Version Control and Audit Trail for IBM Planning Analytics TM1 with Soterre

Version Control and Audit Trail for IBM Planning Analytics TM1 with Soterre
Version Control and Audit Trail for IBM Planning Analytics TM1 with Soterre
January 28th, 2021

Are you a TM1 Administrator and looking for a better way to know which Modeler changed a TI process or IBM Planning Analytics rule?  Have you ever changed a process or object and thought “Shoot, how can I undo or rollback my change in TM1?”  Introducing version control and audit trail for IBM Planning Analytics TM1 with Soterre.  

Soterre

Soterre is an amazing product developed by our friends at Motio.   You may be familiar with Motio products if you have IBM Cognos Analytics BI, but did you know they also have a tool that helps Cognos Planning Analytics TM1 Administrators? 

Undoing TM1 Object Changes with Soterre

It’s late in the afternoon, the CFO wants to see the final forecast and you notice something is off.  The adrenaline runs through your body.  You need to get home for your child’s birthday, but something is off.  You can’t show the CFO the forecast if something might be wrong…

But wait, your company recently installed Soterre for IBM Planning Analytics.  You login to Soterre do a quick comparison and see that Bob, the new guy made a change to a rule last week.  You drill down on the details and see the exact change that was made.  You pick up the phone call Bob and inquire as to why he made the change.  After a brief discussion you both agree the change should not have been made.  So, you use Soterre to undo the change and revert to the previous rule.  You look at the updates and are happy with the results.  Relief floods your body as you will be home on time.

Soterre

Soterre gives TM1 Administrators the power to:

  • Recover crucial IBM Planning Analytics content that was deleted.
  • Compare previous versions of TM1 content to pinpoint exactly what changed.
  • Deploy content between TM1 environments in a faster, more methodical approach.
  • Select which TM1 objects you want to deploy, or deploy them all, you choose.

What Does Soterre Do for IBM Planning Analytics TM1 Administrators?

Soterre brings much-needed version control to IBM Planning Analytics TM1.  Currently, when a mistake is made in TM1, there is no way to recover the last functioning version.  This deficit has led users to come up with their own homemade version control system—such as copying files from the data directory every time you start a new version.  This is cumbersome, time consuming and stressful.  Have you ever noticed that you need to recover at the worst time like month end closing….?

Soterre automatically versions everything within TM1 and keeps track of all changes so you can easily roll back whatever you need, including objects such as views, chores, and processes.

Automatic Versions with Soterre

With Soterre you can:

  • Easily recover deleted TM1 content (metadata).
  • Restore older versions if something goes wrong.
  • See the highlighted differences between two versions of TM1 so you can quickly see what’s changed from one version to the next.
  • View the history of a TM1 object when you need to know what has been worked on, by whom, and why.
  • Eliminate the manual change tracking of TM1 objects.
  • Promote Dev to Production without restarting the TM1 servers so you can do this while people are in the Cognos Planning Analytics system (See our next Soterre blog for more details on this).

IBM Planning Analytics TM1 Logging

You may be thinking, but can’t I use the TM1 logging that comes out of the box with IBM Planning Analytics TM1?  The Planning Analytics comes with two types of TM1 Logging which, by default they are disabled.

  • Transaction Log - captures all changes to data caused by end users, rules, or processes.
  • Audit Log - captures changes to metadata, security, logon information and other system activity detail.

The transaction log is useful as Soterre does not currently track data changes, but the audit log has very limited function and it does not allow you to undo or roll back changes.  See our earlier blog for more details.

It’s time for us to chat

If you are a TM1 Administrator and looking for a much easier way to handle version control and have a better audit trail for your IBM Cognos Planning Analytics TM1 system, we need to chat about Soterre by Motio.  

Contact us to discuss your challenges and how you can get what is like an insurance policy for your IBM Planning Analytics TM1 content.  You will be able to diagnose issues faster, have smoother deployments but most of all peace of mind that when you make a mistake, which we all do, you can fix it fast.

Email Sales@lodestarsolutions.com or call us at 813-415-2910 to set up a demo of Soterre. 

Questions You Should Ask When Planning to Migrate Off Cognos Analytics (BI) – Part 1

Questions You Should Ask When Planning to Migrate off Cognos Analytics (BI) - Part 1
Questions You Should Ask When Planning to Migrate off Cognos Analytics (BI) - Part 1
September 3rd, 2020

As clients look to drastically cut cost, it’s natural for IT departments to look at all their business intelligence solutions to evaluate if they have redundancy.  The initial thought is to reduce costs by standardizing on one business intelligence solution.  One solution could mean lower support costs… fewer resources to support the tools.  I completely understand the logic and if I was the CIO, I would have the same line of thinking.  However, most clients do not do their due diligence to determine the true costs of migrating off tools like Cognos nor do they create an ROI evaluation.  So, I thought over the next two weeks I would share the questions you should ask when planning to migrate off Cognos Analytics onto another platform.

