated numbers and then copying or typing numbers into your PowerPoint presentation, hoping you grabbed the correct data points.  Then you complete your presentation, and someone adjusted a few numbers and now it must be redone.  Now you are working late on Friday to finish.  It is frustrating, I know, I have been in your shoes.  I have a wonderful solution for you, IBM Cognos Analytics for Office.  This product has been around for a long time, but you don’t see a lot written or shown on it.  If you could solve the issue above with a couple of clicks inside of PowerPoint, isn’t it worth it?  The best news is, if you own IBM Cognos Analytics you own IBM Cognos Analytics for Office.  All you need to do is install the product and anyone licensed with a user license or higher in Cognos Analytics has access.

What is IBM Cognos Analytics for Office?

IBM Cognos Analytics for Office provides the framework that leverages the business intelligence architecture, including security, metadata, and content storage.  This infrastructure helps you manage your Microsoft Office documents and monitor the financial performance of your organization.  Use the applications of IBM Cognos Office to create, view, and consume reports, analyses, and other business intelligence content using familiar Microsoft Office applications, such as Excel, PowerPoint, and Word.

What Data Can I Use?

In short, if the data is in Cognos Analytics you can embed it into PowerPoint, Word or connect with Excel.  What does that mean?  Flat files uploaded to Cognos, data base connections, Framework Manager models, Transformer models and Planning Analytics / TM1 models.  You will see in the below screen shot the contents of the team content area.  You can also use the “my folders” area as well.

What Data can be used for IBM Cognos Analytics for Office

How to Get Started

  1.  Install Cognos Analytics for Office on each user’s local machine and ensure that the IBM Framework for Office add in is enabled.  Installing IBM Cognos for Microsoft Office - IBM Documentation
  2. Click the connect button and set up your connection to your Cognos Analytics environment.  You will use your connection URL to your Cognos system.
  3. Click the IBM Cognos for Microsoft Office button and connect.  You should now see the tree of folders and packages in the task pane.

Now that the connection has been created, it is time to start to bring the data into PowerPoint.

  1.  You need to create the report objects in Cognos Analytics.  You create either a list or crosstab report for the data that is required in your presentation.
  2. Once the report is created simply save it to a location in team content or my content.
  3. Now start to create your presentation and go to the location in the task pain and select the report you need for the particular slide you are working on.
  4. Either double click or right click and insert report.
  5. You can add format options for the chart such as colors, dollar signs, bold type, etc. directly in Excel.
  6. Also, by changing the way you bring in the report you can create a chart and apply options to the charts directly inside of PowerPoint.
  7. Once you have completed your presentation you can simply refresh the data by clicking on the refresh data button in the IBM taskbar.

Examples:

Summary

As you can read it is pretty simple but powerful to use the IBM Cognos Analytics for Office add in.  You can save many hours of work by creating the templates and just refreshing the data each time you need to update the presentations.  If you need help or want to discuss, please reach out to services@lodestarsolutions.com.

Did you find this blog helpful?  If so, be sure to check out our website and see all our latest blogs.  We release a new blog each week full of helpful information for IBM Cognos licensing or on other Business Inteligence topics. Check us out at www.lodestarsolutions.com.

What You Need to Know When Moving IBM Cognos and Planning Analytics on the Cloud

What You Need to Know When Moving IBM Cognos and Planning Analytics on Cloud
Written by Heather L. Cole, March 23rd 2022

Are you wondering if you can move your IBM Cognos and Planning Analytics on a cloud?  Maybe your organization has an initiative to move all applications to Azure, AWS or IBM Cloud.  Or maybe you want IBM to do the work and maintain your environment to free up IT resources, so a Software as a Service (SAAS) would be better.  Today we will explain what you need to know when moving IBM Cognos and Planning Analytics on a cloud.

What are my cloud options for Cognos and IBM Planning Analytics TM1?

First you need to know that clouds come in many forms.  There are Software as a Service clouds, where the vendor maintains the environment, handles upgrades, backups…  And there are clouds where you are just outsourcing the hardware to Amazon, Microsoft or IBM and you use your licensing for the software and install the software in their clouds.  Under this cloud model, you will still need to handle upgrades, and patches.

IBM offers Cognos on Cloud as well as IBM Planning Analytics on Cloud which are their Software as a Service models.  They also allow you to put your regular licenses on a cloud that you maintain.

Migration to IBM’s Cognos on Cloud or IBM Planning Analytics on the Cloud

If you are looking to have IBM do most of the technical work to maintain your Planning Analytics or Cognos environment, you will want to explore their Software as a Service (SAAS) option.  IBM likes to change the names of their programs, but what you need to know is that IBM has a program that allows clients to migrate to the SaaS while maintaining their old environment for a period of time.  With the proper paperwork, they will give you dual entitlements for your on-premise and cloud subscription while you test and transition. 

Our older blog will help to provide you an overview, IBM’s Bridge to Cloud.

Timing of Migration to SaaS

Typically, you will want to explore moving to Cognos on Cloud or PA on cloud at least 3 months prior to your software support renewal to make it cost effective.  For details on cost and timing, email us at renewals@lodestarsolutions.com

Functionality Parity

Additionally, you will want to ensure that the IBM Cognos on Cloud or IBM Planning Analytics on Cloud has parity with your current environment and that all the functionality you need is in the SaaS version.  Previous cloud versions were missing some functionality.  For example, earlier versions of Cognos on Cloud only allowed for DQM (Dynamic Query Mode) and CQM was not available.  I will not go into the details on CQM and DQM here, but you should check out these IBM resources:

Can I move my existing IBM Cognos & TM1 Licensing to a 3rd Party Cloud?

