Still Using Transformer Power Cubes? Try Data Modules.

November 20, 2019

Are you still using Transformer Power Cubes? Looking for something to replace them?  Did you know that Cognos Analytics has an area to create Data Modules that may be able to replace some or all of your power cubes? As you know, Transformer Power Cubes have been around for a long time and while effective, also have some downside. First and foremost, they have to be built each night for latest data. Also, if you make a change to the structure you need to build them again, which sometimes is not very convenient to get the most up to date information.  They have size limits that may require you to create separate cubes for historical information or to breakdown into smaller chunks of data.  Read below to see if Cognos Analytics Data Modules can help you start to phase out Power Cubes.

What is a Data Module?

A data module is a web based, self service area to model data inside of Cognos Analytics.  Data modules allow you to bring together many different sources and create models to be used in reports, dashboards and explorations.  You can create star-schemas or transactional schemas.  Also, you can create calculations, hide data, create filters, relative time and navigation paths.  I will go into more detail on each of these items below.  Once a data module is created you can make it available to the organization to use based on permissions and security. For more information on Data Modules you can check out this link from IBM. 

Data Sources

There are a number of different types of data sources that can be used in Data Modules. They include relational databases, Hadoop based data, excel, text files and other data modules. As seen below, 2 data sources are brought in and there is a guided path to allow you to create joins, unions or views of tables.

New Data Module
New Data Module
New Data Module

Modeling Options

Modeling Options

Once you have brought your data source(s) into the Data Modeling area and connect the data if needed through joins you can do a number of things with the data.

  • Calculations – create calculations through an expression editor using the data sources and built in functions.
  • Filters – create filters on data through an expression editor using the data sources and built in functions.
  • Navigation Path – create drill up and down navigations to allow a cube like dimensional experience with data through a simple to use drag and drop interface.
  • Relative Time – Use preloaded calendars to turn simple dates into relative comparative time.  In essence, create YTD, PYTD, etc… through a simple connection to one of the pre-loaded calendars.  Use either calendar year or fiscal year.
Relative Time
Relative Time
Relative Time

There are a number of other modeling options built in.  Contact us at services@lodestarsolutions.com for more information.

Do Data Modules Replace Power Cubes?

The answer is MAYBE.  In some situations, data modules could replace your Power Cubes. You can model your data, create a cube like experience, relative time, add filters and calculations and secure the data for use.  One big item of note is there is no “build” of the Data Modules. The reports are dashboards run off the data module.  If you are connected to a data source package like SQL, you will not need to worry about updating the data.  If you are using offline excel or text files you would still need to append the current uploads with the newest data.

Summary

This is a big shift for those of you who use and love power cubes.  I’ve been in your shoes before.  I have used Power Cubes for almost 20 years.  However, I see the power of using Data Modules and moving off an older technology.  I’m here to help you make the determination.  Contact me at services@lodestarsolutions.com to discuss your situation.

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