1. If we do not renew our IBM Cognos Support can I still use Cognos BI while we migrate?

The first question everyone asks as they consider migrating off Cognos BI is, can I still use Cognos BI if I do not renew the support?  The answer is, it depends. 

Perpetual License: If you have the traditional on-premise licensing for Cognos Analytics (BI) then you have a perpetual right to use Cognos and you can still use it even if you do not renew.  Lodestar Solutions does not recommend discontinuing support until you are fully migrated to the new solutions.  If you have questions on your renewal we are here to help.  Email renewals@lodestarsolutions.com.

Here are some additional resources:

IBM Support and Subscription Site

Lodestar Blog:  Consequences of Not Renewing IBM Cognos Support  

The real question you should be asking is, what are the risk factors of not renewing support as I migrate off Cognos BI?

SAAS or Subscription:  If you have Cognos Analytics on SaaS or a subscription-based model, then when you let your subscription lapse by not renewing you will no longer have access to the software.  So, plan your migration wisely.

Note: It is important to note in 15 years of working with Cognos products, I have yet to hear of a client who decided to migrate off Cognos BI that has completed the migration within their original planned timeline.  In fact, many clients plan to migrate and years later they are still working on it.

2. What reports must be migrated to the new tool and will the new tool deliver comparable results?

Planning a migration of Cognos to a new business intelligence platform is like planning a major upgrade to the latest version of Cognos Analytics.  You must do an inventory of what is in your content store and determine how many reports need to be migrated, how complex the reports are, how often they are utilized, etc… If you have been using Cognos for a long time your content store may be suffering from bloat. 

Lodestar Solutions’ recommends that you evaluate the size or your content store.  

Try this, in your Cognos Product Environment run a query to find the number per object type. The objects can be found here:

<cognos_dir>\configuration\schemas\content\<database_type>\CSsize_profiling_<database_type>.sql

Here’s the query:

select c.NAME as "class name", count(*) as "number of objects"
from CMOBJECTS o, CMCLASSES c
group by o.CLASSID, c.CLASSID, C.NAME
having c.CLASSID=o.CLASSID
order by c.NAME;

Lodestar also recommends investing in Motio Inventory Software.  Motio is a 3rd party software company that has some of the best tools for administration of Cognos BI.  Motio’s new inventory component is perfect for determining how many Cognos reports you have and their complexity.

You would not move your family without taking an inventory of your household belongings and determining what to leave behind.   So, do not forget to take a detailed inventory of Cognos reports.   For more information check out Motio
and make sure you tell them you work with Lodestar Solutions.  You can find additional information in our blog Don’t Upgrade to Cognos Analytics without Motio! 

3. Are we comparing the latest version of Cognos Analytics to the new solutions as we do our evaluation?

I am always amazed when I hear clients tell me they might be migrating off Cognos to Power BI, Tableau, or Qlik because it has better visualization or it’s easier to use.  I ask them what version of Cognos they are using, and they say 10.2.  Then I ask if they have seen all the amazing functionality in Cognos Analytics’ latest version?  And they say,  “I saw a demo a few years ago.”

People do not tell me you are migrating off Cognos for better functionality if you haven’t even seen the latest functionality of what you already own! You need to take the new Cognos Analytics for a test drive.  Lodestar Solutions can help you.  Just email us at services@lodestarsolutions.com.

You owe it to your company to complete your due diligence and compare the latest functionality of Cognos to the solution you are evaluating.  IBM has added amazing new functionality to Cognos Analytics and cool stuff just keeps coming.  I challenge you to find a solution that can better meet your enterprise needs. Now that you know you need to do a detailed comparison,  I decided to help you out a little and provide our evaluation.

Cognos Comparison

If you or your company are struggling with Cognos today, I would bet you either have not been properly trained on the functionality or you have a data problem. By the way, migrating off Cognos will not solve your data issues.

Lodestar Solutions can help you get the training you need or just discover all the fabulous features included in the latest version of Cognos Analytics. Let’s plan a chat, email us at services@lodestarsolutions.com.

Not Sure How to Get Started?