Yes, the good news is IBM allows you to move your “perpetual” or on-premise licensing for IBM Cognos and Planning Analytics TM1, anywhere!  A perpetual IBM Planning Analytics or Cognos license is an asset you purchased that you could use indefinitely.  However, to get access to download the latest version to move to your new cloud, you must be current and pay annual IBM support to either IBM or a reseller like Lodestar Solutions.  If you would like a competitive support quote, email renewals@lodestarsolutions.com.

But the answer is yes, you may move your perpetual Cognos or Planning Analytics licensing to AWS, Azure, or even the IBM Public Cloud, which has made amazing progress!  (We love it!  More on that in a minute.)  However, when you move your Cognos licensing or TM1 to a new environment whether on cloud or something else you want to be careful. 

Caution on Cloud Migration

If you have licensing that includes Processor Value Units (PVUs), which is very common with Planning Analytics TM1 and often in larger Cognos clients, you must make sure the new environment does not expose you to failing an audit.  You MUST make sure you don’t exceed your PVU licensing when you move to the cloud.  For more information checkout our earlier blog, What the Heck is an IBM Cognos PVU and then email us so we can answer any questions at services@lodestarsolutions.com.

IBM Public Cloud

I mentioned we love the IBM public cloud, so I wanted to take a minute and explain.  A few years ago, IBM had Softlayer as their cloud and well, it was not great.  But IBM spent tons of money and invested in better technology and now their IBM Public Cloud rocks!  At Lodestar Solutions we use it for our demonstration environment and its fabulous.  Here’s IBM’s take on IBM Cloud versus Amazon Web Services (AWS)

FEI Webinar April 13th

Cloud Considerations in an Uncertain World

If you want to learn more and are a member of Financial Executives International (FEI), I will be hosting a webinar to FEI Members discussing IBM Cloud.  Cloud Considerations in an Uncertain World on April 13th 2-3pm Eastern.  In this webinar I will be joined by Hillary Hunter, CTO of IBM Cloud and Chris Doroszczyk, IBM Global Managing Director Financial Services Clients.  Members of FEI can register and get CPE credits for attending.

After the event I will write a blog with the highlights for non-FEI Members.

Summary

In summary you can move IBM Cognos and Planning Analytics on the cloud, but like anything, proper planning in advanced is highly recommended.  But you don’t have to go it alone.  Lodestar Solutions’ team of experts can guide you through what you need to know when moving IBM Cognos & TM1 licensing to a cloud.  Just reach out to us at Services@lodestarsolutions.com.

5 Reasons People Object to Upgrading Cognos

5 Reasons People Object to Upgrading Cognos
5 Reasons People Object to Upgrading Cognos
Written by Heather L. Cole, March 9th 2022

Are you trying to get funding for a Cognos or IBM Planning Analytics upgrade?  Maybe you want to get some TM1 or Cognos Training and need to ask for funding.  Did you know there are 5 reasons people object to upgrading?  That’s right only five main reasons.  So today I thought I would walk you through the primary objections and relate it to upgrading and expanding your usage of Cognos and Planning Analytics. 

First let me say I did not create this list.  Bari Baumgardner, a very successful businesswomen was presenting at a conference I attended this weekend hosted by Dean Graziosi and Tony Robbins.  The conference is really designed for the coaching industry.  However, the nuggets of information are very applicable to the world of Business Analytics.  So, if you are an employee running a Cognos or IBM Planning Analytics upgrade, or a consultant you will want to understand and learn to overcome the 5 reasons people object to upgrading.  They are time, money, social support, fear, and doubt.

1. Time -

The most common objection to upgrading your Cognos, IBM Planning Analytics or other solution is time.  As a firm specializing in upgrading clients to the latest business analytics technology we often hear, “We don’t have time.”  But is that really true? 

The thing about time is you never think you have enough, and you can never get it back.  It’s the scarcest resource.  I love Bill Gates’ quote:

"We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten.  Don't let yourself be lulled into inaction."

But let’s talk about your time, and the time of your team.  How valuable is it?  If you could invest a couple months of focused work that would eliminate a number of redundant monthly tasks, would you do it?  Imagine automating reporting processes and empowering end users to leverage the data and analytics you provide!  What if you could help create a culture shift so everyone in the organization explored the data and made game changing decisions to help the company accomplish their goals.

How long have you been trying to deliver self-service to your users?  If it’s been a long time, we need to talk.  (See our blog, Find More Time for Analytics Projects)

There are steps you can take that can turn the objection on time into the very reason you can’t wait any longer to upgrade and modernize your Cognos and IBM Planning Analytics environments.  Our clients that have upgraded and modernized their Planning Analytics and Cognos deployments all have said the same thing, “Why did we wait so long?”  To schedule a chat email us at services@lodestarsolutions.com.

2. Money -

The second objection to upgrading we hear is we don’t have any budget.  I fully understand the need to have funding, but what if I told you that many CFO’s have a magic stash of money.  And that when they see a project that will have a significant return on the investment and help them accomplish their strategic goals, they open the money bag and fund the project.  Seriously, I have seen it many times! 

