Your IBM Cognos and Planning Analytics Software Deserves More Than Just a Renewal

IBM Support Renewal and Upgrade Bundle
IBM Support Renewal and Upgrade Bundle
Written by Heather L. Cole, February 16th, 2024

Are you navigating the complexities of renewing your IBM Analytics software directly with IBM, perhaps feeling uncertain about whether you're truly maximizing value? Or maybe you're at a crossroads with your current Cognos or Planning Analytics version, aware that it's inching closer to sunset and will soon be unsupported, leaving you in a quandary about finding the time and resources for an essential upgrade. If this resonates with you, it's time to consider a strategic pivot that could redefine your approach to your software renewal and upgrades. I'm Heather Cole from Lodestar Solutions, and we're here to introduce you to a game-changing opportunity that could alleviate your concerns and elevate your analytics capabilities.

Why Shift from Direct Renewals to Lodestar Solutions?

Choosing Lodestar Solutions for your IBM Analytics renewal isn't just about continuing your software support; it's about entering a partnership that extends far beyond a transactional relationship. Unlike direct renewals with IBM, which might offer a straightforward continuation of services, Lodestar Solutions enriches this experience with a suite of added benefits designed to enhance your team's efficiency, knowledge, and strategic insight into using IBM Analytics tools.

Did you know?

IBM offers clients that renew their Cognos, SPSS, or Planning Analytics licensing at the exact same rates that IBM Gold Partners, like Lodestar Solutions offer.  That’s right.  There are no extra savings by going directly with IBM.  However, there is extra VALUE by working with Lodestar Solutions.

Exclusive Access and Support: 

With Lodestar, every renewal comes with membership to our quarterly live virtual client-only user groups, membership in our monthly Analytic Success Klub to develop advanced soft skills, as well as quarterly webinars focusing on maximizing your analytics initiatives, and all clients get semi-annual reviews to ensure your needs are comprehensively met. Our approach is to not just renew but to empower, educate, and elevate your team's capabilities.

Introducing the Technical Upgrade and Support Renewal Bundle

Recognizing the challenges many face with upgrading to the latest versions of Cognos or Planning Analytics—be it due to technical resource constraints, time limitations, or the technical intricacies of an upgrade process—Lodestar Solutions offers a tailored solution: the Lodestar Solutions’ Upgrade and Support Renewal Bundle. This exclusive package is designed specifically for new clients who are at a critical juncture, needing to upgrade their software to stay current and supported.  We have offered upgrade bundles for years, see our blog, Solving the IBM Cognos Upgrade Challenge.  But now we are bundling our bundle with IBM support renewals.

Seamless Upgrade Experience:

Our Upgrade Bundle is the antidote to upgrade hesitations, providing the expert technical support needed to transition smoothly to the latest software version. This ensures you not only stay ahead of the curve with the most advanced analytics tools but also do so with the assurance of continuous support and guidance.

Fixed Rate:

Lodestar Solutions’ Upgrade Bundles provide your upgrades at a fixed rate, so there are no surprises in the cost if there are unforeseen issues with your upgrade.  Lodestar Solutions carries the risk.

Enhanced Value Proposition:

This bundle goes beyond a simple renewal or upgrade; it's a comprehensive solution that aligns with your strategic goals, offering unparalleled value. You'll benefit from our full suite of renewal advantages while ensuring your software remains cutting-edge, all within a framework designed to be cost-effective and supportive of your organizational needs.

Licensing Review:

As part of the bundle Lodestar will provide a complimentary License review to ensure you will not fail an audit, and identify if there is a more advantageous, economical licensing structure you may benefit from.  Did you know IBM clients should expect to be audited by IBM every 3-4 years?   About IBM Audits  You don’t want to fail an audit!

Make the Strategic Pivot Today

If your organization is directly renewing IBM Analytics software and facing the imminent need to upgrade, Lodestar Solutions' Upgrade and Support Renewal Bundle presents an opportune solution. It's an invitation to not just maintain your software but to strategically enhance it, supported by a partner dedicated to your success.

Let's redefine the way you approach your IBM Analytics software renewal and upgrade. Contact Lodestar Solutions at renewals@lodestarsolutions.com to explore this unique bundle tailored to new clients. 

Act Fast: Your IBM Cognos and Planning Analytics Software Deserves More Than Just a Renewal.  It's time to transition from direct renewals to a partnership that promises more than just continuation but a significant elevation of your analytics capabilities. Join us on this journey and unlock the full potential of your IBM Analytics investment with Lodestar Solutions.

Warning! Cognos Analytics Support is Ending for Version 11.1.7. Upgrade Now!

Warning! Cognos Analytics Support is Ending for Version 11.1.7. Upgrade Now!
Warning! Cognos Analytics Support is Ending for Version 11.1.7. Upgrade Now!
Written by Mike Bernaiche, February 9th, 2024

IBM, the provider of Cognos Analytics, has announced that Cognos Analytics support for version 11.1.7 will end in April 2024. This means that organizations using this version or earlier versions will no longer receive critical updates, security patches, or technical support beyond this date. To avoid potential risks and ensure uninterrupted access to support and new features, upgrading to the latest version of Cognos Analytics is imperative.  See the announcement here

Why Upgrade?

As organizations rely increasingly on data-driven insights to navigate complex business landscapes, having robust analytics software is paramount. Cognos Analytics has been a trusted tool for many, providing powerful analytics capabilities to drive informed decision-making. However, with technology evolving rapidly, it's crucial to stay up to date to ensure optimal performance, security, and support.

Here's why you should consider upgrading:

  1. **Enhanced Security**: In today's digital landscape, cybersecurity threats are ever-present. By upgrading to the latest version of Cognos Analytics, you benefit from the latest security enhancements and patches, safeguarding your data and systems against potential vulnerabilities.
  2. **Improved Performance**: With each new release, software vendors introduce performance optimizations to enhance the user experience. Upgrading to the latest version of Cognos Analytics ensures you're leveraging the latest performance improvements, allowing for faster analytics processing and improved efficiency.
  3. **New Features and Functionality**: Software updates often come bundled with exciting new features and functionalities designed to enhance productivity and drive innovation. By upgrading, you gain access to these new capabilities, empowering your team to extract deeper insights and make better-informed decisions.
  4. **Continued Support**: Perhaps most importantly, upgrading ensures continued access to technical support from IBM. Should you encounter any issues or require assistance, you can rely on IBM's dedicated support team to provide timely resolutions and expert guidance.

The Process

Transitioning to a new software version may seem daunting, but it doesn't have to be. Lodestar Solutions offers comprehensive resources and support to facilitate a smooth upgrade process.

To get started with your upgrade, consider the following steps:

  • **Assessment**: Evaluate your current environment and determine the impact of the upgrade.
  • **Planning**: Develop a detailed upgrade plan, including timelines, resources, and potential challenges.
  • **Testing**: Conduct thorough testing to ensure compatibility and functionality.
  • **Deployment**: Execute the upgrade according to your plan, minimizing disruption to operations.
  • **Training**: Provide training to users to familiarize them with the new features and workflows.