You don’t have to go this alone!  Lodestar Solutions can help you answer the questions you should ask when planning to migrate off Cognos Analytics and complete the steps above to ensure you are making the right decision for your organization.   Stay tuned for the second part of this blog,  Questions You Should Ask When Planning to Migrate Off Cognos Analytics (BI) - Part 2 coming on Thursday, September 10th! Contact us today and schedule a chat. Email services@lodestarsolutions.com.

Struggling to Migrate from Cognos to Power BI or Tableau?

Cognos Move
Cognos Move
June 18th, 2020

Stop Struggling to Migrate from IBM Cognos to Power BI

How many business intelligence solutions does your firm have today?  Cognos Analytics, Tableau, Power BI… maybe you don’t really know all the business intelligence solutions that are hiding in your organization. You are not alone. Gartner estimates that the average company has 3 to 5 Business Intelligence tools. Many companies are working to reduce the number of business intelligence tools their IT must support.  I have talked to several companies that are struggling to migrate from IBM Cognos to Power BI or other BI solutions. 

Why Consolidate to One BI Tool

I fully understand the desire to reduce the number of BI solutions. By reducing the number of tools, you can:

  • Save money on support costs
  • Become the expert in one tool instead of many
  • Control the silos of data
  • Reduce training costs
  • Reduce consulting costs
  • Provide better security

But, for many the road to reducing the number of tools can be challenging. 

Stop the Migration

It has been my experience talking with hundreds of clients, that many Cognos clients made the decision to move off Cognos for the wrong reasons.  Reasons like, Cognos not having the pretty visualizations like Tableau, or Microsoft Power BI is cheaper than Cognos.  But as they start down the road of the migration, they hit the realization that they did not do their due diligence!  

Due Diligence - Functionality

I believe due diligence requires the examination of the functionality available in the latest version of Cognos Analytics.  Cognos BI 10.2 should not be used to compare alternative solutions.  I know you may not have upgraded, but what if you did? Do you even know what amazing functionality has been added like, visualizations and data modules? 

Due Diligence - Cost

Finally, due diligence must include a detail cost analysis of the software costs, support costs, as well as the cost and time to migrate to a different solution.  For many clients they discover Power BI is more expensive than they thought.  For clients looking to upgrade Cognos Analytics check out our video The Cost to Upgrade to IBM Cognos Analytics

For many, the decision on which BI tool to use is a political battle. But should it be?  What if we stopped the migration and did a proper analysis of needs, functionality, anticipated work and cost? Might we determine that migrating is not the best solution but upgrading to Cognos Analytics is?  

I am a believer that U-turns are okay.  It is okay to stop, investigate the situation of where we are, where we want to go, and what options we have. 

How to Analyze your BI Roadmap

Analyzing if and how to move from Cognos BI to a new BI environment is like moving your family from your current home.  The steps include requirements discovery, assessing where you currently live, comparing to what is available and evaluating how much stuff you need to move.

1. Requirements Discovery

When evaluating if you should move you must first assess what your family really needs in a home or a BI solution.  With a house you determine how many bedrooms and baths you need.  With a BI tool what data sources you need access to. The requirements discovery stage is the most important step as you want to make sure all the important people like your spouse or boss are involved. You want to document what challenges you are having. What you would like to improve? What new data sources do you need access to?  What new users would like to view?  A simple timer and sticky notes can get you started identifying your needs.  

2. Assessing Your Current Environment

Imagine if instead of moving you could just do a few improvement projects to upgrade your house?  Life would be a lot simpler and in many cases a lot less costly.  Well, migrating to a new BI solution is similar.  Once you know your requirements, you must educate yourself on the new functionality in Cognos Analytics. Many clients are shocked and excited when they see what is possible with Cognos Analytics, and to get educated is simple.  Lodestar Solutions is happy to show you the cool new functionality and discuss your needs at no cost.  Just email us at Services@lodestarsolutions.com.

3. Determining What to Move

When moving your house, you would not have movers show up and start moving your stuff to a new house without assessing how much junk you have and purge some of the clutter right?  You would inventory your furniture.  Get rid of the stuff that doesn’t meet your needs like, the crib in storage, and plan the move. You would estimate how many boxes you will need, how big the moving truck should be and how many movers.  Well a BI migration that is either from Cognos BI 10.2 to Cognos Analytic or to a new BI solution is the same. You need to identify how many reports are valid, how complex the reports are, and if anyone really needs the reports.  To do this, you need to get visibility to what is in your Cognos content store.  Maybe you did not realize that clutter in your Cognos content store can even cause performance issue.  Here’s a previous blog on the topic.