But the secret is that they must see the value.  If you are telling them you need to upgrade to get on a supported version, that probably is not compelling enough.  We need to present a reason that is more important to them. 

Executives are very focused on making or saving money and achieving their strategic goals. 

Cognos and IBM Planning Analytics are amazing tools that when deployed correctly can have a huge impact on the success of the company and the achievement of strategic goals.  The problem is that there are not enough analytic professionals that appreciate the massive impact they can have by delivering the latest IBM solutions to their executives.  When the right information is put in the right hands for better decision-making it will make the company more money. 

So, again.  The objection of not having money is exactly the reason why you must act NOW to upgrade and empower your teams with data.  You know your competition is….

See our blog Secrets to Getting Funding for Your Cognos Projects.

3. Internal Support -

The third objection I hear as an analytics coach to executives and their teams is that they don’t have enough internal support.  Maybe IT doesn’t support your IBM Planning Analytics upgrade, or you have an executive that is saying we should move everything to Microsoft.  Well, you are not alone.  There are other clients that have this struggle.  However, with the correct internal influence and that art of persuasion you can build the support you need.

Lodestar Solutions is happy to have a chat with you to strategize how to gain the support you need.  Email us at services@lodestarsolutions.com.  It all begins with helping others see the vision you have as to the role of data and analytics in achieving strategic goals.

4. Fear -

The fourth objection to upgrading is fear.  Fear of failure, fear of success, fear of rejection fear of change… Fear is almost always secretly lurking in the background. 

Try this little exercise to help overcome hidden fears.  Write down the worst-case scenario.  Maybe you ask for funding and get rejected.  Maybe you get everyone to support the project but don’t deliver it on time….  Write down every possible bad outcome.

Now write down what you would do if that bad thing happened and what you would have learned from the experience.  Finally write down how you will feel 2 years from now when you are in the exact same place you are now. 

You see people don’t regret acting if even if they don’t succeed.  Successful people don’t have failures; they have learning experiences.  

Theodore Roosevelt

5. Doubt -

The final objection is doubt.  You might think that doubt and fear are the same thing, but I believe they are different.  Doubt is that little voice that says, you aren’t good enough.  Who do you think you are believing you can have a massive impact on the company’s profits?  You don’t even really know how to use the software.  Have you ever heard that voice? 

I have.  She gets really loud in my head at times.  But you know what I discovered?  I never hear the voice when I am binge watching Netflix.  Nope.  She’s silent.  But when I am considering taking a bold move, making a big impact or trying something outside my comfort zone, poof there she is. 

Did you know it has a name?  Imposter Syndrome.  See this Forbes article Imposter Syndrome In Your Business And How To Overcome It

What I have learned is that when that voice pops up, it’s GAME ON!  Something amazing maybe even life changing is about to happen if I just lean in and surround myself with people that will be my cheerleaders. 

But for some of you, you don’t have cheerleaders.  If that’s your case, let’s talk.  The Lodestar Solutions community is full of amazing minds that can help cheer you to success.  Email Services@lodestarsolutions.com.

Summary

Now you know the 5 reasons people object to upgrading their Cognos and/or Planning Analytics are time, money, social support, fear, and doubt.  Don’t let these objections stop you from being amazing at your job!  Overcome these objections and lead your organization to analytic success.  The first step can start today.  Just email us at services@lodestarsolutions.com and we can chat about your unique situation.  You were born to make an impact.  Start now.

Steps to Take When Your IBM Cognos or Planning Analytics Power User Leaves

Steps to Take When Your IBM Cognos or Planning Analytics Power User Leaves
Steps to Take When Your IBM Cognos or Planning Analytics Power User Leaves
Written by Heather L. Cole, January 27th 2022

“Heather wanted to let you know Friday is my last day at _____ Company.”  Would you believe I am getting emails like this weekly?  Yes, the Great Resignation is real!  And at Lodestar Solutions, we want you know to know we have your back!  Today I’ll share the Steps to Take When Your IBM Cognos or Planning Analytics Power User Leaves.  Just know you don’t have to go it alone!

1. Call Lodestar Solutions to Create a Plan

When your IBM Cognos or Planning Analytics Power User Leaves it can be scary.  Especially if you have a smaller deployment and the one person that knows everything about your system just resigned.  When this happens Lodestar Solutions is here to help you create a plan, help you find new talent and back you up when you need it, even if this means you need some temporary staff until you hire someone.  As soon as notice is given, call Lodestar at 813-415-2910 or email Services@lodestarsolutions.com to schedule your complimentary “oh sh*t” plan.

2. Create an Emergency SOW with Lodestar Solutions

It’s always best to have a backup plan.  At Lodestar Solutions we recommend all clients have an active statement of work in place to help if you have an emergency, but if your Cognos or TM1 power user leaves, it is even more important.  So, call us at 813-415-2910 or email services@lodestarsolutions.com and we can tell you how many hours you have on your open SOWs or create a new one.  Remember you are not billed unless you use our services.  But you don’t want to have an emergency and must wait for legal to review contracts before we can help.  So, call today to get your emergency SOW in place.

3. Change Your Support Contacts with IBM

Before the person leaves, you want to check if they were designated as the point of contact within the IBM support system.  If so, you want to have them change the primary contact before they leave!  It’s a lot easier to change the name within the IBM system before the person’s email is turned off.  Here’s Lodestars’ blog on how to change the contact’s name.   