Lodestar Solutions offers upgrade bundles to make this process even easier for you.  We offer a 2 and 4 upgrade bundle and you can find more information here.  

Here to Make it Easy

Remember, the end of support for Cognos Analytics 11.1.7 is fast approaching. Please don't wait until it's too late. Take proactive steps now to upgrade your Cognos Analytics environment and ensure continued success in your analytics initiatives.

The latest version of Cognos Analytics is 12.  It is extremely powerful and amazing.  However, if you are still using Query Studio or Analysis Studio, we should talk.  Cognos 12 has removed these legacy studios but there is a path forward!  If you are not ready to move to Cognos 12, Cognos 11.2.4 is a long-term release and will give you a runway to prepare for a move to 12.

You can find more info here on Cognos 12, why you should upgrade, and Cognos 11.2.4.

For assistance with your upgrade or to learn more about the benefits of the latest version of Cognos Analytics, reach out to our team today at services@lodestarsolutions.com

What’s New in Cognos Analytics 12.0.2

What's New in Cognos Analytics 12.0.2
What's New in Cognos Analytics 12.0.2
Written by Mike Bernaiche, January 25th, 2024

On January 18, 2024, IBM released the next version of Cognos, Cognos Analytics 12.0.2.  There are several enhancements and improvements in this version which I will write about below.  If you are not familiar with the power of Cognos 12 please see this blog, Welcome to Cognos Analytics 12,  and if you are thinking about why you should upgrade to Cognos 12 please read this – Elevate Your Analytics: Why You Should Upgrade to Cognos Analytics 12

Multiple Components

Stored Data Management – both administrators and users can manage uploads and data sets.  End users can easily manage anything you have uploaded or created in data sets.  This is done by going to manage -> people -> stored data.

Conditional Formatting in More Visualizations – In Cognos Analytics 12.0.2, you can now conditionally format in the following visualizations: Area, Bar, Bubble, Bullet, Column, Line, Pie, Point, Stacked bar, Stacked column, and Treemap.

Conditional Formatting in More Visualizations

Assistant in Cognos Analytics 12.0.2

Data Source Selection – You are now prompted to either select your data source or a sample data source.

Optimized Data Sources – There are now 6 options to optimize your data through the assistant in Cognos Analytics 12.0.2.  Data from samples has already been optimized automatically.

  • Hide Unneeded Columns - You can hide columns that might not be useful in visualizations such as row ID or product code columns. These hidden columns are fully functional in the product but cannot be selected in new visualizations or dashboards.
  • Rename Columns - make sure that column names in the data module reflect the data accurately, you can rename columns. Rename columns that include underscores, dashes, or abbreviations as these can be difficult to use when asking the Assistant a question in natural language.
  • Add Synonyms - You can train the Assistant to understand terms in your data that it might not recognize by adding synonyms.
  • Create Useful Calculations - You can create calculations such as a count field which always returns 1. In tables that are lists or logs, a count field that always returns 1 lets you get the count of employees in an employee table or the number of calls in a call log table.
  • Eliminate Duplicate Column Names Across Tables - avoid ambiguity in your data, if you have multiple tables in a data module, make sure that the same column names do not appear in more than one table.
  • Set Data Formats - you can set formats for the values in your data module to ensure that the Assistant responses are easy to read and understand. For example, you can choose to display a value as a local currency, or as a number with consistent decimal places.

Dashboards in Cognos Analytics 12.0.2

Widget Connection Limit Increased - You can now create a maximum of 20 groups of widgets. The previous limit was five groups of widgets.

Reports in Cognos Analytics 12.0.2

Map Manager Removed from Reporting – Map Manager is no longer supported by IBM Cognos Analytics. Existing reports that contain Map Manager maps continue to run.  To see the impact please click this link

Search and Select Prompt Improvements - When you now perform a search in a Search & select prompt control, a background request is submitted, and the search results are displayed without reloading the entire page.

Dashboards and Reports in Cognos Analytics 12.0.2

Dual Line Visualization – Use a dual line visualization to present as lines two data sets that have two different ranges of values.

Dashboards and Reports in Cognos Analytics 12.0.2

Negative Values and Item Labels as a Percentage - You can now use two properties to show negative values and item axis labels as percentages.

Additional Formats of Value Label in Bullet Visualizations - You can now use additional formats of value labels, percentage delta of target, and value delta of target, in bullet visualizations.

Show Value Axis Zero Grid Line in Visualizations - You can place a custom line at the zero point of the value axis.

Modeling in Cognos Analytics 12.0.2

Auto-Relationships - Data modules now support the automatic creation of new relationships, called auto-relationships, between tables from different data sources. The auto-relationships are discovered and generated with minimal effort from the modeler. By using auto-relationships, you can avoid the manual effort of identifying the related tables and connecting them. For example, when adding newly uploaded files to a schema-based data module, you can establish relevant relationships throughout the data module with just a single click.

Creating a Dashboard within a Data Module

Creating a Dashboard within a Data Module in CA 12

Editing the Union, Except, and Intersection - You can add and remove tables from an existing union, except, or intersect a custom table. You can also update the columns in these custom tables based on column changes in their underlying reference tables.

Summary

There you have it!  Some new great stuff in Cognos Analytics 12.0.2.  For a full list of items, specifically in the administration and install you can click this link

Reminder – Support for Cognos Analytics 11.1.7 ends on April 30, 2024.  If you need IBM support and you are not on at least version 11.2 or higher, IBM will ask you to upgrade.  Why wait?  Upgrade not to Cognos Analytics 12.0.2 and take advantage of the incredible enhancements.  You can reach out to us at services@lodestarsolutions.com for more information on upgrading.  We make it easy and cost-effective to get you on the latest version.

Need More? Join us for our upcoming Cognos Analytics Training!

Cognos Analytics Training on Reporting Fundamentals and Dashboarding Basics

The Details:

When: Tuesday, Feb 20, Wednesday, Feb 21, and Thursday, Feb 22
Time: 10:00 am Eastern to 5:30 pm Eastern with a couple of small breaks and a break for lunch
Cost: $2,991
Included: All training e-books and training environment
Optional VIP Addon: $397 includes 1 year access to training recordings and 2 hours of consulting

Click this LINK for more info and to register, limited seating and we are filling up!

Take your skills to the next level with our Cognos Analytics Training on Reporting Fundamentals and Dashboarding Basics

Cognos Analytics Training is Here!

Cognos Analytics Training is Here
Cognos Analytics Training is Here
Written by Mike Bernaiche, October 20th, 2023

Are you ready to revolutionize your Cognos Analytics expertise? We are thrilled to invite you and your team members to our exclusive 3-day Cognos Analytics training event.  This Cognos Analytics training is designed to empower you with the skills and knowledge essential for mastering Cognos Analytics.

Here are the details:

Dates: Coming in January! 
Classes: Cognos Analytics Reporting Fundamentals and Cognos Analytics Dashboarding Essentials
Location: Your venue / online
Instructor: Professional consultant and trainer with 20-plus years of experience.
Investment: $2,781 for the full 3-day training, environment, and training materials included.