What's in Your Content Store?

If you are not sure what is in your content store, there is some good news!  Motio has created an amazing solution to help you gain visibility on what’s in your content store.  At Lodestar Solutions, we recommend Motio to every Cognos BI client that is looking to upgrade to Cognos Analytics, has already upgraded or is struggling to migrate from Cognos to Power BI or another solution. You must read our blog Don’t Upgrade to Cognos Analytics without Motio

Once you have an idea of the type of house you need for your BI, you have assessed if your current Cognos house meets your needs, and looked at how much stuff you have in your house you can properly plan the timing of your move or upgrade, and the estimated costs. 

For many of you, if you follow these steps you will determine that just improving your current BI by upgrading to the latest version of Cognos Analytics and learning the new functionality you will save valuable time and money. But, you don’t have to do the analysis alone!  Lodestar Solutions is here to help! 

On June 23rd, Lodestar is excited to be presenting a complimentary one - day insightful hands on virtual workshop with Motio for all Cognos BI power users.

IBM Cognos Analytics Migration Virtual Classroom
Tuesday, June 23rd, 2020

VIRTUAL
9:30-4:30 Eastern
Registration Required – Seating Limited.

Register here now!

What you will learn:

  • Newest features in Cognos Analytics in action - understand how to leverage the new features to achieve your business goals. (For information check out our blog What’s New in Cognos Analytics 11.1.6

  • Inventory your Cognos implementation - grasp the scope of what you have in Cognos...learn how easy it is to identify the analytic gems from the junk (report complexity, duplicate reports, reports not being used, poorly designed content, etc.). Prioritize what to modernize after your upgrade.
  • Reducing the size of your Cognos migration (upgrades, CQM to DQM or Cloud) - a straightforward approach that speeds up your migration by simply removing the junk your organization does not use/need.
  • Repeatable testing reduces upgrade costs - experience the methodology and automated testing techniques that reduce the time/effort of your upgrades and ensure data accuracy/reliability in your upgraded environment.

This is an event you do not want to miss!  The last event filled up quickly so register to reserve your seat today.  If you are reading this after the event.  Contact us at services@lodestarsolutions.com for future dates.

Stop Struggling to Migrate from IBM Cognos

So stop struggling to migrate from IBM Cognos to Power BI or Tableau, register here now to learn how to either upgrade your Cognos or at least identify what needs to be migrated to your new tool.

If you have questions about Cognos Analytics, licensing or even your renewal, contact us at Services@lodestarsolutions.com.

Simplify Upgrades and Maintenance of Cognos Analytics BI – Motio Event

Simplify Upgrade
Simplify Upgrade
June 11th, 2020 ​

Are you ready to simplify the maintenance of your Cognos BI environment?

Regardless of whether you have upgraded to the latest version of Cognos Analytics, or are just thinking about it, you probably have a lot of untidy areas in Cognos.  Maybe you have reports without an owner because someone left.  Perhaps you have half built reports that have been abandoned. Have you had reports that steal all the resources and run for a long time?  As a busy BI professional, you know that maintaining all this is can be daunting!  So many reports and so little time.

The fact is Cognos Analytics is a lot like your garage. You keep thinking about organizing it but never quite find the time.  And, if you decided to move… Ugh.  Well, upgrading your Cognos Analytics is a little like moving because you want your new environment to be uncluttered and efficient as fast as possible.

Better Visibility to Cognos

Imagine if you had the capability to better understand what is really in your content store and when you upgrade, you moved only the good stuff.   What if when you upgrade your reports you could easily migrate important reports that you accidentally left behind?  What would your life be like if updating your Cognos Analytics environment with the new functionality was an opportunity for you to further advance analytics in your organization and end users respected you for empowering them with analytics?

Cognos Administrator Tools Not Enough

The good news is this can be your reality! For many of you, you have experienced that the tools included in IBM Cognos Analytics do not help you as much as you need.  The Lifecycle manager and other components in IBM Cognos Analytics are like using a weed whacker to mow your lawn.  You could do it, but it sucks up your time and could take your forever. 

Thrive with Cognos Analytics

But not to worry, there is a better way!  It is time to get the right tools in place to help you not just survive all the changes and upgrades but THRIVE and become known as the BI Rockstar that you know you are! 

On June 23rd, Lodestar is excited to be presenting a complimentary one- day hands on virtual workshop with Motio for all Cognos BI power users.

