IBM Cognos Active Reports Known Issues

​IBM Cognos Active Reports Known Issues

I grew up on Long Island in New York, so I have had my share of dreary winter months. Moving to the Gulf coast of Florida seemed to be the answer to my utter aversion to cold weather. I still remember my first Florida winter twenty years ago. I enjoyed swimming in the Gulf through most of that December. Then, right before the holidays, the temperatures dipped down to nearly the freezing point. Even our sunny Florida weather has its limitations. IBM Active Reports is an excellent solution for delivering off line reports to end users on the go. However, it too has its limitations. Following are issues that end users have run up against while using Active Reports.

active reports

1. Very slow performance with large data sets

Reason: Active Reports renders the data decks at runtime, encapsulates them into an MHT file, and then sends that file out.

Suggestions: use Active Reports only for a small amount of data. The queries assigned to the data deck should contain only the required data items. Apply query filters to return only values of interest from the data items in the data deck.

2. Creating an interactive dashboard with Active Reports performance is very slow

Reason: Active Reports can be run interactively from within Cognos Connection, but performance is very slow, as the report is run to produce the MHT file and then the MHT file is opened in the web browser.

Suggestion: For Interactive Dashboards, use Business Insight Advanced instead of Active Reports.

3. Report never appears when opening from Cognos Connection

Reason: A dialog box opens every time a report is run from Cognos Connection giving the option to open or save the report. Note, some users find this box annoying. Users choosing open instead of save have reported the problem of the report never appearing.

Suggestions: Choose save from the dialog box and then open the saved output in Cognos Connection. Instead of running Active Reports from Cognos Connection to create the effect of an Interactive Dashboard, use Business Insight Advanced. IBM addressed issues with running Active Reports in Cognos Connection with version 10.2.

4. Cannot export to Excel format

Reason: Active Reports can only export to MHT, which means it is an archive with design & layout information and the data itself saved into one file.

Suggestion: Active Reports are not designed to be exported into Excel. Instead, use Event Studio to attach the Excel output from the original, unconverted report in the same email as the Active Report.

5. Cannot use drill through functionality; does not work when Active Reports are viewed off line

Reason: Drill through for Active Reports cannot work, unless the report is viewed through a Cognos server. The drill through feature requires a connection back to the Cognos server to run the child report. Expecting drill through to work while disconnected would require a lot more data
to be downloaded. Every child report would have to also be run for all data and then downloaded.

Suggestion: Drill up and down is available while disconnected because all that data has already been

6. Unable to reopen Active Report saved in web browser

Reason: Saving an active report in a browser creates a new MHT file. It is a different file from the original MHT file so reopening will open a different file.

Suggestion: When receiving a report in email, first save the report onto your computer and then open the saved MHT file.

7. Active Reports does not open in web browser

Suggestions: Check Internet option security settings. Click Trusted sites and then click Sites. In the Add this website to the zone box, type the IBM Cognos BI server's domain. Click Custom level. In the Scripting section, disable XSS filter. Check what the computer’s local system/browser settings are set to do for MHT files.

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We hope you found this blog useful!  To learn what is new in Cognos 11 including active reports check out this blog by clicking here.

When to Use Cognos Event Studio

IBM Cognos Event Studio is often an underutilized Studio but has its place. I think it would be better to explain how you can use this Studio in your everyday duties instead of the traditional white paper approach.  I will use a couple of examples that I think highlight how a business group (departments) can use Event Studio and how a database modeler can use Event Studio.

Scenario A – Process Support

• Sales Order Table holds sales order detail and is important to the production management process. When a sales order is created, a sales order number is automatically created but an order category must be manually entered. The order category is needed by production to prioritize inbound orders. The company cannot change their ERP because of cost and time, so customer service is responsible to enter the category.

The production department expects a report with all orders categorized.  If the orders are not categorized, they might get missed. Clearly we don’t want to risk missing an order, so how do we ensure all orders are categorized?

We create an event that looks at all open orders and find any which do not have a category. When we find one, we send an email to customer service with the order number so they can correct the order. We can schedule the event to run every five minutes or as often as required to make sure the production report is correct and no order is missed.

Scenario B – Data Warehouse

• You have a data warehouse which you use for reporting. Before your data is brought into the warehouse, it is staged for cleaning (transformation). Data that doesn’t pass certain business rules and will require human review are placed in a quarantined area within staging. The clean data is then loaded into the warehouse.  This means there will be a difference between the warehouse and the data source.

To settle the discrepancy, we can create an event that monitors the quarantined area to send an email with an attached report.  This report shows all of the records which did not make it into the warehouse along with the reason why.

This will allow the business to review and correct the data without having to ask IT why it data did not make it into the warehouse.

Cognos Event Studio can help you maintain clean data. Give it a try it might be just what your company needs! Feel free to contact us at for more information.