Why Attend

Our Cognos Analytics training program is meticulously crafted for professionals like you, whether you are navigating the advanced features of Cognos 12 or working with earlier versions like Cognos 11.2.x or 11.1.7. Here’s why you shouldn’t miss this opportunity:

  1. Limited Seating - First Come, First Served: We have limited seats available, and they are filling up quickly! Secure your spot today to guarantee your place at this exclusive event. Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity to learn from industry experts in an intimate setting.
  2. Expert Guidance - Learn from a seasoned 20-year professional consultant, not just a trainer. Gain insights from real-world scenarios and industry best practices, ensuring you’re equipped with practical skills.
  3. Comprehensive Curriculum - Dive deep into Cognos Analytics Reporting fundamentals during the first two days. Explore topics such as Report Creation, Filters, Parameters, Calculations, and Formatting. On the third day, master Cognos Analytics Dashboard 12 Essentials, covering Pins, Explorations, and Data Storytelling. This will help you plan your upgrade if you are not on 12 yet.
  4. Hands-On Experience - Immerse yourself in a real-world Cognos Analytics environment. Our interactive sessions provide hands-on experience, allowing you to apply your knowledge immediately.
  5. All-Inclusive Training - No need to worry about materials. We provide everything you need to succeed, including comprehensive training materials to support your learning journey.

What Will You Learn?

Cognos Analytics Training – Reporting Fundamentals, 2 days.

Tables, Crosstabs and Charts

List Reports, Crosstabs, Advanced Crosstabs, Legacy Charts, Visualizations, Create a Report with Multiple Displays

Filters

Filters – Defined, Model Filters, Custom Filters, Detail Filters, Summary Filters, Filter Options

Parameters and Prompts

Parameters – Defined, Global Parameters, My Parameters, Prompts – Defined, Why Use Prompts, Create Prompt Pages, The Prompt Button, Multiple Prompts, Cascading Prompts

Calculations

Calculations – Defined, Subtotals, Insert Calculation Button, Query Calculations, Layout Calculations, Using Functions

Formatting and Conditional Formatting

Templates, Fonts and Styles, Styles, Alignment and Justification, Text Items, Headers and Footers, Blocks, Tables, Conditional Formatting Defined, Conditional Styles, Advanced Conditional Formatting, Define the Condition

Complex Reports

Dashboard Reports, Drill-Through Definitions, Create Drill-Through Definitions, Create Reports from a Dimensional Source, Member Tree View vs. Metadata Tree View, Add Levels, Members, and Sets

Saving and Scheduling

Schedule reports for distribution.

Cognos Analytics Training - Dashboard Essentials - 1 day

Now that you have learned the fundamentals of Reporting, join us for the last day to start mastering Dashboards in Cognos Analytics. Rookie or veteran, this class will teach you the essentials of building a dashboard in Cognos Analytics 12.

Introduction

Cognos interface, Dashboard interface, Edit mode vs Preview mode

Basic Dashboard

Starting a new dashboard, Layouts, Data sources, Visualizations, and different methods of creating a visual, Saving a dashboard

Complex Dashboarding

Customize and filter dashboard objects, Filtering capabilities, Verify and modify filters, Modify dashboard object properties, Add an active visualization, Add insights, Customize dashboard for presentation, Share the dashboard

Miscellaneous

Pins and Explorations

Secure Your Spot Now!

Ready to elevate your Cognos Analytics game? Don’t miss this chance to boost your career opportunities and enhance your organization’s capabilities. Secure your spot today by emailing services@lodestarsolutions.com now.

For any inquiries to determine if this is a good fit for you, contact Lodestar at services@lodestarsolutions.com. Act swiftly as seats are limited, and this transformative learning experience awaits you.

Additional Blogs on Cognos 12

What’s New in Cognos Analytics 12.0.1

What's New in Cognos Analytics 12.0.1
What's New in Cognos Analytics 12.0.1
Written by Mike Bernaiche, October 13th, 2023

IBM released Cognos Analytics 12 in June 2023, adding an enhanced experience for all users with the incredible assistant, lighting quick dashboards, and so much more.  Now IBM has released Cognos Analytics 12.0.1 with some additional enhancements. Below I will provide all the details of what is new in Cognos Analytics 12.0.1

General Enhancements in Cognos Analytics 12.0.1

Favorites – In the Content view, you can now mark items as a favorite by clicking the heart icon.  Your Favorite items will show up in your favorite tab.

Search Result Enhancements – a new result reason option has been added to search results to show reasons why the search returned various items.

AI-Generated Recommendations in Learn Panel - the recommendation engine makes daily updates based on what you and other users are searching for.  Each search you make in the learn panel makes it better and better.

AI-Generated Recommendations in Learn Panel

AutoComplete and Popular Search Suggestions in Learn Panel - The Learn pane now predicts your search query as you type keywords in the Search field and displays a list of search suggestions from all content types.

Assistant

Assistant and Learn Panel Integration - The Assistant now gives you the option to jump to the Learn pane if it cannot find an answer to a general usage question. You can use the Learn pane to find help in the product documentation, blogs, and videos.

Share Narrative Insights from Assistant – You can now share insights with or without a visualization via email, Slack, or Teams.

New Option for adding Visualizations to Dashboard – You can now add a visualization from the assistant to a new dashboard or a current dashboard by clicking the add to button or dragging the visualization to an open dashboard.

New Option for adding Visualizations to Dashboard

Usability Improvements and Natural Language Enhancements - The Assistant now understands choose source, set source, change source, and select source when you want to change the Assistant's data source.  When you ask the Assistant a question that doesn't require a visualization, the Assistant now responds with just the relevant values.  The assistant now understands: What is, When is, Where is, Who is.

Dashboards

Automatic Sorting in Month, Weekday, and Season Columns - In newly loaded database schemas and uploaded files, the members in the month, weekday, or season columns are automatically sorted in chronological order, no matter in which order they are listed originally.

Showing Additional Data Values in Tooltips – display additional values in the tooltip data field.

Expanding Visualization Content in PDF Content - You can configure crosstab, table, or list visualizations on the dashboard to export detailed information into new pages in the PDF output. A hyperlink at the visualization on the main canvas in the PDF file directs you to the new page where the detailed visualization information appears.

Showing and Styling Stack Labels in Stacked Visualizations – New show stacked label property to show the sum of each item in a stacked visualization.

Showing and Styling Stack Labels in Stacked Visualizations

Additional Fields in Line and Column Visualization – 2 new fields are available in this visualization.  Column y start and Column Target.

Additional Fields in Line and Column Visualization

Styling Titles of Repeated Row and Columns in Visualizations – When you repeat a column or row you can now add formatting to those titles.

Styling Titles of Repeated Row and Columns in Visualizations

Icon Visibility in the Visualization Header – you can hide or show icons in the visualization header now in Cognos Analytics 12.0.1

Better Documentation of all Visualizations – please see the link for this documentation. 