You will also want to notify us of who should receive your support renewal quotes in the future.  Reach out to our team at renewals@lodestarsolutions.com for assistance.

4. Switch the Admin within the System

You want to make sure you update security in the system to assign administrative rights to someone else.  This is very important for smaller deployments of IBM Analytics that only have one power user.  You should always remove employees that have left the company from the Cognos or TM1 system, so you don’t risk failing an audit.  Note, when an employee leaves the company you can reassign their license to a new user, just no sharing.  For more information on IBM audits, see our two-part blog series on Things Every Cognos Client Needs to Know about an IBM Audit.

Part 1 - Things Every Cognos Client Needs to Know about an IBM Audit

Part 2 - Things Every Cognos Client Needs to Know about an IBM Audit


5. For Cognos Users Plan for Orphaned Content

If you use IBM Cognos Analytics and a user leaves before you reassigned their reports, you may end up with reports you can’t get to.  We call this Orphaned content.  When a user is deleted in a Cognos namespace all of their content in their My Folder gets orphaned and is difficult to access. The good news is you didn’t lose it.  Here’s our blog on how to retrieve it, and a link to Motio’s YouTube Video as they have a great tool to help recover orphaned objects in Cognos. 

Document Your Models with Video

6. Knowledge Transfer Video

When a Cognos admin quits, often there is not enough time to do proper knowledge transfer and does anyone really have updated documentation?  To save you time and money trying to figure out the basic setups of your IBM Analytics system, we recommend the person leaving record a video of the system.  They should record the video as if they are talking to their replacement and sharing all the details of their system.  You can use Zoom or a video conferencing service to do this, or we use Camtasia, a video editing system. This video can be very valuable to the person you hire.

7. Communicate How to Log a Case

If the person moving on, is the person that has access to log cases with IBM you should have them shoot a video on how to log a case and provide your site details.  This will be very valuable if you have an issue and need IBM support.

8. Create a Job Description

Now that you have your backup plan created you want to create an awesome job description to attract top talent.  Don’t just rely on your HR team to do this.  Lodestar is happy to help.  We will provide you a sample description and review what you have before it’s posted.  A few key points:

  •  If you allow remote or flexible work times, make sure it’s on the post.
  • Don’t just write it for what the company is looking for but include what you are offering the candid like training.
  • Read the job description, would you reply?  If not, rewrite it.

A great book for anyone hiring is Hiring for Attitude by Mark Murphy.  

For Lodestar Clients Only:

If you are a Lodestar Solutions client, we are willing to help you promote your position.  It’s what family does… Once you have your job description written send it to me at hcole@lodestarsolutions.com and I’ll share it with my network.

9. Review your Licensing and New Functionality

Whenever there is a change in your organization, you should do a State of the Union review.  Lodestar Solution’s recommends reviewing:

  •  Your IBM Analytics Licensing
  • What’s new in the latest IBM release
  • A List of what future enhancements your power users were planning
  • A review or your current environment and models

We find when clients do a review with us, they have comfort in understanding what they own, how they can use it and that their current system is in good shape.  Lodestar is happy to schedule a review with you.  Email us at Services@lodestarsolutions.com.

November Lodestar Virtual Cognos User Group

November Lodestar Virtual Cognos User Group
November Lodestar Virtual Cognos User Group
Written by Mike Bernaiche, October 28th, 2021

It is almost that time again!!  Time for the Virtual Cognos User Group for Lodestar clients only!  Lodestar hosts a Virtual Cognos User Group every quarter, that’s 4 times a year of great information FREE for our clients.  We started these last year as the world was going virtual and they have been a great success.  Below you will find all the information to attend.  We break the Cognos User Group into 2 sessions on different days.  Day 1 is for Cognos Analytics and Day 2 is for Planning Analytics.  Join us for either one or both!  Here is the best part, all sessions are recorded and as a Lodestar customer you have access to our library of videos from all user groups that you can watch anytime. 

Cognos Analytics User Group

When: November 9, 2021, 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Agenda: Virtual Cognos User Group - CA

Containers are Coming – Cognos Analytics and Cloud Pak for Data
Join Heather as she provides a high-level presentation on what Cloud Paks are and if they are right for you.
Cognos Analytics What’s New

Mike will provide an update with demo of new features in Cognos Analytics 11.2 and 11.2.1.

Cognos Analytics Tech Talk

Ted will give an update on all things technical related to Cognos Analytics 11.2.

Networking Break Out

Talk to other clients and build your professional network with more Cognos Analytics knowledge.

Dashboarding Secrets

Join Mike as he demonstrates dashboarding secrets he has learned in Cognos Analytics 11.2 / 11.2.1.

Predictive Analytics with Cognos Analytics

Heather will be joined by a predictive analytics expert to discuss how you can use Predictive with Cognos Analytics.

Planning Analytics User Group

When: November 16, 2021, 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Agenda: Virtual Cognos User Group - PA

Containers are Coming – Planning Analytics and Cloud Pak for Data

Join Heather as she provides a high-level presentation on what Cloud Paks are and if they are right for you.

Workbench and Admin

Mike will demonstrate the new workbench in Planning Analytics Workspace.

