Cognos PowerPlay in IBM Cognos 10

Cognos PowerPlay in Cognos 10

Cognos PowerPlay 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.

Cognos PowerPlay

So when IBM Cognos 10 hit the market, everyone was so excited. This is a major release and the product is awesome. The addition of Business Insight and Business Insight Advanced was a smart move by IBM. These two features really resolved the major issue that most folks had with IBM’s “Studio” approach to Business Intelligence. Business Insight and Business Insight Advanced lets a user see their work as they create reports and these new tools make it super easy to create your own slamming dashboards. Remember, in IBM Cognos 8 you needed Go Dashboard to do the nice looking dashboard, well no more … enter IBM Cognos 10.

PowerPlay users were also excited about the new release because IBM brought PowerPlay Studio along in the new release … kinda. Although not an official statement from IBM Cognos, as they have not really done anything with PowerPlay in a long time, they continue to make a migration path for the application in its releases because of PowerPlay’s fan base…look how powerful you guys are! Anyway, in IBM Cognos 10 you can use PowerPlay with the new Business Insight and Business Insight Advanced.

I know you are confused but interested, so let me break it down. Okay, if you go out on the web and Google “PowerPlay Cognos 10” you are likely to find this article.

I will give you the shorthand version, it states that:

“IBM Cognos PowerPlay® report parts are not supported in Business Insight. If a dashboard that contains PowerPlay report parts was created in Go!Dashboard and is opened in Business Insight, the report parts are converted to PowerPlay reports.”

Does this mean that PowerPlay Studio is not supported in IBM Cognos 10? Kind of confusing right?? Yes, you can use the features of Business Insight and Business Insight Advanced with PowerPlay.

Here is what you need to understand first:

• PowerPlay cubes are data sources and this data source can be used to create a Package. A package can be used in any Studio including Business Insight and Business Insight Advanced.

Now I am sure you are saying, “Everybody knows this, so why are you repeating it?” Sometimes the hardest questions have the easiest answers. If you want to use PowerPlay in IBM Cognos 10, make sure that it is a published package. What I am saying easy, right? You might not have done this before so let me tell you where to look in Transformer.

• Open up Transformer and load up your PowerPlay Cube, right click on it and click publish as package and data source. You might get an error “Can’t find PowerPlay Client”… yep, you need to have PowerPlay Client installed in order to make this work. You don’t have to do anything with it, but it seems that Transformer needs it to make the data source and package.

So, now you have the published package and data source, you have what you need to use Business Insight and Business Insight Advance. Easy as 123!

If you loved this blog on Cognos Powerplay then check out the amazing Cognos 11 by click here.

Is Cognos Compatible With Windows 7?

​Cognos Compatible With Windows 7 - Here is all you need to know!

Everywhere we look, software providers are coming out with new versions but unless it’s a major release, software compatibility is often overlooked. With the release of Windows 7, many hardware providers and IT departments are starting to ship laptops to employees with Windows 7 as the standard operating system. Many of us just assume it’s “Microsoft” so it must be compatible and they fail to confirm that the software is compatible with Windows 7. Additionally, software can function with 64 or 32 bit machines and some software is only functional on a 32 bit machine. So the question is, "Is Cognos Compatible With Windows 7?" because not confirming compatibility could result in big headaches.

Cognos Compatible With Windows 7

For IBM Cognos clients, IBM Cognos lists on their website environmental compatibility and it’s up to you and your IT department to be educated. Software environments on the IBM Cognos site are listed as Active, Compatible or Not Supported. Environments denoted as Active are the environments tested by IBM Cognos and your best bet. Although environments denoted as compatible may also be tested, the testing may be limited or support may be based on upward compatibility statements from IBM Cognos partners and third-party vendors. Older releases of environments may transition over time from Active to Compatible as significant testing would have occurred in previous IBM Cognos releases.

Lodestar Solutions recommends you go with releases of IBM Cognos that list your operating systems as Active to avoid potential issues. Your IT department probably confirmed compatibility with the databases utilized. What is often overlooked is compatibility with laptop/desktop operating systems like Windows 7 and versions of Microsoft Office and Internet Explorer or other browsers. Lodestar Solutions recommends that you click the link below for your version of IBM Cognos and look for the operating system you plan to utilize, you want it to be Active or Compatible. Additionally, check the Browser and Excel compatibility. Note that a number of the current releases don’t list Microsoft Excel 2010 as Active, but we anticipate this will be coming shortly, so check back with the IBM website.

IBM COGNOS PLANNING - If you are on an older version of IBM Cognos Planning or Adaytum, you might want to consider upgrading to IBM Cognos Planning 10.1. This release has some performance benefits, but is also the first release to list Windows 7 as “Active”.

IBM Cognos 10 Planning Software Environments
IBM Cognos Planning 8.4.1 Software Environments

TM1 - The latest release of TM1 9.5.2 is the first version that actively supports Windows 7 Professional 32 and 64 bit version. Additionally, it is the first version to support Excel 2010 but 32 bit only.

IBM Cognos TM1 9.5.2 Software Environments
IBM Cognos TM1 9.5.1 Software Environments

IBM COGNOS BI - Cognos 10 has been out since October and it has some great new functionality; however, we encourage you to check your licenses to make sure you are able to take advantage of this functionality. See Previous Blog on C10 Licensing.

IBM Cognos 10 BI Software Environments
IBM Cognos 8.4 BI Software Environments

COGNOS FINANCE - The latest release of IBM Cognos Finance is the first version that lists Windows 7 Professional 32 bit as compatible. Additionally, it is the first version to support Excel 2010 but 32 bit only.