Reporting

Excel Sheet Naming Improvements – In Cognos Analytics 12.0.1 this has been greatly improved.  Please see link for all the details.  

Event Agent

Event Studio – Event Studio was reinstated as a standard component in Cognos Analytics 12.0.1 and is now named Event Agent.

Administration

Activities Page Enhancements – The activities page contains many improvements and is best described here.  

New Settings for Uploaded File and Data Set Size - Administrators can now use the Manage component to configure size limits for uploaded files and for data sets.

New Settings for Uploaded File and Data Set Size

New Watsonx Data Connector - A new connection editor, watsonx.data, is available for creating data source connections.

Summary

There you have it; Cognos Analytics 12.0.1 brings some nice enhancements across the board in Cognos Analytics.

If you haven’t checked out my blog on Cognos Analytics 12, please check that out here

Next, head over to this blog to understand why you should upgrade today.  

Last, you can check out a quick demo of Cognos 12, most specifically the amazing Assistant here

You can always reach me at services@lodestarsolutions.com to discuss your specific needs.  We offer some amazing upgrade bundles to get you on the latest and greatest version.

Unleashing Business Insights: A Comparison of Cognos Analytics and Power BI

Elevate Your Analytics Game Power BI vs. Cognos Analytics - Unraveling the Differences
Written by Mike Bernaiche, August 24th, 2023

Cognos Analytics and Power BI are two prominent names in the realm of data analytics and visualization, each offering unique features and capabilities. In the era of data-driven decision-making, organizations rely heavily on business intelligence tools to extract actionable insights from their data. In this blog post, we'll dive into the world of Cognos Analytics and Power BI, comparing their strengths, features, and benefits. We are also hosting a live webinar unraveling the differences of Cognos Analytics and Power BI on Thursday, September 7, 2023, at 2pm Eastern.  You can register by scanning the QR code below or clicking this link.

Cognos Analytics vs Power BI Event
Elevate Your Analytics Game Power BI vs. Cognos Analytics - Unraveling the Differences

Cognos Analytics: Empowering Sophisticated Analytics

Cognos Analytics, developed by IBM, is a robust business intelligence platform designed to help organizations uncover deeper insights and make data-driven decisions. With its comprehensive suite of features, Cognos Analytics offers a powerful solution for businesses looking to harness the full potential of their data.

Key Features of Cognos Analytics:

  1. Advanced Analytics: Cognos Analytics provides advanced analytics capabilities, including predictive analytics and machine learning integration, enabling users to uncover hidden patterns and trends within their data.
  2. Data Modeling: The platform offers sophisticated data modeling tools that allow users to create complex data relationships and calculations, providing a deeper understanding of the data landscape.
  3. Enterprise Reporting: Cognos Analytics excels in creating highly formatted, pixel-perfect reports suitable for corporate reporting, financial statements, and compliance-related documents.
  4. Scalability: It's well-suited for large enterprises with complex data environments, offering scalability to handle extensive datasets and accommodate diverse user needs.
  5. Data Governance: Cognos Analytics places emphasis on data governance and security, making it an appealing choice for industries with strict regulatory requirements.

Power BI: Empowering Intuitive Data Visualization

Power BI, a Microsoft product, is known for its user-friendly interface and robust data visualization capabilities. It's designed to democratize data analytics, enabling users across all levels of an organization to create, share, and collaborate on insights.

Key Features of Power BI:

  1. User-Friendly Interface: Power BI's intuitive drag-and-drop interface allows users to create interactive visualizations and reports without the need for extensive technical skills.
  2. Data Connectivity: The platform seamlessly integrates with various data sources, including Excel, cloud services like Azure, and popular databases, making data consolidation effortless.
  3. Visual Exploration: Power BI offers a vast library of pre-built visualizations and custom visuals, allowing users to present data creatively and explore insights through dynamic dashboards.
  4. Natural Language Querying: Power BI's natural language query feature allows users to ask questions in plain language and receive visualized answers, making data exploration even more accessible.
  5. Collaboration: Power BI supports easy sharing and collaboration, enabling teams to work together on reports and dashboards in real-time, and fostering cross-functional insights.

Myths

Certainly, there are some common myths and misconceptions associated with both Cognos Analytics and Power BI. Let's debunk a few of these myths:

Myths about Cognos Analytics:

  1. Cognos is Only for Large Enterprises: While Cognos Analytics is known for its robust features that cater to complex enterprise needs, it is also suitable for small and medium-sized businesses. It offers various editions and deployment options to cater to different organizational sizes.
  2. Cognos is Too Complex for Business Users: While Cognos Analytics does offer advanced capabilities, it also provides user-friendly interfaces and tools that enable business users to create their own reports and dashboards without deep technical expertise.
  3. Cognos is Only for IT Professionals: While IT professionals often play a role in setting up and managing Cognos environments, the tool is designed to empower business users to create, customize, and access their own reports and visualizations.
  4. Cognos Lacks Modern Visualization: Cognos Analytics has evolved over time to include modern visualization options that allow for interactive and visually appealing dashboards, similar to other contemporary BI tools.

Myths about Power BI:

  1. Power BI is Only for Microsoft Users: While Power BI integrates seamlessly with Microsoft products, it supports a wide range of data sources and can be used on various platforms, making it accessible to users across different ecosystems.
  2. Power BI is Only for Small Data: Power BI can handle both small and large datasets effectively. With features like DirectQuery and data compression, it can handle substantial volumes of data without sacrificing performance.
  3. Power BI is Only a Visualization Tool: While Power BI is renowned for its data visualization capabilities, it also offers powerful data transformation, modeling, and analysis functionalities, making it a comprehensive end-to-end BI solution.
  4. Power BI is Not Secure: Power BI offers robust security features, including role-based access control, row-level security, and data encryption, to ensure that sensitive data remains protected.

It's important to dispel these myths to make informed decisions about choosing the right BI tool for your organization. Both Cognos Analytics and Power BI have evolved to meet the needs of various users and organizations, and understanding their capabilities and limitations can help you utilize them effectively.  Join on us on Thursday, September 7, 2023, at 2pm Eastern where we take a deeper dive into the strengths and weaknesses and further dispel these myths.  Which is better?  Cognos Analytics or Power BI?

Conclusion:

Both Cognos Analytics and Power BI bring immense value to the table when it comes to data analytics and visualization. Cognos Analytics shines with its advanced analytics capabilities and suitability for large enterprises with complex data needs. On the other hand, Power BI's user-friendly interface, extensive data connectivity, and emphasis on democratizing data analytics make it an excellent choice for organizations aiming to empower users at all skill levels.

Ultimately, the choice between Cognos Analytics and Power BI depends on factors such as your organization's size, data complexity, technical expertise, and desired level of user accessibility. Regardless of your decision, both platforms are essential tools in the journey toward making data-driven decisions that lead to business success.

To learn more please reach out to us at services@lodestarsolutions.com.