AI Forecasting Capabilities in Planning Analytics

Did you know that Planning Analytics Workspace has AI forecasting capability?  See how to use it in this session.

Planning Analytics Tech Talk

Ted will give an update on all things technical related to Planning Analytics.

Networking Break Out

Talk to other clients and build your professional network with more Planning Analytics knowledge.

Predictive Analytics with Planning Analytics

Heather will be joined by a predictive analytics expert to discuss how you can use Predictive with Planning Analytics.

Creative Uses of Planning Analytics

Heather has some great ideas on how you can use Planning Analytics other than the normal budgeting and forecasting options.

How to Join

Be on the lookout for an email from Lodestar with all the details to join each session.  If you have never joined us before and do not have a special log in to our video library, please reach out to Heather Cole at hcole@lodestarsolutions.  She will get you set up in our library to take part in this user group and watch any of our previous videos from other virtual Cognos user groups.

For a list of topics covered in previous user groups check out this extensive blog listing.

IBM Cognos Analytics and Planning Analytics Virtual User Group - Lodestar Solutions

Handy Cognos Analytics and Planning Analytics Links

What’s new in Planning Analytics

What’s new in Cognos Analytics?

How to Create your Analytics Roadmap without Hiring Expensive Consultants

How to Create Your Analytics Roadmap Without Hiring Consultants
How to Create Your Analytics Roadmap Without Hiring Consultants
Written by Heather L. Cole, June 17th 2021

“This is going to be the year!  I swear this is the year we really leverage our Cognos and Planning Analytic investment!”  This is a quote from a mid-market client I have worked with and each year at renewal time, he says this is the year.  While I reflected on his challenge, I realized other clients including Cognos Analytic and Planning Analytic clients may have the same struggle.  So, today we will start our guide on how to create your analytics roadmap without hiring expensive consultants.   This is part one of a two-part blog.

1. Take One Step Toward Creating an Analytics Roadmap

The first step towards accomplishing any goal is to take the first step.  Have you ever had a project or goal that looks so massive that you don’t even know where to start?  Creating an analytics roadmap can feel very overwhelming.  You want to decide what to monitor, determine where the data is, make sure you have the right tools, and deal with all the personalities of the people that need to be involved.  It’s no wonder so many projects fail before they even start.  Then add to the fact you might have multiple tools like Cognos Planning Analytics, Cognos Analytics, Power BI, Excel….

But I’ll let you in a little secret.  It only takes one step to start.

It Only Takes One Step to Start

Yes, that is right!  It is okay for your organization’s analytic journey to start with just you and a simple l idea to provide better insights.

A Single Spark

The First Step

Let’s take the first step together.  Grab a stack of sticky notes.   Set a timer on your cell phone for 10 minutes.  And for 10 minutes I want you to jot down one idea on each sticky note.  Maybe you want an inventory dashboard to track shortages or maybe a headcount dashboard to deal with resource shortages.  What ever pops in your head write it down.  There are no stupid answers.  Just let the ideas flow. 

When you are done raise your right hand in the air.  Reach behind your back and pat yourself on the back!  You have officially taken the first step to creating your analytic roadmap without hiring expensive consultants.

2. Review Your Ideas

In step two we will review your ideas and prioritize them.  The goal is to choose an item that will make the biggest impact to the organization.  You could evaluate your analytic ideas considering several factors, but Lodestar Solutions has been implementing Cognos Analytics and Planning Analytics solutions for decades and we have learned there are three major considerations that help determine which analytic initiative will have the biggest impact.

  • How much money will the organization make or save by having visibility to this data?
  • Does the company currently have the data necessary to monitor this analytic initiative?
  • Will having visibility to this data help the organization accomplish their strategic goals?

When I work with our IBM Cognos clients to create their analytic roadmap, I have them score each idea 0-10 on each of the questions above.  Then we add up the scores and the analytic idea with the highest number is a great place to start.

3. Identify Other Stakeholders

Now that you have narrowed your analytic ideas down, it is time to go find some allies.  Successful analytic journeys almost always include stakeholders that are excited and have the power to make the vision of a dashboard, report, or scorecard a reality. 

Therefore, you will want to grab a piece of paper and write down everyone that would benefit from having greater visibility to the analytics and data you are proposing for your first destination in your analytic roadmap.  Once you have a list of people start reaching out to them and schedule a casual conversation.  You want to listen more than you talk and ask them for their ideas on the analytic idea.

If you are an IBM Cognos or Planning Analytics user, we recommend you include the Cognos or Planning Analytics administrator on your list of people to contact.  They can be a big ally for you if you ask for their ideas. 

Analytic Leaders

We are so proud of you.  The fact you read this far tells us you are destined to become a great Analytic Leader.  Here are a few resources you might want to check out.

Need Help?

If you need assistance or want to have someone help you facilitate discussions around your Analytic Roadmap, reach out to me at hcole@lodestarsolutions.com.

In Conclusion

I am so excited for you to start your adventure.  If you have tried to start and had a misstep, do not worry.  Lodestar Solutions has your back!  We are happy to discuss your specific journey and challenges. 

Be sure to check out part 2 of this blog!

Click here for How to Create Your Analytics Roadmap without Hiring Expensive Consultants Part 2.

How Long Can You Use Two Cognos Environments When Upgrading?

