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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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 email@example.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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 email@example.com.