And be sure to check out Lodestars' recent blog on Cognos Analytics 12

Stop Spreadsheet Anarchy, Increase End User Adoption of Cognos and IBM Planning Analytics

Stop Spreadsheet Anarchy, Increase End User Adoption of Cognos and IBM Planning Analytics
Stop Spreadsheet Anarchy, Increase End User Adoption of Cognos and IBM Planning Analytics
Written by Heather L. Cole, March 1st, 2023

The number one question I get asked from our IBM Cognos and IBM Planning Analytics customers is, “How can we increase end user adoption of Cognos and IBM Planning Analytics?”  One client made me laugh when they asked, “How do you control spreadsheet anarchy within an organization?  The ongoing trend by some is to grab large amounts of data from multiple published data sources and spin up highly customized versions of existing reports or parts of other reports.”   Spreadsheet Anarchy, what a great way to describe it.  It’s time to stop spreadsheet anarchy and increase end user adoption of Cognos and IBM Planning Analytics.

Today I’ll share a few secrets to increasing end user adoption of Cognos and IBM Planning Analytics.

Listen to End Users Challenges

The first step to solving spreadsheet anarchy is to understand why end users are not using the tools you are providing.  When you stop telling them to use Cognos or Planning Analytics and start listening to their challenges and why they feel the tools are not meeting their needs, you will discover the cause.  In our experience the cause is one or more of the following:

  •  the end users were not properly trained on Cognos or Planning Analytics.
  • clients are on an outdated release and the functionality they seek is in a new release.
  • the data they seek has not been incorporated into Cognos or Planning Analytics.
  • functionality has been restricted by administrators.

Share the WHY!

After you listen to their challenges and why they are using spreadsheets, it’s important to share the WHY.  Why is it important that they use the tools you provide?  Is it that you want to ensure everyone is working from the validated and secured data?  If so, share what happens when decisions are made on bad data.  Is it to eliminate the errors that spreadsheets are prone to having?  We recommend you create a list of why you need your users to standardize and make sure your team knows how to communicate the message.

Engage Users in The Creation (WORKSHOPS)

It’s been long proven that people support and embrace what they create.  A fast way to increase end user adoption is to engage end users in the design and development of the solution.  I know you may be thinking whoa that would be nuts, they don’t know how to create reports or models.  But hear me out, you don’t need them to create the Cognos reports or Planning Analytics models, you need to let them discuss the business goals they are tasked with achieving and the challenges they are facing.  The best way to do this is by hosting workshops.  Workshops can be held live, in person, or virtually via zoom.  If you are not familiar with workshops check out or blog on Discovering Requirements.

Continuous Training of New Functionality

The next step to increase end user adoption of analytics is to provide continuous training.  Do you see that?  CONTINUOUS!  IBM keeps adding new functionality to the software and end users typically only really learn what they need to use at the time.  So, it’s important to provide continuous training and workshop opportunities for your end users.  Consider building a training program internally.  If you need help with training, here’s a link to how Lodestar Solutions can help. 

IBM Infusing AI & Improve Self Reliance

IBM has done a great job of working to help increase end user adoption of Cognos and Planning Analytics as well.  They have done this in a number of ways.

Better In Application Help

Do you remember the day of the Red Books?  They were guides to help you use Cognos.  Or maybe you purchased the big, IBM Cognos TM1 The official Guide, and had it on your desk.  Lugging that around was a good workout. 

IBM Cognos TM1 The official Guide

Today IBM has incorporated the details you need into their in application help and search.  This empowers end users to try new things and feel more confident using the solutions.

Natural Language Processing (NLP)

IBM has incorporated NLP capabilities in Cognos Analytics and Planning Analytics, which enables users to ask questions in natural language (normal words) and get answers in a human-like response.  This allows for more intuitive and user-friendly interactions with the software.

Predictive Analytics

One of the coolest things we are seeing from IBM is the integration of  predictive analytics capabilities into Cognos Analytics and Planning Analytics.  This allows users to forecast trends and identify patterns in data.  This is especially useful for Planning Analytics users that want to leverage the data to forecast out the future.  The result is end users can make more informed decisions and optimize their business strategies.

Cognitive Computing

Did you notice IBM changed the name of their products again?  Cognos is now IBM Cognos Analytics with Watson, and TM1 became Planning Analytics, and is now IBM Planning Analytics with Watson.  Well, it was not just the marketing team being creative.  IBM has incorporated cognitive computing and Watson technologies into Cognos Analytics and Planning Analytics.  This includes the use of machine learning algorithms and other advanced analytics techniques to automate data analysis and decision-making processes.

Intelligent Automation

IBM has introduced greater automation capabilities in Cognos Analytics and Planning Analytics, which allows for the automation of routine data tasks such as data preparation, cleansing, and transformation.  Automation is the key to increasing productivity, so look at where you are spending time doing repetitive tasks and see if you can automate it.  This will give you time to focus on more complex data analysis and strategic decision-making.  (Cognos Automation)

Cognos SDK

For Cognos users the IBM Software Development Kit (SDK) is used to automate many tasks.  But what a lot of users don’t know is IBM includes the Cognos SDK in the Admin license.  This has not always been the case.  You used to need to buy a separate license.  Here’s our very old blog, where we informed everyone of this change. 

The Answer

We can all agree it’s time to stop spreadsheet anarchy and increase end user adoption of Cognos and IBM Planning Analytics.  The first step is to create a Plan that includes engaging with your end users.  I am a huge fan of workshops because they can align the teams and build camaraderie even if done virtually.  Keep an eye out, Lodestar will be sharing more on hosting workshops soon.

If you are on an old release of Planning Analytics or Cognos, it’s probably time to upgrade.  Lodestar solutions can help you plan your upgrade and provide technical services and training for your team.  For more information email services@lodestarsolutions.com.

New in Cognos Analytics 11.2.4 – Important Information!

New in Cognos Analytics 11.2.4
New in Cognos Analytics 11.2.4

In December 2022, IBM released Cognos Analytics 11.2.4. There are several efficiency enhancements, changes, and some very important information on future releases.  Please read below for all the important information. 

In summary Cognos Analytics 11.2.4 provides the following:

  •  Query engine performance improvements
  • Microsoft™ Teams integration for Cognos reports
  • Data source support
  • Capability to render maps in PDF and Excel
  • Natural language generation in dashboards
  • Themes support for toolbar colors

Now on to the details of these additions and more!

Long Term Support

IBM Cognos Analytics 11.2.4 is a long-term support release (LTSR) and provides standard support for a minimum of two years with an available one-year extended support option to provide coverage for a total of three years minimum.  IBM provides defect corrections, security patches, and select conformance updates on Cognos Analytics 11.2.4 as needed during the supported period.

Why is this important?  Cognos Analytics 11.1.7 was the previous LTSR and with this release the new LTSR is Cognos Analytics 11.2.4.  This means that you should start to make plans to upgrade from any version prior to 11.2.4 soon.  At a minimum, you should be on version 11.1.7 today.

Cognos Analytics 11.2.4

Legacy Studios

Cognos Analytics 11.2.4 (LTSR) is the final release that includes IBM Cognos Query Studio, IBM Cognos Analysis Studio, and IBM Cognos Workspace.  Support for Cognos Query Studio, Cognos Analysis Studio, and Cognos Workspace will not be continued after the current release.

