Cognos Go Office: PowerPoint Integration w/ Cognos

PowerPoint Integration w/ CognosSo, it’s 10pm on a Thursday night and you’re still in the office preparing for tomorrow’s early morning board presentation. You have transformed from a business analyst to a technology multi-tasking robot. You have three reports open on one part of your screen, tomorrow’s PowerPoint presentation open on another part of the screen and Excel in the background to double check your figures. So, you dive into the task at hand.

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.

Your organization owns IBM Cognos and you know it is a tool that creates reports but you haven’t had the time to know much more than that. You have heard that you could make this process much simpler by creating reports to do what you need but who has time for that?! You know that the data comes from four different places and the thought of merging that in a reporting tool is a bit daunting. So, you continue to work since you have a proven method and process that works regardless of how painful it is. But is it really that painful? Would it take more time to create the reports than you spend compiling data each month for the same presentation?? ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!!

IBM Cognos Go Office – you probably own it and aren’t using it. Go Office was introduced with a few other extended BI capabilities in 2006. Go Office is included with a BI Consumer license or above (original contracts need to be reviewed to confirm). Therefore every admin, every report author, every professional author may also own Go Office. IBM Cognos 8 Go Office eliminates the need to cut and paste or manually load data into spreadsheets or presentations. This saves time, prevents errors, and lets you focus on making decisions rather than data entry. In other words, first you create the reports you need to be included in the presentation in the IBM Cognos BI portal. Then, you can embed that same report in Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. And the crowd roars!!!!

PowerPoint Integration w/ CognosThis would be your life using IBM Cognos Go! Office for your monthly company presentation.

Thursday, the day before your presentation:
2:00pm Open BI Portal, perform a quick check that the numbers are accurate
2:05pm Open the presentation refreshing it and validate the numbers have been updated.
2:10pm Send out a meeting reminder with the updated presentation attached.
3:00pm Make up for lost time on Thursdays and go hit a couple of balls on the range or get a mani/pedi, whichever is most needed

It is not as easy as a blink of an eye but this is a sampling of the efforts this would take.

Step 1:   Articulate what reports need to be included in the presentation or documents.
Step 2:   Work with your IT team to see if Go Office is installed. If not, they can go to IBM.com and download their software. You can also call Lodestar Solutions and we can help you find it. There are Go Office server and desktop components to be installed.
Step 3:   Once Go Office is installed, work with the IBM Cognos Report Writer to create the reports you need. While they are building reports, look at who should receive the Office documents with reports embedded. Anyone can see the documents, however they can only update the data if they have a BI Consumer license or above. In some cases, companies have stopped distributing the documents and they simply ask their users to open the document thru the IBM Cognos Portal and update the data.
Step 4:   Once the reports have been created, you can now replace your manual charts, graphs and data, with the reports. Determine the best method of distribution and, your Thursdays are now yours again.

Just to recap, here are some of the benefits of Go! Office:
• Toolbar icons let users consume and save BI content, or create sophisticated desktop reports such as briefing books and dashboards.
• Users can refresh their MS Office documents with updated information on-demand.
• Users can modify and share IBM Cognos BI content using familiar applications and interfaces.
• Publish and share IBM Cognos-enabled files to the secure BI portal.

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