IBM Cognos Analytics Migration Virtual Classroom
Tuesday, June 23rd, 2020

VIRTUAL
9:30-4:30 Eastern
Registration Required – Seating Limited.

Register HERE!

In this amazing event you will learn:
  • Newest features in Cognos Analytics in action - understand how to leverage the new features to achieve your business goals. (For information check out our blog What’s New in Cognos Analytics 11.1.6) 

  • Inventory your Cognos implementation- grasp the scope of what you have in Cognos...learn how easy it is to identify the analytic gems from the junk (report complexity, duplicate reports, reports not being used, poorly designed content, etc.). Prioritize what to modernize after your upgrade.

  • Reducing the size of your Cognos migration (upgrades, CQM to DQM or Cloud)- a straightforward approach that speeds up your migration by simply removing the junk your organization does not use/need.

  • Repeatable testing reduces upgrade costs - experience the methodology and automated testing techniques that reduce the time/effort of your upgrades and ensure data accuracy/reliability in your upgraded environment.

This is an event you do not want to miss!  The last event filled up quickly so register to reserve your seat today.

Register HERE!

To learn more about upgrading Cognos Analytics with Motio check out our blog, Don’t Upgrade to Cognos Analytics without Motio!

If you have questions about Cognos Analytics, licensing or even your renewal, contact us at Services@lodestarsolutions.com.

Don’t Upgrade to Cognos Analytics without Motio!

Don't Upgrade to Cognos Analytics without Motio
October 4, 2019

WARNING! If you are planning your Cognos Analytics upgrade and you haven’t heard of Motio, your upgrade will take more time and cost you more than it needs to. Don’t upgrade to Cognos Analytics without Motio!

Use the Right Tools for the Job

Let’s say you had a 5-acre yard to mow and you have two tools you can use. You have a push mower or a large green John Deere tractor.  Which tool would you pick?  The tractor of course!  But clients that aren’t planning to use Motio to streamline their upgrade are choosing the push mower when they don’t have to! Motio provides tools that help IBM Cognos BI administrators succeed with their upgrade.  IBM believes so much in Motio tools they use them internally and they have an agreement to give clients like you access to the Motio tools for 30 days for free. They call it, “Motio in the box.” Check out Motio’s blog for more information.

Don’t upgrade to Cognos Analytics without Motio!

Motio Benefits for Cognos Clients

Benefits of Motio tools for your upgrade to Cognos Analytics

  • Reduce the clutter of old, unused reports and objects before you upgrade or after
  • Complete regression testing
  • Control versioning so production changes can be promoted to sandboxes for testing
  • When you identify issues, you can update in mass
  • Stress test below going live to ensure success
  • Retrieve content from orphaned/deleted users

Motio recently came out with an amazing new MotioCI module called Inventory. This tool has helped clients understand what’s really in their content store and what report objects are being used. For some clients this has helped them reduce the number of reports to upgrade in half! 

Do you really know what’s in your content store? 

Try this, in your Cognos Product Environment run a query to find the number per object type. The objects can be found here:

<cognos_dir>\configuration\schemas\content\<database_type>\CSsize_profiling_<database_type>.sql


Here’s the query:

select c.NAME as "class name", count(*) as "number of objects"
from CMOBJECTS o, CMCLASSES c
group by o.CLASSID, c.CLASSID, C.NAME
having c.CLASSID=o.CLASSID
order by c.NAME;

Did the size of your Cognos Content Store shock you?

I like to say the content store is like my garage. It’s amazing how quickly it gets cluttered.  Keep an eye out for my next blog where I’ll cover how to declutter your content store. There are ways to declutter it but Motio tools will help you do it faster! Don’t upgrade to Cognos Analytics without Motio.

Motio Tools for Every Step

Motio Tools will help you reduce the clutter before you upgrade. They will help you with the upgrade, and MotioPI Pro will help you quickly repair issues in mass. MotioCI Versioning will help you bring changes to Prod that happened while you were testing over so you can control the versions. Finally, Motio Report Card will ensure your system has top performance.

Motio Tools
Check out the MotioCI and MotioPI on the Motio website.  

Lodestar Solutions is a value added reseller of Motio products. So as you are planning your upgrade connect with Services@lodestarsolutions.com and we can help you upgrade faster and cheaper. Again, don’t upgrade to Cognos Analytics without Motio!

To learn more about upgrading to Cognos Analytics and to view our videos on Motio, join our new and improved Lodestar Solutions’ Cognos Analytics Club for free. Club members will gain access to videos, tools and special training offers. Click here to join the club. 

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