How Long Can I Use Two Cognos Environments When Upgrading?
How Long Can I Use Two Cognos Environments When Upgrading?
Written by Heather Cole, May 19th 2021

Are you a Cognos Analytics BI or Planning Analytics TM1 client that recently upgraded or are planning your upgrade and wondering how long can I run two environments under the IBM licensing terms?  Today we will address how long you can use two Cognos environments when upgrading.

The Answer: It Depends

Yes, the dreaded answer to how long you can use two Cognos or Planning Analytic environments is, it depends!  The type of licensing you own dictates how long you can run dual environments of Cognos or Planning Analytics.

Authorized User Licensing 

If all your Cognos or Planning Analytic users are authorized user licenses, which mean each user accessing the system including consultants must have a license, then you can use the two environments as long as you like.  Cognos and PA users that are authorized users can have access to test, dev, prod….

Processor Value Unit Licensing

The challenge comes when a client has licensing that is Processor Value Unit (PVU) licensing which is essentially based on the server and cores assigned.  Clients with PVU licensing have 90 days to get all their users moved into production or risk failing an audit.  The reason they could fail is that they might end up using twice as many PVU’s as they have licensing for.  IBM allows a 90-day grace period. 

Click here for more info from IBM on Processor Value Unit Licensing

Lodestar Solutions has a few blogs you might want to check out too:

What the Heck is a PVU?

Cognos Analytics PVU Questions and Answers

Time to Upgrade

Don’t let the 90-day restriction dissuade you from upgrading.  IBM is about to launch a big release so it’s time to start planning.  With the right plan and right partner, your upgrade will run smoothly.  Lodestar would love to help you plan and execute your next upgrade.

Check out our blog, Why Upgrade to Cognos Analytics?

Contact Lodestar

Contact us at Services@lodestarsolutions.com for your complimentary upgrade discussion with our senior team.

Questions You Should Ask When Upgrading to the IBM Cloud Pak for Data

Questions You Should Ask When Upgrading to Cloud Pak for Data
Questions You Should Ask When Upgrading to Cloud Pak for Data
March 11th, 2021

IBM is actively encouraging existing IBM Cognos Analytics and Planning Analytics (TM1) clients to migrate to their new model of licensing called Cloud Pak for Data.  IBM renewal reps, sales reps and partners are all encouraged to present and encourage clients to migrate.  They call this the Cognos Modernization Upgrade program.  For forward thinking Cognos and Planning Analytics clients, this is a great opportunity.  This blog will cover the Questions You Should Ask When Upgrading to the IBM Cloud Pak for Data.

What is an IBM Cloud Pak for Data?

With the acquisition of Red Hat, IBM is in the process of combining their technologies.  As a result, in 2020 they released the new IBM Cloud Pak programs which packages Red Hat OpenShift with various IBM offerings.  These programs also come with new licensing models that allow Planning Analytics and Cognos clients to leverage Red Hat and IBM’s containerized environment.  The concept is that the containerized environment will allow for faster upgrades, more integration, and more flexibility.  

Reference: See our earlier blog, Modernizing Cognos Licenses the Path to the Future with Cloud Pak for Data which goes into more details on IBM Cloud Pak for Cognos Analytics and Planning Analytics customers.  Or visit IBM’s site

Does your company currently own IBM Cognos Analytics or Planning Analytics on-premise, perpetual licenses? 

If you have owned Cognos for a while and are not leveraging IBM’s SaaS option where IBM does all your upgrades and backups, you are probably on a perpetual license, which means you own it as an asset on your Balance Sheet.  The reason you want to know this is that this helps to determine which options are available to you when trading up to the IBM Cloud Pak for Data. 

If you don’t know what type of licensing you own, email renewals@lodestarsolutions.com and we can help you.

IBM Has a Couple Flavors of IBM Cloud Pak for Data for Planning Analytics and Cognos

  •  A perpetual license that requires you to upgrade your existing licenses to one that includes the Cloud Pak for Data entitlements.
  • A subscription model that can be on-premise, but is a subscription so typically an operating expense, not an asset.

There is no right answer as to which is a better option.  The best flavor of the IBM Cloud Pak for Data depends on a few factors that are unique for each client, like does your CFO want operating expenses or capital expenses? 

For more information on this check out the CIO.com article, Can I capitalize my system implementation or get tax advantages?

Lodestar Solutions is happy to discuss the options to help you choose the right option.  Just email us at sales@lodestarsolutions.com.

Does your company plan to leverage advanced technology and simplify the costs of connecting to lots of data sources?

If you answered no, I must ask you, “What are you thinking?”  Of course, your company wants to leverage advanced technology.  IBM has invested in amazing technology and now they are starting to blend them to better serve their clients.  I fully appreciate that maybe now is not the time to implement the new technology.  Maybe you don’t want to be an early adopter, but what if I told you there’s a why to upgrade your licenses so when you are ready you already have the licensing needed?

Now is a good time to set yourself up for long term success!

This is purely speculation, but I have seen it many times in the tech industry, clients that upgrade their licenses early in the roll out usually do so at the lowest price.  So, if I was a Cognos or Planning Analytics client, I would consider trading my licenses up now, but keep my software on-premises or in the cloud, so business as usual.  This would allow me later, when I am ready, to use the new technology of the IBM Cloud Pak for Data.

