BAAM 2.0 – Cognos Implementation & Upgrade Success

Let Me Introduce You to BAAM
Let Me Introduce You to BAAM
September 26, 2019

Are you struggling to realize the full benefits of your Cognos investment?  There just doesn’t seem to be enough time to roll out the new Cognos Analytics (BI) functionality or to update your Cognos Planning Analytics (TM1) models.  Well that’s all about to change with Lodestar Solutions’ BAAM 2.0 for Cognos implementation and upgrade success!

BAAM 2.0 – (Business Analytics Agile Methodology) is Lodestar Solutions’ proven Cognos implementation methodology that has been updated to make you successful even when time and resources are limited!

Agile methods have been used for innovation, driving more value and quality for a number of years. At Lodestar Solutions we have taken our knowledge of agile methods, and years of experience implementing IBM Cognos solutions and created a unique approach that is repeatable and included with all of our Cognos implementation and upgrade projects.

Why do we call it BAAM?

According to the highly respected Urban Dictionary, BAAM is a “surprising or unexpected action or response to show that you are smarter than expected.” And you know at Lodestar Solutions we try to be hip.  

But it’s the perfect name for what you are going to achieve when rolling out the new functionality of IBM Cognos Analytics and Cognos Planning Analytics with your upgrade.  Your executives want amazing results but in most organizations executives feel their investment in business intelligence and analytics has fell flat. 

“More than 87% of organizations are classified as having low business intelligence (BI) and analytics maturity”, according to a survey by Gartner, Inc. BAAM 2.0 is designed to help you achieve success. 

Stages of Lodestar Solutions’ BAAM 2.0

  • Pre-Project Planning - Time to get organized and discover the strategic goals of the company
  • Project Kickoff – Team meeting to set expectations and define communication methods. This is where we introduce Smartsheet to our clients.
  • Discovery Meetings – We dive deep to discover what’s possible given your data, resources and timeline.  This creates the game plan for the project
  • Sprints – The project is chunked into smaller projects for success and validation by executives.  This is the secret to the BAAM process, smaller agile components with incremental delivery.
  • Go Live – Knowledge transfer is complete, and you are ready to soar on your own.
  • Post Project – Every project is a learning experience. BAAM projects include a retrospective to share ideas on how to make the next phase faster.
  • Videos for Growth – BAAM teaches analytic professionals that a huge component of success relies on soft skills like influence, communication and facilitation. So we provide educational videos as part of the BAAM process.

What’s New in BAAM 2.0?  

Agile is about improving as you go and learning from your mistakes. Well, even with our BAAM process we learned we had room for improvement. In BAAM 2.0 we focus more on what your executives need to succeed. I am always shocked by how many BI managers are unable to communicate to me what the strategic goals of their company are.  Think about it, your task as a business intelligence and analytics professional is to deliver data and insights to help the organization achieve the strategic goals of the organization.  But, no one communicated what those goals are. Hmm… do you see the disconnect here?  BAAM 2.0 coaches you to focus on what executives and the organization really need.  We are talking about the needle moving dashboards.

BAAM 2.0 Tools 

Effectively running a project requires the proper tools and techniques.  With Lodestar Solutions’ BAAM Cognos implementation solution, we leverage the powerful tools offered by Smartsheet to communicate to everyone involved where we are in the process! Check out to learn more. Smartsheet is more than a great project management tool, it’s a leading work execution platform. Smartsheet helps align people, with technology to empower BAAM to move faster and achieve more in less time.  In full disclosure, Lodestar Solutions fell in love with Smartsheet so much we are now an official Smartsheet partner. Contact us at to learn more.

How to Get BAAM?

Interested in learning more about Lodestar Solutions’ BAAM 2.0 - Cognos Implementation & Upgrade Success, and how you can use our unique Business Analytics Agile Methodology in your organization? Contact us at to schedule an initial consultation.

Facilitation Workshop Coming in Early 2020

To complement our BAAM 2.0, we are designing a new workshop for Analytics professionals on how to facilitate effective requirements discovery sessions and meetings. So that when you run a meeting with executives to create your Cognos Analytics roadmap, your executives will have a BAAM look on their face! Email us at if you want to be notified when the workshop dates are announced.

Cognos Analytics Roadmap 

To learn about building a roadmap check out our video and take our action assessment quiz to see how you are performing based on success criteria.

Defining Successful Test Scripts for IBM Cognos Implementation

Defining Successful Test Scripts for IBM Cognos Implementation

A key step in a successful IBM Cognos implementation is testing.  Many clients struggle with what to include in their test scripts.  Here’s a little Lodestar Solution tip.

As you go thru the design phase, make sure all power users have 3×5 sticky notes. As you define your design, write down each process that you believe should be thoroughly tested on a sticky note.  Include on it a description, expected outcome, data requirements, and foreseeable issues.

Place the notes on a large flip chart.  (I prefer the sticky flip charts on an easel)  At the top of the flip chart, write TESTING SCRIPTS.  The flip chart will allow you to take it to different conference rooms that you might be assigned.

Throughout the build process, you will identify other test scenarios and add them to the flip chart.   When it comes time to define your test scripts, host a team meeting to review all the sticky notes. Organize them by priority and identify any that need to be in sequential order. I recommend numbering them 1 – Critical, 2 – Important, 3 – Average, 4 – Nice to Have.  This will help you organize the notes.  Review with the team the description and data required to accomplish the test.

When you write the detail test scripts, I recommend identifying the areas you would like to have in a customized user guide.  For these test scripts, be very detailed and include screen shots.  This will allow you to include them all in a user guide by simply cut and pasting them into one document.

Remember, if you don’t start planning testing from the beginning you will probably miss something!

Tips for Effectively Using Remote Cognos Consulting

As the budget for implementation services shrink and travel expenses increase, companies can save significant money by leveraging remote or virtual consultants. To make Remote Cognos Consulting effective for an IBM implementation, consider the following tips:

  1. Be Prepared – Create a detailed statement of work outlining the deliverables.
  2. Check Them Out – Check references of the consultant and conduct a phone interview.  You want someone that can speak clearly and is articulate.
  3. Project Binder – Document your issues and questions in a project binder so you can review all your questions during your scheduled consulting time. This will help you cover all your questions and respect the consultants time by not bombarding them with emails.
  4. Agenda – Virtual consultants often will bill in ½ and full day increments, so make sure you have an agenda for each session.
  5. Schedule in Advance – The consultant is most likely working on multiple projects so book critical dates in advance.
  6. Documentation – Don’t skimp on documentation.  Establish a standard for which you expect remote work to be documented for future reference.
  7. Status Reports – Require the consultant to provide periodic status reports of their work listing any road blocks or foreseeable issues.
  8. Time Zone – Consider the time zone of the consultant.  Ideally, you would prefer someone in your time zone not 13 hours different.
  9. Utilize Virtual Meeting Services – GoToMeeting and Webex will allow you to watch what the consultant is working on.  Reputable consultants will have these services at no additional cost to you.
  10. Be Accessible – If the consultant is building reports or models remotely, make sure you are accessible for questions to allow for continued progress.
  11. Be Engaged – Despite the work being completed remotely, you are responsible to make sure the work will meet your expectations.  Have regular checkpoints and ask questions.
  12. Manage Emails – When working virtually, there can be a significant number of emails.  Create a methodology for managing emails that all team members follow.  Try utilizing the subject line to clarify the purpose of the email.  FYI, “Action Required” or “Urgent Request” in the subject line can help team members filter out the non-urgent chatter.

If you are interested in learning more about how Lodestar Solutions can help you with your IBM Cognos implementation, please contact us.