COGNOS BI Blogs
Below is a massive list of IBM Cognos BI blogs. These blogs may also include other Reporting and Business Intelligence solutions. To search for a specific topic, use the search bar to the right.
Take Advantage of Lodestar’s FREE Educational Workshops!
Take Advantage of Lodestar's FREE Educational Workshops! It is time to start thinking about investing in your company's continued education.[...]
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[...]
Are Your Cognos Performance Issues Really Cognos Issues?
One drink too many and I suddenly develop turrets and start shouting things like “Cognos can do that.” Lodestar Solutions[...]
Cognos 11 Review: Simple, Quick, Powerful – Gamechanging!
WOW! That was my first impression of IBM Cognos Analytics (Cognos 11) as I spent some time with working with[...]
Cognos BI vs Microsoft BI? Facts And 1 Man’s Opinion
As a Business Analytics Coach, I’m often asked to compare Cognos BI to other BI products. Today I’m going to[...]
Cognos Workspace Advanced – 5 Dashboard Rollout Steps
As a business analytics coach at Lodestar Solutions, I coach clients in planning and executing the deployment of dashboards with[...]
Things To Consider With A Cognos BI 10.2.2 Upgrade
If you joined our virtual user group on November 20, 2014, you saw a presentation on Cognos BI 10.2.2 upgrade[...]
ESRI Maps for Cognos: Location Analytics Strategy For Your Business
As of the 2000’s, the majority of midsize to large companies use analytics as part of their daily operations and[...]
Do I need Data Warehouse and SQL skills for Cognos BI?
Whether you’re using an IBM Cognos Business Analytics Solution or another vendor’s business analytics solution, you most likely will be[...]
Cognos Mobile as Part of Your Business-Driven Analytic Strategy
We all know that it’s important for infants to first learn how to crawl before they walk. When an infant[...]
How to Render Report Studio Report Multiple Outputs
I poke fun at myself quite a bit about how lazy I am and that’s why I am the master of productivity, automation[...]
Slow Reports? Optimizing A Cognos Server Environment
Slow Reports? Here's tips on optimizing a Cognos server environment. When it comes to optimal report performance, we typically focus on[...]
High Level Overview of Implementing Cognos BI
Since Cognos is designed to be relatively easy to implement and is architected to empower business users, many non-IT departments find Cognos BI to be a fantastic business intelligence solution. This is especially true for our mid-market clients who don’t typically have a large or robust IT department. However, business users can be at a disadvantage. Knowing the right questions to ask or the right order of events can be ambiguous. Just understanding how the data gets from the data mart to Query Studio can be a mystery. There are 4 major areas of concentration in your project plan; five if you are also implementing TM1 as a data source.
Cognos Summary Counts in Workspace Advanced
With many companies realizing the bang for their buck by purchasing and training their end users on Cognos 10.2 Workspace Advanced, we are starting to see at Lodestar an influx of Workspace Advanced “how to” questions. These “studios” combine the functionality of Query Studio, Analysis Studio, and Report Studio Express into one. However, the most frustrating part of learning any new software is understanding where to find things, what functions are built-in, and what syntax to use in calculations. Amazingly enough, sometimes the simplest question can be the hardest for which to find answers.
What's New in Cognos Mobile for iPad
The redesigned iPad application for Cognos Mobile is now available in Apple's App Store. This release is easier to use, performs better, and allows for personalization and more interactive gestures. IBM has updated this application twice in the month of March. Here is a list of the new functionality in Cognos Mobile.
What are IBM Cognos Dynamic Cubes?
With the release of Cognos 10.2, IBM Cognos introduced a new data modeler tool called Dynamic Cubes. Essentially, Dynamic cubes is an extension of Dynamic Query that leverages in-memory data to achieve high performance interactive analysis and reporting over terabytes of warehouse data. Very important – you must have a data warehouse structured in a star or snowflake schema in order to maximize the performance!
Cognos BI PY Calculation using DMR Data
In theory, time calculations are simple; however the DMR (dimensional model relational) data I was working with last week was presenting a challenge. DMR is a modeling technique in Framework Manager that identifies predefined hierarchies in relational data; hence providing a pseudo dimensional view of the data. This allows end users to drill-up and down through aggregate levels of data. However, do not mistake DMR for an OLAP environment. In an OLAP environment, you point the system to an intersection by selecting multiple dimensions. DMR in Framework Manager uses filters and aggregations to build hierarchies in relational data.
Report Studio Dynamic Report Writing – Layout Calculation
I have come to realize that most people don’t understand what it means when a report is dynamically written. For the most part, reports created in a Cognos Studio are already dynamic, as long as the data sources are regularly updated. This is because every time the report is open or run, it renders the most recent data from the data warehouse.