Here’s the IBM Secret -

The IBM team, at least in North America, has committed to help make it possible for clients to leverage their support renewal dollars to upgrade their licenses.  Everyone’s situation is a little unique, but let’s chat and see how you can get even more functionality out of your IBM Planning Analytics and Cognos support dollars.

When is your current IBM software up for renewal?

The best time to upgrade your licensing is the same time it’s always been.

BEST TIME TO CHANGE PLANNING ANALYTICS AND COGNOS LICENSING IS AT TIME OF RENEWAL!

When you upgrade your licensing, IBM includes 1 year of support and subscription.  Therefore, the best time to discuss upgrading to IBM Cloud Pak for Data Analytics is a couple months before your renewal.  The worst time is if you just renewed.  Contact Lodestar Solutions today and let’s start the IBM Cloud Pak for Data conversation and explore if trading up your licensing is a strategic move for you!

Email Renewals@lodestarsolutions.com to set up a complimentary discussion about your licensing.

More Questions?

I hope this blog on Questions You Should Ask When Upgrading to the IBM Cloud Pak for Data was informative, but I also appreciate this is just the tip of the iceberg.  This technology and licensing is so new, it’s constantly evolving, but I believe it’s time to start seeing down the road and set your IT team up for success.  Let’s continue the conversation.  Email Sales@lodestarsolutions.com and set up a time for us to discover how you can get more out of your IBM Planning Analytics and Cognos investment.

Modernizing Cognos Licenses the Path to the Future with Cloud Pak for Data

Modernize my Cognos Licenses with IBM Cloud Pak for Data
Modernize my Cognos Licenses with IBM Cloud Pak for Data
March 4th, 2021

Has IBM reached out to you stating that you qualify for an upgrade to modernize Cognos licensing?  Recently, several Lodestar Solutions’ clients received emails from IBM renewal reps and sales reps indicating they qualify for an upgrade on their Cognos licenses which IBM calls the “modernization” of the Cognos licenses.  So, I thought I would help answer the question, “Modernizing your Cognos licenses the Path to the Future with Cloud Pak for Data and what does it mean?” 

What does Modernizing Cognos licenses with IBM Cloud Pak for Data Mean?

IBM like all software companies is constantly creating new technology and with that comes new licensing and subscription options.  You may remember the last major overhaul of IBM Cognos licenses took place in 2014 where they simplified and supersized your Cognos BI licensing. See our blog on 2014 IBM Cognos BI License Changes or our video.

In July 2019 IBM purchased Red Hat for $34 Billion. IBM bought Red Hat for its development of the largest portfolio of open source technology, its hybrid cloud platform and a vast open source developer community.  The acquisition makes IBM the world's leading hybrid multi-cloud provider.

When you spend $34 billion for a company you know you need to do something with the technology.  It’s not surprising in 2020 IBM launched a new licensing initiative that bundles their existing technologies like Cognos in with Red Hat technology, and they are doing so with what they call IBM Cloud Pak for Data.

IBM Cloud Pak for Data

According to IBM, “IBM Cloud Pak® for Data is a fully integrated data and AI platform that helps modernize the way you collect, organize and analyze data to infuse AI.  The platform is cloud native and is designed to add powerful new capabilities for data management, DataOps, governance, business analytics and AI.  There is no need to integrate costly point solutions.  IBM Cloud Pak for Data delivers the modern information architecture to turn AI aspirations into tangible business outcomes while improving governance and protecting your data.”

I don’t know about you, but I’ve read that numerous times and still asked myself, “What the heck is IBM’s Cloud Pak for data?” 

What the Heck is IBM’s Cloud Pak for Data

Let me attempt to decode IBMeze into something non-techies can understand.  IBM Cloud Pak for Data is a bundle of technology that can be deployed as a container.  As I explained in my earlier blog, What are IBM Cognos Cloud Pak for Data Containers?  containers are executable units of software which package up the application code along with its libraries and dependencies, so it can be run anywhere, like a desktop, server, or cloud.

For Cognos clients looking to move to IBM’s Cloud Pak for Data for Analytics by modernizing Cognos by leveraging the Cognos extension (called a cartridge), they will get 3 components:
  1. Red Hat OpenShift – (restricted use)
    2. Cloud Pak for Data Control Pane – Foundational Services
    3. IBM Cognos Analytics Software Licenses
IBM Cartridge

Why should I modernize Cognos and move to a Cloud Pak for Data for Analytics Licensing model?

There are several benefits to modernizing Cognos and moving to the Cloud Pak for Data for Analytics Licensing model.  The hybrid cloud does create an interesting flexible environment that many believe will help companies save money and time integrating all their data sources.  I appreciate many clients aren’t ready for this new technology but there’s a reason you might want to modernize your Cognos licensing so you can deploy the technology later. 

Modernizing Cognos Now!

IBM has done a cool thing in that clients that trade up or upgrade, “modernize” their licenses then the cartridge licenses have the dual deployment entitlement.  To move ALL licenses to dual deployment, a trade up or Upgrade (Modernization play) of all current entitlements to the cartridge parts is required. IBM is very determined to get clients to move to the new Cloud Pak for Data model which means OPPORTUNITY!

Clients that believe they will want to move to a containerized, hybrid cloud model, would be wise to seriously look at this opportunity now.  Currently IBM has created an environment where you might be able to move to the new Cloud Pak for Data Analytics at renewal time and do it for very little cost.

What If We Aren’t’ Ready for Hybrid Cloud?

