Welcome to Cognos Analytics 12

Welcome to Cognos Analytics 12
Written by Mike Bernaiche, June 8th, 2023

It is here!  Cognos Analytics 12 was released on June 6, 2023.  As you can imagine there is a lot to unpack with this latest major release from IBM.  The key points to this update include:

  • Increased productivity with AI-driven self-service analytics. Answers will be shown as both charts and NLG narrative insights, so even first-time users can get the most out of their data.
  • Enhanced performance for instantly responsive dashboards. New caching technology enables instant feedback in dashboards when filtering and interacting, without having to wait for more queries to run.
  • Build dashboards quickly with the new guided UI.  Get started using your data to create a dashboard, either data from a spreadsheet that you upload or your governed enterprise data.

Now that we have covered the highlights, let’s dive into the details.

General Updates

  • Welcome Page Updates – The welcome page has been redesigned to put AI and self-service at the forefront.  Start quicker and easier with the new welcome page.
Welcome Page in Cognos Analytics 12
  • Custom Tabs in Content View – Previous to Cognos Analytics 12, administrators could only add one extra tab to this view.  Now administrators can add multiple folders to this view.
  • Support for Fuzzy Search – now searching lists results that closely match your search, not exactly.
  • Enhancements to Embedded Reports in Microsoft Teams - If you are using the Microsoft Teams Web application, you can now log in to your embedded report or dashboard using your IBM ID.  A new link in your embedded report or dashboard tab in Microsoft Teams allows you to open Cognos Analytics in a new browser window.
  • Interactive Performance Assistant (IPA) – Report and dashboard authors can now gather statistics on performance.
  • New Videos on Cognos Analytics 12 – please see link for all available videos. 

Assistant

There are many enhancements to the Assistant, hitting on 1 of the key highlights of Cognos Analytics 12.

  • Design and Usability Improvements – The assistant is now more intuitive and guided for the end user making self-service easier and quicker.
Design and Usability Improvements in Cognos Analytics 12
  • Open the Assistant from Anywhere – You can now open the Assistant from the Home page.  Previously you could only open from Reports, Dashboards, and Explorations.
  • Select Your Data Source - You can quickly set the context for the Assistant by clicking Select Source to select a data source. The name of the data source then displays in the Assistant.
Select Your Data Source in Cognos Analytics 12
  • Expand to Full Screen
  • Clear Chat and Reset Data Source
  • Natural Language Improvements to Assistant - The Assistant now understands comparatives and additional filters.  You can also associate a term with a field name so that the Associate recognizes the term to be a synonymous word for the field name.

Examples

  • How do marketing costs for the last two years compare?
  • What is the difference in marketing costs between the last two years?
  • Compare the average ticket of Store A and Store B
  • What city has an average ticket above 90,000?
  • Which product has the highest revenue today?
  • Which product has the worst NPS Score?
  • View Narrative Insights in Assistant - The Assistant displays narrative insights automatically when it renders a chart or a visualization.  Any filters in the chart are also applied to the insights.
View Narrative Insights in Assistant in Cognos Analytics 12

You can also ask the Assistant to show you narrative insights without a chart by using commands such as:

  •  show insights for <column name>
  • explain <column name>
  • analyze <column name>
  • Share Visualizations from Assistant - A new share option in the Assistant allows you to select a visualization that was returned by the Assistant in response to your question and share it via Email, Microsoft Team, or Slack.  Your administrator must configure a mail server and/or a collaboration platform before you can use this feature.
Share Visualizations from Assistant in cognos analytics 12
  • Create a Simple Dashboard from Assistant – Previously you could only create a full dashboard from the assistant.  Now in Cognos Analytics 12, you can create a simple 1 visualization from the Assistant and then build around that visualization.
  • Embed Assistant on any Webpage or Web Application - The Assistant is now embeddable using the Cognos URL in an iFrame.  With this feature, you can embed an Assistant text field in your web page or web application and interact with the Assistant.  To embed the Assistant, use the following Cognos URL in an iFrame:
    https://<cognos server>:<port>/bi/?perspective=assistant

Dashboards

There are a few updates to dashboards and one of them is a big one!  Who doesn’t want a dashboard that loads and filters in less than a second?

  • Configuration of Local Cache - Dashboard authors can now configure specific data to be cached locally.  This helps them to optimize the performance of their dashboard's widgets.  Click here to learn more about this. 
  • Statistical Details for Multi Variant Forecast - When the dashboard is in Edit mode, select a visualization that has Forecast enabled.  From the Analytics icon, click See Statistical Details to view the statistical details on the forecasting results.
  • Nested Dashboards 
Nested Dashboards in Cognos Analytics 12

Reporting

  • Define Default Parameters in a Report - Reporting now includes the functionality to define default parameter values in a report. The values can be specified as a static text, a report expression, or a data item with a corresponding query.
  • Range Values Based on Expression for Date Control –
Range Values Based on Expression for Date Control
  • Quick Links to Report Objects
Quick Links to Report Objects in Cognos Analytics 12

Deprecated and Removed Features in Cognos Analytics 12

The following components are removed from Cognos Analytics:

  •  Query Studio
  • Analysis Studio
  • Cognos Workspace

Summary

WOW, lots of enhancements in Cognos Analytics 12.  As of this writing, we are downloading and installing and will provide an update once I have had time to get my hands on the product.  Just reading what has been added and seeing videos from IBM, I’m really looking forward to this release.  Self-service and AI are the key additions that I know many customers have been asking for.  Would you like a live demo of Cognos Analytics 12?  Reach out to us at services@lodestarsolutions.com to set something up.

There are a number of changes to administration and you can find everything new in Cognos Analytics 12 here

There are also a few known issues and you can read about those here.

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