Take Reports Offline with Cognos Active Reports
So, you are sitting on a plane or somewhere without access to the internet or your company’s servers and you really need to verify some numbers for a meeting you have soon. What do you do? With Cognos Active Reports, you can view a report offline with all of the typical interaction you have come to love with your Cognos reports!
Who should use Cognos Workspace Advanced?
Workspace Advanced (known as Business Insight Advanced in 10.0) is an IBM Cognos product that encompasses Query Studio, Analysis Studio and Report Studio Express capabilities into one application. Now ad-hoc meets slice and dice, and can be wrapped up in a pretty package too. Unlike Analysis Studio, end users no longer have to predetermine whether a data package is relational or dimensional because Query Studio functionality is also included in the application. The Workspace Advanced user interface and program capabilities automatically change to match the data source; reducing confusion and increasing end user satisfaction.
How to Test Cognos Framework Manager Models with Query Studio
There has been a paradigm shift in how business users receive their information. Not too long ago, if the business needed data to answer a critical question, they would call IT, submit a formal request for a report to be written, and wait. The timeframe from when the request was queued to when it was delivered used to take weeks. Through lost opportunities and poor decisions based on old data, businesses quickly realized how expensive this process was.
IBM Cognos Active Reports Known Issues
Active Reports is an excellent solution for delivering off line reports to end users on the go. However, it too has its limitations. Following are issues that end users have run up against while using Active Reports and we offer suggestions for resolution. 1. Very slow performance with large data sets 2. Creating an interactive dashboard with Active Reports performance is very slow 3. Report never appears when opening from Cognos Connection 4. Cannot export to Excel format 5. Cannot use drill through functionality; does not work when Active Reports are viewed off line 6. Unable to reopen Active Report saved in web browser 7. Active Reports does not open in web browser
Good Or Great Metadata Modeler?
Is your Framework Manager Model built to answer tomorrow’s questions? Since you are not clairvoyant, the best you can do is to make sure the data is modeled with maximum query power. This includes defining appropriate drill-up/drill-down and drill-through capabilities, providing powerful model filters, and optimizing the model with stored procedures. All of these features are based on identifying and setting up determinants. However, this article will only cover the drilling feature, with additional insight to follow in future articles. But if you are truly clairvoyant, you already know that and need to read no further.
IBM Cognos Mobile is Available on ITunes
Experience information like never before with IBM Cognos Mobile. Access and interact with all the rich reports and dashboards you need to make the smartest business decisions, all on you mobile device. Gain trusted insight through a rich and visual experience, whether you are offline or online, to ensure you remain productive wherever you are. Easily sync your IBM Cognos content from email attachments or directly from the Cognos server. Your IT department will love the fact that they can leverage existing Business Intelligence (BI) content and a single administrative environment. Built on a flexible and proven platform, IBM Cognos Mobile ensures mobile decision-making is simple, reliable and secure.
10 Steps to Automate Cognos Transformer Cubes
It can be frustrating to open a cube and realize that it is not updated with the current information you need to perform analysis or report off of. You then remember that the person who is responsible for updating cubes is not in the office and the update did not occur. Follow these 10 simple steps and your cube builds can be automated and your frustration level reduced!
3 Keys When Deploying IBM Cognos 10 BI
Maybe you invested in upgrading to IBM Cognos 10 BI but you are not realizing the benefits you thought you would experience. If so, you might have missed the fact that IBM Cognos 10 BI should change your approach to report design and deployment. It may even cause you to modify your Data Warehouse or Data Mart. Let’s talk about why:
Visualizing Data Using IBM Cognos Map Manager
Maps are great visual aids. They’re a great way to add pizzazz to your Sales Region reports over the standard layout of columns of numbers. But wait, your Sales Regions are comprised of multiple states. You can’t use one of the canned maps that IBM Cognos BI offers. Despite this glitch, creating custom maps for use in Report Studio is really quite easy thanks to IBM Cognos Map Manager.
Framework Manager Time Periods
Have you ever been asked to create a report containing prior year and current? The request is common and most report writers would respond by doing a union of the current year data, plus the prior year data, then present the results on a crosstab. If you have a cube modeler like Transformer, it does the current year and prior year work for you, but what if you don’t have a cube modeler with a time wizard build in?