If your organization is not ready for the new technology that’s okay!  By modernizing Cognos by investing in the Cloud Pak for Data Analytics cartridge for your Cognos and Cognos Planning Analytics you do NOT have to deploy the cartridge software.  The customer can install on/remain on Windows/Linux/Unix, in other words on premise and then when you are ready deploy the cartridge software.

It’s like the invest now strategy, like buying a lot in an area you know is growing and that someday you would like to build a house to live.  But buying it while the land is cheap.  Then when your family is ready you build on it.

Dual Deployment for Cognos

If you own the Cloud Pak for Data Cognos cartridge, you have entitlements referred to as "dual deployment," meaning you can deploy 100% on Windows/Linux/Unix, OR 100% on CP4D/OpenShift, OR a combination of both.  The only limitation is that you cannot exceed their total license entitlement.

Example:  If you own 50 Planning Analytics (TM1) licenses, you can use all 50 on Windows/Linux/Unix, OR all 50 on Cloud Pak for Data OpenShift, or any combination up to 50 total across both deployments (40/10, 25/25, and so forth).

Time is of Essence for Trading Up - ACT NOW!

Now is the time for modernizing Cognos licenses!  Rumor has it that in North America the IBM Data and AI sales has committed for a short time to matching end user price on cartridge parts as compared to stand alone parts.  I don’t think this will last forever, so Lodestar Solutions recommends we have a chat to see if Cloud Pak for Data is a good fit for your Cognos or Cognos Planning Analytics environment.  

Let's Talk:

Email us at sales@lodestarsolutions.com to set up a complimentary consultation on your licenses.  Or just call 813-415-2910.

Lodestar IBM Cognos User Group Review – Feb 2021

Lodestar Solutions User Group
Lodestar Solutions User Group
February 26th, 2021

On February 16, 2021, Lodestar Solutions hosted our 2nd virtual IBM Cognos User Group.  Our IBM Cognos User Group is unique and has been extremely well received by our clients.  We host sessions in the morning related to Planning Analytics, Cognos Analytics in the afternoon with technical or other value-added software in between.  We set our clients up in our Kajabi library that holds all the videos and information for each user group.  The truly great part of this user group is after each video, we meet live with our clients in zoom for Q&A and then we go into breakout rooms to network with each other.  This is the true power of our IBM Cognos User Group.

Latest Agenda!

PA Section

  • PAfE Tips and Tricks with Demo with Q&A
  • PA Breakout groups
  • Deep Dive on ILMT / PVU’s with Q&A
  • PA Breakout groups
  • Break
  • Motio Soterre Demo and Discussion, Q&A
  • CA Section

  • Data Sets vs Data Modules – plus data sets demo, wtih Q&A
  • CA Breakout Groups
  • Motio PI Free / Motio PI Pro – Breakdown and demo with Q&A
  • Break
  • Client Discussion of Cognos Administration and Motio
  • Q&A
  • Breakout Groups
  • Highlights of Q&A and Breakout Groups

    In the Q&A and breakout groups we discussed each of the topics in more detail.  The day started with a breakout on PAfE and Perspectives, discussing the differences and how to convert from PAfE to Perspectives.  We then had a discussion on ILMT and the importance of ensuring it is set up correctly and reporting in case IBM sends that “love letter”.  Our last session was based on Soterre and how that applies to each Planning Analytics system.  If you have not seen Motio Soterre and you are a customer of Lodestar, contact us to get set up in our Lodestar Customer Library and watch the power of Soterre.  You can learn more about Soterre in this blog

    In the IBM Cognos User Group afternoon session on Cognos Analytics, we started the session with a dive into data modules and data sets.  We had good discussion on uses, limits and some problem solving on certain situations.  In our next session we did a dive into Motio PI and Motio PI Pro.  If you are a CA Administrator and you haven’t looked at Motio PI, you should stop what you are doing now and watch the video in our Lodestar Customer Library.  Again, if you are a customer of Lodestar but have not received access to this library, please contact us.

    We finished the IBM Cognos User Group with a general Q&A and talked about several different things related to PA and CA.  We even did an on-the-fly Cognos Analytics security demo based on a question from one of our clients.  Speaking of security, stay tuned to the customer library and the next user group for a lot more on both CA and PA security.

    Next User Group

    Our next IBM Cognos User Group is scheduled for May 18, 2021.  We have not finalized the agenda, yet, but I can tell you that security will be a topic.  If you have other things you want to see, please contact us services@lodestarsolutions.com with your ideas.

    Planning Analytics and Motio Soterre Event

    Are you looking for a better way to plan, budget or forecast your business?

    During this webinar we will show you the amazing power in IBM Planning Analytics/TM1.  We will discuss how leveraging virtual dimensions and dashboards within TM1 is a game changer for clients. And we will demonstrate how maintenance of models can be simplified for power users with a powerful 3rd party tool by Motio called Soterre.

    This event is for individuals not familiar with Planning Analytics as well as seasoned TM1 professionals that want to see what's new and how to better maintain their system.

    Join us March 16 at 2pm est!

    To join this webinar, click here!

    Summary

    We have a lot going on at Lodestar Solutions.  We are striving everyday to add more value to our clients through user groups, client only library’s, partner software demos and so much more.  If you have any questions or need us, we are here.  Contact us at services@lodestarsolutions.com

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