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The next version of Cognos Analytics has just been released, version 11.0.6. This latest release is the most complete version since the major step release from 10 to 11. Cognos Analytics 11.0.6 now includes enhanced functionality and capabilities to create self-service dashboards from OLAP (cube) data sources as well as significant improvements with the mapping engine to go down to state and postcodes.
Dashboards from OLAP sources
As mentioned above, one of the key updates with the 11.0.6 release is the ability to source and build dashboards from OLAP data sources, which includes TM1, MSAS, DMR Cognos Packages and more. It is particular exciting for those with TM1, Planning Analytics or Cognos Express as you can now build and put together strong visualisation dashboards from TM1 cubes with ease and even combine it with relational data sources to drill down into detail.
The way dimension hierarchies and levels are handled is also very intuitive and is well integrated into the charts, tables and other visualisations. As shown in the diagram below, you can easily traverse down or up a particular dimension path to see the children or parent levels.
You can also now select and choose certain members you want to group up, aggregate or even have as filters. The filtering option is not restricted to members of a dimension either, as you can select and filter by attributes giving even more flexibility in how to interact with cubes. Cognos Analytics is certainly making a strong case to be the primary tool to conduct analysis over TM1 cubes. It therefore means TM1 cube views may no longer be the quickest or best method of doing quick slice and dice analysis if Cognos Analytics is available. It is certainly much more intuitive to use and less fiddly.
One of the other big changes with 11.0.6 is the enhancements IBM have done with the inclusion of geospatial maps. It is now more detailed than ever with improved boundaries and postcode support so users can now visualise data through differing levels all the way down to suburbs with greater accuracy. By differing levels I mean having a top down view and drilling down from Country -> State -> Suburb.
IBM has created a new Reporter module that combines the functionality of the various Cognos 10 modules (Workspace Advanced and Report, Analysis and Query Studios) into a single user interface, allowing creation of simple ad-hoc query through to complex pixel perfect PDF report.
There are also a host of general reporting enhancements, some of these are backend changes to improve overall performance, while others are add new functionality. These improvements include:
Report Templates – similar to Word or Power Point templates, report templates allow you to have pre-set themes and styles. You can now save and modify existing templates.
Interactive Viewer – tweaks have been made to improve the overall performance of the interactive viewer making it load faster. There have also been functionality improvements such as freezing headers on lists.
Data Lineage – support for data lineage to trace back to the FM package and to the data source is now available in both interactive viewer and report editing mode.
Data Module Querying – report authors can now link to various other data modules within reports and modify the query to be use on that specific report. This includes creating more specific parametrised filters, custom calculations etc. and means previously created data modules can now reused to support various reporting requirements.
Should I Upgrade?
If you are currently still on Cognos 10, now is certainly the time to plan an upgrade to Cognos Analytics (sometimes referred to as Cognos 11), especially with the latest release of 11.0.6 and Cognos 10.2.x reaching the end of support from IBM on 30 April, 2018. The future is now when it comes to Cognos BI, there are so many improvements that Cognos Analytics is now leaps and bounds head of Cognos 10 with all the enhancements around visualisation, ease of use, user experience, dashboarding, reporting and overall performance. Now with improved integration with OLAP cubes (in particular TM1), there really is no other reason not to take the plunge. Contact us today if you are looking to upgrade to Cognos Analytics.
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