Use Dashboards to Get Your Entire Organization Managing Cash Flow
With the continuous tightening of the credit markets, Cash Flow is in the spot light at almost every organization. The first step in getting Cash Flow under control is to educate your organization on the importance of Cash Flow and how it affects the organization. If you have an issue with Cash Flow, you need to closely monitor the variables that affect it. The variables in an increase for Cash Flow include:
Dynamic Query Mode (DQM) Explained
The success of your business depends on your ability to analyze information, quickly find the right answers, and make timely responses. To meet this challenge, IBM Cognos Business Intelligence provides an enhanced Java-based query execution mode while still maintaining native access to the leading data sources to replace the former query engine.
Migrating from PowerPlay to Cognos BI 10
For clients that are on older IBM Cognos PowerPlay licenses, this document is to help explain your options for migrating to IBM Cognos 10 BI. IBM Cognos BI (8 & 10) are completely different solutions than Series 7. IBM Cognos BI provides different and expanded capability as well as functionality when compared to Series 7 products. These architectural and functionality differences are also reflected in the licensing of IBM Cognos BI – which is based upon User Roles rather than the individual product licensing applicable to IBM Cognos Series 7 products.
Calculating Prior period in Cognos BI
Have you ever needed prior periods or last period within a report? If you write financial reports, these calculations are a must and also a headache for report writers. This is the first issue you have to contend with when calculating last and prior is current. I know that line seems strange, but in order to calculate the prior period or the last period, you have to know that current period. Now, you can take the easy way out and ask the user to tell you the current period via a prompt, but what happens when the report has to be run on a schedule and you can’t rely upon a user? See … you need to calculate the value.
Embedding Cognos in Third Party Applications
It is possible to embed IBM Cognos BI without an SDK into a third party application. The process will require using a parameterized URL, but before we talk technique, there are a few things we must consider. First, is the third party application internal or external? If the application is internal, then you should be ok. However if your application is outside of your firewall, then you are going to need to do some hardware configuration. I am not going to pretend to know what you need to do to your server, but what I will say is that you need to speak with a network administrator for assistance on how to make an external application talk to the appropriate server for specific web traffic.
Bursting Cognos Reports in Report Studio
Bursting is one of the best functions within IBM Cognos Report Studio. If you are not familiar with bursting let me explain how it works. You have a report that is for your sales team. Each salesperson is responsible for a certain region and you want each person to only see their region’s sales. Normally, you would make a report for each sales person because we know how territorial sales people are about their commission. Report writers love bursting because they can use one report to serve multiple people with what looks be a custom report.
Creating Filters in Framework Manager
Creating a filter in IBM Cognos is normally straight forward. Most people are familiar with creating them in Report Studio and Query Studio. For more advanced folks, you might even know how to create a slicer in Analysis Studio that works just like a filter but for dimensionally modeled relational (DMR) data. However, if you have ever tried to create a filter in Framework Manager you might be ready to pull your hair out and jump off a tall building. Okay, maybe a short building, but you are definitely losing your hair over it.
Cognos PowerPlay in IBM Cognos 10
PowerPlay Studio has a loyal user following. In many ways, it is the predecessor to Analysis Studio within the IBM Cognos suite. If you have ever used both tools, you will know that there are many things within PowerPlay that don’t exist in Analysis Studio. One of the biggest drawbacks within Analysis Studio is the five level nesting restrictions. Most people would agree that going past five levels when looking at data within a pivot environment is overkill, but in some instances, it is necessary. Most importantly, PowerPlay does not have that restriction and therein lies why many feel that IBM will have to pry “PowerPlay from its users cool dead hands” … this is an actual quote from a customer.
Improving Framework Manager Performance
Framework Manager (FM) is the engine of IBM Cognos Business Intelligence. It is one of the intermediaries between BI and your data sources. The foundation of FM is that it can help you visualize your data and prepare it for reporting. However, Framework Manager is only as good as its data source. With that in mind, below are top five things you can do to improve FM performance.
Understanding IBM Cognos BI Security
Managing security within your reporting environment can be a difficult and risky task if you don’t fully understand your software’s security structure. In this blog, we will discuss the various levels of security and how you can mix and match to come up with the best security plan for your business. Security within IBM Cognos BI is object oriented. That means you can set security on many different objects within Cognos, but the lowest level of security will win if you have multiple levels of security. In order to understand security and permissions, let’s talk about two examples:
IBM Cognos 10 BI – Worth the Hype?
IBM has released Cognos 10 and there are some skeptics out there wondering if it is worth the hype. In my opinion, the release warrants a conversation because it is a major release. Note that they went from Cognos 8 right to Cognos 10 and there are major differences. Some of the additions and changes are great … really … so I will give you the quick and dirty. You can read the complete release information in the upgrade whitepaper, so I won’t bore you with too much tech talk.
