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 reporting applications which 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.
The basic idea is that reporting applications are a standalone planning application that leverages existing planning applications to structure data in a more easy to use form for Cognos BI. It is an application that is not published to the web and is NOT built with the Contributor end user in mind (they will never see it). It’s truly a planning application whose sole purpose is to enable a more seamless integration with Cognos BI.
There could be a variety of valid factors that cause your planning applications to be constructed in a fashion that isn’t necessarily conducive to BI.
Some may include:
- Contributor user requirements dictate organizational or account hierarchies that differ from reporting requirements.
- Cube and application size require the introduction of feeder cubes that undermine the end reporting requirements.
- Reporting requirements have specs that are not easily achieved with the various BI studios.
Reporting applications can help in many of these areas to get your CPM solution over the proverbial ‘hump.’ You can leverage native planning functionality to build from and mold your operational applications into a reporting application that contains all the necessary components to satisfy otherwise difficult to obtain BI requirements.
XYZ Corporation has reporting requirements impacted by a combination of the issues listed above. One of which is a report requirement to calculate variance between planned versions (Budget and Actual) using a different variance calculations (Budget – Actual or Actual – Budget) depending on account type (Revenue / Expense).
Unfortunately, the logic required to determine an expense vs revenue account and apply the appropriate variance calculation is a daunting task with Report Studio. It would have involved the use of multiple crosstabs which ultimately would have led to a sloppy presentation of the information. As a result, Variances was calculated inside of the reporting application using add and subtract links (and other native planning functionality). It was added to the Versions D-List and was ultimately passed to BI pre-calculated eliminating the design issue.
Again, this is one example of the use of a planning reporting applications. The reality is that reporting applications can be designed in a variety of ways to help you achieve that full CPM solution.