What does this mean?  You will still have support and availability of Query Studio, Analysis Studio and Cognos Workspace on version 11.2.4.  Once you upgrade past 11.2.4, support will NOT be available through IBM and the studios will not be available in Cognos Analytics.  I highly suggest you start planning to upgrade to Cognos Analytics 11.2.4, however, I also suggest you start to make a plan for the above studios to go away.  How does that change what you do today and what can we do to help you through this transition?  Reach out to us at services@lodestarsolutions.com to start these discussions.

Hardware and Software Requirements

Something we don’t highlight enough are the requirements for Cognos Analytics.  IBM provides links to each of these requirements, and I suggest from time to time, clicking on this link to read the latest and verify your set up.  

We can also help you through this by reaching out to us at services@lodestarsolutions.com.

Ok, on to the enhancements and product changes in Cognos Analytics 11.2.4.

Assistant

Support for Assistant capabilities on data sources - The Use Assistant capability can now be set at the source level.  Previously, capability to use the Assistant was set at the user level.  When the Use Assistant capability is enabled on a source, you can interact with the source in the Assistant and ask questions or create a visualization or dashboard.

When you open the assistant panel, the source is set to the active data source that is in Dashboard or Explore, depending on which component you open the assistant panel from.  If you do not have Use Assistant capability for the source, you might be prompted to select a source before you can proceed. If you do not have Use Assistant capability on a specific source, when you enter Show source <source name>, the Assistant displays a message indicating that the package cannot be used.

Dashboards

Narrative Insights - Narrative Insights derive and leverage data from outside the visualization (such as by using other measures, categories, or time dimensions) to explain or highlight potential drivers, underlying causes, or further breakdown data.  These are different from insights that were released in Cognos Analytics 11.1.3.  The new auto-generated narrative insights are in natural language, making it easier to read and understand these insights.  Think explorations inside a dashboard visualization.

Narrative Insights in Dashboards

Zoom Levels on Dashboard Canvas -

Zoom Levels on Dashboard Canvas
Zoom Levels on Dashboard Canvas2

Zoom Bar – the zoom bar in now in bubble, line, column and scatter charts.  You can use this bar to zoom in on individual visualizaitons and drive deeper insights.

Bubble Size Limits – you can now spicify the minimun and maximun size on bubble charts.

Alignment position for zero in line and column charts - In line and column visualizations, you can control whether or not the line and column sections have zero in the same position.

Handleing missing values in line visualizations – you can specify how missing values are now handled in line visualizaitons.

Data Labels in Visualizations - You can show value labels in line visualizations and line and column visualizations so that the data values are clearer.

Reporting

New VIDA Image Service - A new service, VIDA Image Service, is introduced in Cognos Analytics 11.2.4.  This service allows Cognos Analytics reports to render maps and other visualizations into PDF and Excel formats.  In previous releases, these visualizations were available only in HTML format.

VIDA Image Service supports these chart types:

  • Map (Tiledmap using MapBox API)
  • Donut
  • Treemap
  • Bullet
  • Marimekko

To learn about installing the VIDA image service please click here

Embedded Reports in Microsoft Teams – you can now add a tab within teams to embed a Cognos Analytics Report.

Bulk Conversion of Query and Analysis Reports - Convert a group object of type query (Query Studio report) or analysis (Analysis Studio report) to objects of type report.  This supports the deprecation of Query Studio and Analysis Studio and allows you to migrate your analysis and query content to Cognos Analytics Reporting.

Bulk Conversion of Query and Analysis Reports

For instruction on how to accomplish this please see this link.  

Trend Lines in Bubble and Scatter Visualizaitons - You can apply a trendline to the X- and Y-axis data items in bubble and scatter visualizations.  Apply trendlines to X- and Y-axis data items to illustrate trends in those specific items, typically when charting predictions.

PDF Drill Behavior - Drill-through behavior in PDF reports is changed to work similarly as in Cognos® Analytics 11.1.7.  In Cognos Analytics 11.1.7 and earlier versions, PDF drill through was supported only in Internet Explorer, using Adobe Acrobat Reader.  Acrobat Reader provided a mechanism that allowed for generation of self-contained PDFs where the drill-through information was encapsulated in the PDF. Drill-through links worked as long as the PDF was viewed in Acrobat Reader.

Starting in Cognos Analytics 11.2.0, PDF drill through became available in all supported browsers and their respective PDF viewers. Because some of the viewers don't provide the same functionality as Acrobat Reader, the PDF output needed to be saved in Cognos Analytics for the drill-through links to work.

For cases where the PDF output is not saved in Cognos Analytics, a change is delivered in this release (11.2.4) that allows the drill-through links to work like they did in Cognos Analytics 11.1.7: in self-contained PDF reports that can be viewed in Adobe Acrobat Reader. The drill-through links don't work if the PDF report is opened outside of Cognos Analytics, in a viewer other than Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Downloaded PDF reports can be opened in any PDF viewer. However, drill-through links work only in the following situations:

  • The downloaded PDF report is viewed in Adobe Acrobat Reader.
  • The report output is saved in Cognos Analytics, such as when running a report in the background and selecting the Save Delivery option.

Modeling

Dynamic Source Override - Data modules can be dynamically redirected to different data server connections, schemas, or catalogs at run time.

Convert and Relink Option Available for All Types of Tables - The Convert and relink option is now available for all types of referenced tables, including the except, intersect, join, union, and SQL-based tables.

Current_date Sesison Parameter added for Dynamic Query Mode

Administration

There are serval additions and changes for administrators.  For all that information please see this link. 

Summary

There is a lot going on with Cognos Analytics 11.2.4 and we are here to help!  Please reach out to us at services@lodestarsolutions.com and let our experts help you with this transition.  As mentioned earlier, please start to plan for upgrading to Cognos Analytics 11.2.4 and beyond.  Especially with the Query and Analysis studio announcement, planning is even more important.

2023 Lodestar Solutions Services

2023 Lodestar Solutions Services
2023 Lodestar Solutions Services
Written by Mike Bernaiche, December 23rd, 2022

Lodestar Solutions Services team is ready to help in 2023!  I wanted to take a minute and provide details on everything Lodestar Solutions Services team offers.  Whether it is a big project or small, redesign or upgrades, we can deliver on all of your needs for Cognos and Planning Analytics.  We even provide consulting on Power BI!  Plus, with our partner network and addon products, we can help take your analytics initiatives to the next level!  Please reach out to us at services@lodestarsolutions.com to discuss your needs and let us put a plan in place to take your analytics to the next level.

Technical Services – Installations and Upgrades

At Lodestar Solutions Services, we can handle all your installs and upgrades on:

  •  Planning Analytics
  • Cognos Analytics
  • Cognos Planning
  • Cognos Controller
  • ILMT
  • Data Connections to IBM SaaS offerings

Our technical expert has over 15 years of experience on IBM Analytics products and can perform the upgrade on their own or work with your team to guide your internal resources on a successful install or upgrade.  Over the years we have performed hundreds of installs or upgrades on IBM products and we are here to help you be successful!