What to Know In Cognos 10 BI
As I’m sure you heard, IBM unveiled Cognos 10 at IBM's annual Information on Demand (IOD) event in Las Vegas recently. Cognos 10 is the first major BI release since Cognos 8 was published in 2005. Don’t worry, you didn’t miss version 9 - in an effort to have the numbers of all the various modules in line, IBM jumped to 10. Cognos 10 presents a more integrated user interface along with a broader offering of analytics and technology. The recent acquisitions by IBM of SPSS , TM1 (Applix) and Clarity are now a part of the offering.
Cognos Metric Studio Charts – 4 Things To Save Your Sanity
Have you ever tried to change a Metric Studio chart? If you have, then you now it can be downright maddening and frustrating. Well, I am here to give you four tips that will save your sanity and just might stop you from throwing your hands up and losing all hope.
When to Use Cognos Event Studio
IBM Cognos Event Studio is often an underutilized Studio but has its place. I think it would be better to explain how you can use this Studio in your everyday duties instead of the traditional white paper approach. I will use a couple of examples that I think highlight how a business group (departments) can use Event Studio and how a database modeler can use Event Studio.
Cognos Go Office: PowerPoint Integration w/ Cognos
Your Mission: Complete the company presentation and merge data from 5 different places. And here’s the kicker, the numbers have to be CORRECT. So, you put on your thinking cap, you fit more windows in your tiny computer screen than you can really read, and you begin the task you dread every month. You first make sure you have all the data that you need to compile. Check. Then you open last month’s presentation and start removing all the reports, graphs and data from last month. Check. You open your Excel spreadsheet that checks your numbers to make sure they are correct. Check. You are armed with the tools and ready to go to battle because that is really what this whole process is. But does it really have to be that painful? ABSOLUTELY NOT!!! Welcome to IBM Cognos Go! Office - you probably own it and aren’t using it.
Cognos BI Promptmany Macro Function Error
The promptmany macro function error message is such a letdown. Error QE-DEF-0406 is normally generated when you try to use the function to pass multiple values to a Sql stored procedure. By nature if a stored procedure have parameters, you can only set the parameter equal to a single. This is a problem if you want and need to pass multiple values to a stored procedure. Traditionally, Sql programmers use cursors to handle passing individual values one at a time to a procedure. Of course programmers would rather bite off their arm than willingly write a cursor if there is another viable alternative.
Have you ever tried to do a nested IF THEN ELSE statement inside IBM Cognos Report Studio? If you have, you might run screaming because you can’t get the syntax just right. Granted, you could read the tips at the bottom as you build the syntax but shoot yourself in the head if you are not a programmer. You probably could pickup Chinese faster.
BI is a Business Process, Not Software
One of the most common misconceptions about Business Intelligence is that it is a technology solution. I buy the right software, hire the right consultants, plug it in and Boom……I have Business Intelligence. The reality is that Business Intelligence is a Business solution supported by technology not a technology solution supported by the business. It’s a business process; and if it is not implemented as a business process, it won’t matter how much money you throw at it, you are not going to get the value you intended.
Crosstabs Dimensional Data in Report Studio
Let me first start by saying this is not a how to or even necessarily the right way to do things… rather some options to explore learned from hours spent cursing at the computer trying to get the seemingly ‘simple’ things to work in crosstabs. You know, things like adding two columns together, calculate a variance, or filter out crosstab rows with no data. I run into these issues most when I’m building financial reports where we’re comparing multiple forecast/budget versions across specific spans of time.
Cognos vs Business Objects…What's The Difference?
I have been asked many times “What is the real difference between Cognos and Business Objects?” First, let me say that this is my opinion and not a recommendation for either product. I know that might sound strange because you are reading a blog written by a Cognos partner. Well I am going to give you my perspective based on my experience as a customer, which I think you would want instead of a sales pitch.
BI Reports Not Used?
Report writing is difficult for most people. It requires a level of detail and skill that most people simply don’t have the patience to learn let alone apply. Historically, most report writers are primarily Information Technology (IT) people with very little business experience which makes it impossible to explain why a transaction must be a debit instead of a credit. The language gap between report writers and users can be the difference between speaking English and Spanglish. The report writer might understand basic information about the business but not enough to optimize a report or the user doesn’t understand real constrains such as data quality, database design, or application limitations to understand why a report can’t be written just like their excel spreadsheet. Report writer I have two words for you … Analysis Studio learn it, love it, use it. Business user I have the same two words… wait for it … Analysis Studio. Let’s assume that you have the groundwork covered such as a multidimensional Framework Package and you have Analysis Studio deployed, you can use Analysis Studio drop and drag functionality to bridge the gap between report writer and business user.