IBM Cognos Finance 7.5 Software Environments

OTHERS – If you are looking for other IBM Cognos products and/or Versions, click below.

Software Environments for Other IBM Cognos Products and Versions

So for more information on "Is Cognos compatible with Windows 7" or other software compatibility or functionality, contact us at

If you liked this blog on Cognos Compatible With Windows 7, check out our blog on creating filters in framework manager by clicking here.

IBM Cognos 10 BI – Worth the Hype?

Cognos 10 BIIBM 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.

The biggest change that they made was integrating dash boarding into IBM Cognos 10. In Cognos 8 when you wanted to do really flashy and pretty dashboards, you had to use Go Dashboard.  Now in Cognos 10, you have the Go Dashboard capabilities within Cognos 10. If you are like me, I like my dashboard to look good as well as tell me something.  You know that I am a fan of Go Dashboard, so I am happy to see that the functionality is now available within Cognos 10.

The second change, which is a change in philosophy, is that IBM introduced Business Insight and Business Insight Advance. For those of you that were fans of the studio structure, you can relax because Business Insight has the same functionality of Query Studio and Analysis Studio without having to navigate to different studios. What that means to you is that you can start with a report and if you want to know more, you do an analysis without having to go Query or Analysis Studio. If you are in Business Insight, you can open the report and do your analysis in the same place. I really like that they streamlined the studios and it really makes it easier to understand your data without having to struggle with knowing the “studio tango”.

The final change that I am excited about, is that Cognos 10 is now a real mobile device integration! Remember in Cognos 8 … you had Go Mobile and within Cognos 8 you could run prompted reports, but much like Go Dashboard, it was a separate application. I am happy that they have integrated mobile functionality into Cognos 10.

So, if I had to one line the changes from Cognos 8 to Cognos 10 it would be that IBM has streamlined Cognos and made it more fluid then Cognos 8. Now the next question on your mind is “Is it worth an upgrade?”. I have one answer for you and it is yes maybe no. You might have to read that line again because no one can tell your business you need to upgrade. You have to determine your business needs and match them with the latest software offering in order to come to the correct answer.

What to Know In Cognos 10 BI

As I’m sure you heard, IBM unveiled Cognos 10 BI 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.

It’s alleged that IBM Cognos learned from issues experienced in the Series 7 to C8 release and this time they have made moving from C8 to C10 “SEAMLESS” per Rob Ashe, IBM General Manager of Business Analytics.

As a user of C8, what should you know?

IBM Cognos is expanding the scope beyond their BI offering to include decision making tools including integrated statistics and mobile BI.

C10 looks great and hopefully it will meet half of the hype.  The new active reports will help us all justify a new iPad as it extends mobileBI.  C10 Collaboration looks fantastic and you can now create and assign tasks based on insight gleaned from BI results and on automatic alerts and triggers.  But clients need to meet their basic reporting needs first.   For clients using TM1 and BI, the great news is they claim to have really addressed the reporting speeds.

Here are a few more items C8 users should know:

Licensing–  For end users to take advantage of a lot of the new BI functionality, they will need to have an IBM Cognos Enhanced Consumer license or higher.  For many of you, you own Consumers, not Enhanced Consumers, so you would need to pay a small fee to upgrade your Consumer licenses to Enhanced Consumers.   But the good news is if you do this while still on C8, you will be able to benefit now by getting functionality of Go Dashboards and Go Search for your Enhanced Consumers.

Cognos Planning 10- They announced the new IBM Cognos Planning 10 release, but the majority of the changes are more backend.  We should see some performance improvements and ability to handle larger cubes; however TM1 is still better at handling huge cubes.

Cognos 10 buzz words:

Business Insight is essentially a common BI workspace that allows users to view, assemble and organize BI, analytic and planning content from a unified interface without the need to switch between interfaces.

Life Cycle Management is the capability to handle upgrades from one version to another.  It is now possible to run reports and queries in both IBM Cognos 8 and 10 at the same time and then compare the processing differences side by side. This should reduce the testing needed in version upgrades.

Dynamic Query is a new feature that results from performance enhancements. With this feature enabled, reports, queries and cube building are shortened. This is done by caching and query routing techniques. Results indicate performance improvements of up to 30 to 40 percent.

Statistical Integration is the result of SPSS being integrated into the analytics umbrella of IBM Cognos 10. SPSS has added a Modeler capability making it easier for non-statisticians to benefit from predictive modeling in a much broader business context, thus increasing the potential for improved business performance. Those with the skills to harness its power can receive some big benefits quickly, but there is an additional cost for SPSS.

Active Reports allow users to receive self-contained interactive reports by email. This extends the reach of BI to mobile and offline workers that can work on these active reports and perform what-if scenarios if required.

TMI BI Integration Enhancements–  IBM stated that BI reports running off of TM1 were up to 80% faster in Cognos 10 than in Cognos 8. (Need I say more?)

Collaboration One can now create and assign tasks based on insight gleaned from BI results and based on automatic alerts and triggers. This is achieved with the integration of Lotus Connections and Business Analytics.  You most likely will need to connect a server or two to your environment to get this going.  And if you don’t have Lotus Connections,  I believe you have to purchase an AU license for Lotus Connections for each user.    I believe IBM might have an ulterior motive here and will use this opportunity to introduce the Lotus platform into enterprises dominated by Microsoft Office applications.