We offer upgrade bundles that can save you time and money on your install or upgrade and provide extra technical support hours for those pesky issues that come up from time to time.

Planning Analytics Services

Lodestar has a vast array of Planning Analytics Consultants that can handle the smallest project to the very large and complex.  Utilizing best practices and the newest technology that Planning Analytics has to offer so we ensure all your Planning Analytics needs are exceeded.  Lately, we have been performing model redesigns to utilize some of the newer features in Planning Analytics, like virtual hierarchies.  Maybe you have outgrown your current models and it is time for enhancements.  Whatever your needs are we are here to support you and make you successful.

Our services include but are not limited to:

  •  Architecture
  • Dimension builds
  • Cube builds
  • Integration with Data
  • Model Redesign
  • Planning Analytics for Excel Reporting and Data Entry Points
  • Planning Analytics Workspace Dashboards and Entry

Cognos Analytics Services

We also have you covered on Cognos Analytics Projects.  Lodestar has several excellent consultants to meet your needs on reporting, dashboards and modeling in Cognos Analytics.  Perhaps you want to learn about some of the new features in Cognos Analytics or just need some simple reporting work, we have you covered. 

Our services include but are not limited to:

  • Framework and Data Modeling
  • Dashboard Design
  • Reporting
  • PowerPlay and Transformer
  • Explorations
  • Bursting Reports
  • Power BI Services

    Recently we started consulting on Power BI Reporting.  We have an excellent Power BI resource that can work with your team on dashboards, reporting, and data.  Reach out to us to discuss your Power BI needs and let our expert work hand in hand with you. 

    Training

    Lodestar offers several different training programs on both Cognos Analytics and Planning Analytics.  Let our certified trainers help your organization get up to speed on everything from model design to Dashboarding.  We can come onsite or deliver virtual training for your organization at a very cost-effective rate.

    Cognos Analytics

    •  Framework Manager
    • Data Modules
    • Explorations
    • Basic and Advanced Reporting
    • Dashboards
    • Administration

    Planning Analytics

    •  Complete Modeling in Workspace
    • Workspace end user set up and design
    • Planning Analytics for Excel
    • Administration

    Add on Software

    Did you know that Lodestar partners with and sells several different addon software platforms to take your Cognos or Planning Analytics to the next level?  Read below for information on each product and don’t forget to reach out to us if you are interested.  We can set up demo’s and take care of everything to get that product ordered for you!

    TM1 Connect – Do you own Planning Analytics and need to create reports in something other than Cognos Analytics?  TM1 Connect solves that problem!  You can connect your PA data to Power BI, Tableau, Qlik and pretty much any other BI tool through an ODBC connection and provide that reporting in your BI software. 

    TM1 Connect

    Digital Hive – Those of you with multiple BI/Data systems need to check out Digital Hive.  It is your single-entry point to all of your data and so much more.  We recently had a demo of this product in our client only user group and it was amazing.  Reach out to us for more info and a demo today!

    Digital Hive
    Digital Hive

    Motio – Tools for the CA administrator or power user to make your life so much easier!

                MotioPI Pro - MotioPI Pro gives Cognos Administrators tools and automations to bring even more efficiencies to your work with Cognos.  MotioPI Pro saves you time, effort, and frustrations across a world of Cognos administrative tasks.

                MotioCI - MotioCI provides Cognos authors and administrators with new capabilities including faster upgrades, change management & version control, faster deployments, automated testing, and improved cleanup.

    ReportWorq - enables you to generate and distribute personalized reports across your organization with ease.  You can develop stunning dashboards and professional reports with all the power of Microsoft Excel from IBM Planning Analytics.  When it’s time for distribution, ReportWORQ’s scalable bursting functionality is like an enterprise mail merge, generating, collating, and distributing personalized reports across your organization through Network Drives, Email, SharePoint and even Slack Channels. Yes, burst PA data!

    ControlWorq – extends Planning Analytics by providing a framework of controls that facilitates financial reporting.

    Key Benefits:

    •  Controlled, balanced, authorized, and auditable journal entries
    • Excel and web user interfaces available
    • Automated recurring and reversing journals
    • Journals can be posted individually or in a batch
    • Reconciliation reporting for inter-company balances
    • Automatic elimination of journals of inter-company balances
    • Real‐time visibility of the impact of journal entries in IBM Planning Analytics

    Summary

    As you can see Lodestar Solutions Services team has you covered.  Our consultants have many years of experience and hundreds of successful projects on our resume.  Reach out to us at services@lodestarsolutions.com and schedule a consultation today.

    Top Ten Cognos and Planning Analytics Features in 2022

    Top 10 Cognos and Planning Analytics Features in 2022
    Top 10 Cognos and Planning Analytics Features in 2022
    Written by Mike Bernaiche, November 11th 2022

    It is that time of year where you start to see top ten lists of different things.  I thought it would be a good idea to highlight some of my favorite things about Cognos and Planning Analytics in one place and thus provide you my top ten features in Cognos and Planning Analytics in 2022.  Without further delay….  Here are my top ten features in Cognos and Planning Analytics for 2022!

    Favorite Features 10 to 7

    10. Learn Panel in Cognos and Planning Analytics.  IBM spent considerable resources on the quality and usefulness of documentation on both products.  The learn panel is intuitive, gets you answers quickly and even suggests things to view as you look something up.  It includes webpages, videos, tutorials, and documents.  Let’s say you need to figure out a rule in Planning Analytics or how to set up bursting in Cognos Analytics.  Simply start typing in the learn panel and watch the magic happen.  As you can see below, the results speak for themselves. You can even click on the forum area to get even greater info for a broad user base.

    Learn Panel
    Learn Panel

    9. Insights in Visualization using Analytics Panel in Cognos Analytics.  Insights in visualizations provide analytic insights that can help users to detect and validate any important relationships and meaningful differences based on the data that is presented by the visualization.  The type of insights depends on the displayed data by the visualization.  Available types of insights are Average, Predictive strength, Meaningful Differences, Fit Line, and Most Frequent.  Average provides the mean of the displayed summaries, and most frequent the category or category that appears most often in the data.  The rest of the insights depend on more advanced analytics and statistical tests.  The goal is to provide reliable information that you can use for an enhanced description of the viewed data and discovery of any relationships that are expected to be found in the population that is represented by this data.  This area is new to Cognos Analytics 11.2.3 and I would expect IBM to continue to enhance this area in future releases.

    Insights in Visualization using Analytics Panel

    8. Explorations in Cognos Analytics.  Explore is a flexible workspace where you can discover and analyze data.  You can also explore an existing visualization from a dashboard or story, uncover hidden relationships and identify patterns that turn your data into insights.  Correlated insights are represented by a green icon with a number on the x-axis, y-axis, or the title of a chart.  Ok that was the technical speak.  Now for my thoughts.  At first, I didn’t really get why explorations could be powerful or why you would even use it.  After spending some time really getting to understand how explorations can work and how much effort IBM has put into improving them, I’m a big fan.  Simple case, select 2 points of your data and let the system tell you what to start to look at.  Pin that information and quickly use it in a dashboard.  Speaking of pins.  This is 8.1 of my favorite things in Cognos Analytics.  Pinning visualizations allows you to save information and use it across Cognos Analytics in a quick and efficient way.

    Explorations in Cognos Analytics
    Explorations in Cognos Analytics

    7. Planning Analytics for Excel (PAFe) in Planning Analytics.  Everyone loves Excel!  With PAfe you can have an excel experience in Planning Analytics while exploring data, reporting or inputting data.  You can create several different items in PAFe.

    •  Explorations – slice and dice your data
    • Static – Create a report that is disconnected from the PA database and send to anyone
    • Dynamic – Create presentation style reports and also create data input files
    • Custom – Start from scratch and build what you want.

    By the way, whatever you create in PAFe, you can publish to Planning Analytics Workspace

    Planning Analytics for Excel
    Planning Analytics for Excel

    Favorite Features 6 to 4

    6. Data Models and Data Sets in Cognos Analytics.  You can use data modeling in Cognos Analytics to fuse together many sources of data, including relational databases, Hadoop-based technologies, Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, text files, and so on.  Using these sources, a data module is created that can then be used in reports, dashboards, or explorations.  Data sets are customized collections of data items that you use frequently.  As you make updates to the data set, the dashboards, stories, or explorations that use that data set are also updated the next time you run them.  You can create data sets from packages or data modules, and use as sources to create dashboards, stories, explorations, and data modules.

    Data Models and Data Sets in Cognos Analytics

    5. Navigation Paths and Relative Time in Cognos Analytics.  To expand on your Dashboards and Reports using data models and data sets, use navigation paths and relative time.

    • Navigation Paths – provide a drill up and down feature to your data.  In data models or dashboards simply click on the navigation path area and create your drill path.  Go from Country, to State, to City with clicks of a button in your data and visualizations.
    • Relative Time – with a few clicks of a button create YTD, QTD, MTD, last month, current month and so many more relative time filters in your data to be used across Cognos.
    Navigation Paths and Relative Time in Cognos Analytics
    Navigation Paths and Relative Time in Cognos Analytics

    4. Dashboards in Cognos Analytics.  Dashboards in Cognos Analytics has come a long way over time and especially in the last year.  First, with Cognos Analytics version 11.2.1 the speed to render improved signficantly.  IBM has added in a ton of formatting enhancmenets from colors, fonts and the like.  There are many new visualizations that compete with other BI products available and you can now export the dashboard to a PDF document.  All things considered I believe Cognos Analytics dashboards compete and exceed any BI product available!

    Dashboards in Cognos Analytics

    The Top 3 Features in Cognos and Planning Analytics for 2022

    3. Applications and Plans in Planning Analytics.  Applications and Plans have seen significant enhancements in 2022.  Honestly, Planning Analytics Workspace has improved so much that it is imperative you own it and use it.  More on that shortly.  Back to application and plans.  I wrote a detailed blog on everything new in applications and plans and you can find that here.   Everything written in the blog above is now available as of Planning Analytics Workspace 82 (the most recent version).  In short if you haven’t checked out applications and plans in Planning Analytics, do so now!

    Applications and Plans in Planning Analytics

    2. AI Assistant in Cognos Analytics.  The AI assistant is game changing for Cognos Analytics.  It has gained so many enhancements over the past year that if you are not using this, you are missing out.  In Cognos Analytics version 11.2.2 and 11.2.3, the AI assistant added in time specific filtering.  Things like:

    •  Show sales this Thursday
    • Show sales between last Monday and last Wednesday
    • Show me sales for camping equipment from June 1-5
    • What is the total income between Halloween and Christmas
    • Show sales for 2021
    • Show October 2021 sales by product
    • YTD, QTD, MTD and abbreviations like Mon for Monday and Thur for Thursday and Xmas for Christmas to narrow your search in the assistant.

    Type in “Show quantity between 1/1/20 and 2/29/20” and let the system generate visualizations based on what you typed. 

    As you can see, I typed that into the assistant, and it provided the following.

    AI Assistant in Cognos Analytics

    Now let’s check to make sure it is correct.  I simply created a visualization and filtered on the dates I typed into the AI Assistant.  As you can see the system generated the correct data.

    AI Assistant

    Finally, my favorite feature in the AI Assistant is the ability to grab a data source and type in “create dashboard’ and watch the magic happen.  The system will create a dashboard with relevant data and then you can pick and choose what you would like to keep by pinning it and then creating other items to complete your dashboard. 

    Create Dashboard in the AI Assistant

    1. Workspace in Planning Analytics.  Finally, my favorite feature in Cognos and Planning Analytics is Workspace.  IBM has done an excellent job with Workspace in Planning Analytics and I’m going to spend a little time on why you should be using this.  And if you don’t already own it, why you should reach out to us at sales@lodestarsolutions.com to discuss adding this to your license entitlements.

    IBM Planning Analytics Workspace is a web-based interface for IBM Planning Analytics with Watson™.  It provides an interface to TM1® data, with ways to plan, create, and analyze your content.

    Planning Analytics Workspace helps you focus on the things that matter to your business. Using Planning Analytics Workspace, you can identify and understand patterns and relationships in data.  You can use this information to understand why things happen and predict what might happen. Planning Analytics Workspace opens the world of advanced analytics to all business users.

    IBM has spent an enormous amount of time building Workspace to be your A to Z space to build models, input data, analyze data and reports.

    Over the past year IBM introduced the Workbench in Workspace.  This is the main area for modelers to create TI processes, dimensions, cubes, rules and everything else you need to build your models.  Those of you who build models in Architect remember having multiple windows open to simply create a cube.  Now with the Workbench you have a flexible space that allows multiple windows open in one place adding great efficiency to the model building task.

    Workbench in Workspace

    Now that we have talked about the Workbench, let’s spend some time talking about the power of Workspace from a user perspective.  The ability to enter data and create visualizations based on the data that sync with data entry is so powerful.  After data entry the ability to create a dashboard to analyze that data in a visual way brings many insights to your data that were not readily available prior to Workspace.

    Planning Analytics Workspace

    Trust me when I tell you, if you are not using Workspace or do not have licensing for Workspace, you need to reach out to us today!

    Helpful Links and Summary

    There it is!  My list of the top ten features in Cognos and Planning Analytics for 2022.  There are so many more great features that didn’t make my top ten list.  However, both Cognos and Planning Analytics have come a long way and are both very impressive offerings from IBM.  Based on the roadmap for both products even more is coming in 2023. 

    If you are not on the latest versions and you need help upgrading, reach out to me at services@lodestarsolutions.com.  We have several different offerings to get you upgraded and save you dollars and time.

    If you do not own Workspace and would like to learn more reach out to us at sales@lodestarsolutions.com.

    For everything new in Cognos Analytics

    For everything new in Planning Analytics

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