Selecting the right business intelligence tool to maximise your data's full potential and organisational requirements can be challenging.

This IBM Cognos Analytics overview includes everything you need to know about Cognos. It will allow you to make an informed decision on finding the right BI solution for your organisation.

Are you new to Business Intelligence? You can learn what IBM Cognos Analytics is and how it can help your organisation. Are you already familiar with IBM's Integrated Business Intelligence Suite? We highlight the latest version features to help drive your strategy and tactics to grow your bottom line.

Give your company a competitive edge through meaningful business insights that deliver proven results. Start transforming your business today by talking with one of QMetrix Cognos TM1 consultants.

Your journey to better insights, starts here

CONTACT US

When considering which Business Intelligence tool to use, you can not go past the most trusted innovation leader IBM. They are an industry powerhouse in the Performance Management and Analytics space. They have strong capabilities across the entire spectrum of Business Analytics and Information Management.

QMetrix has been an IBM Premier Business Partner for over a decade. Our Cognos consultants have extensive experience in delivering solutions using the IBM suite of tools. Our expertise is recommended to Apply, Customise and Optimise Business Intelligence Tools for your business.

What is Cognos Business Intelligence (BI)?

IBM Cognos (now IBM Analytics) BI is a leader in business intelligence solutions. The platform provides a broad range of analytic capabilities. This allows everyone in an organisation to have the relevant information they need to drive the business forward. IBM Analytics does this through allowing users to make more informed and smarter decisions.

IBM Cognos (now IBM Analytics) BI capability includes:

  • Dashboards
  • Reporting
  • Analysis
  • Mobile
  • Real-time monitoring
  • Collaboration

What is TM1?

TM1 is an enterprise planning software designed to combine the practicality, easy-to-use and flexible functions of Excel with your business’s database.
It allows for:

  • Collaborative planning
  • Budgeting and Forecasting Solutions
  • Analysis and Reporting

To find out how your business can implement Cognos TM1 into your database, call QMetrix on 1300 786 336.

How IBM Cognos TM1 Helps Grow Businesses?

  • Powerful planning and analysis
    Create and analyze sophisticated plans, budgets and forecasts, even those based on large data sets.
  • Integrated scorecards and strategy management
    Model metrics to measure progress toward objectives and link them dynamically to actions and forecasts.
  • Flexible modeling
    Develop and deploy even the most complex planning and analysis models using a guided modeling environment.

Why Do So Many SME Companies Choose Cognos Express?

IBM Cognos Express is a solution designed for SMEs and mid-market companies.

Cognos Express provides:

  • enterprise-class reporting and analysis
  • dashboarding and visualization
  • scorecarding
  • planning, budgeting and forecasting capabilities that midsize companies need at a price they can afford.

This scalable, pre-configured solution includes the tools to discover and act on new insights quickly. Cognos Express also helps to minimize demands on your IT staff.

It is essentially an integrated and pre-configured platform of both Cognos BI and Cognos TM1. It is an easy to install platform as well as an affordable solution for small to medium enterprises. Contact QMetrix to learn about how our IBM TM1 Services can help your business grow.

Planning analytics local dashboard interface view

IBM Planning Analytics Local 2.0 / TM1 10.3

IBM Planning Analytics Local 2.0 / TM1 10.3 is driven by the new Planning Analytics Workspace. The Workspace supports self-service interactive dashboards and visual analytics for web and mobile devices.

There is a new Excel add-on, IBM Planning Analytics for Excel (PAx). The add-on is easier to use than TM1 Perspectives. It also has synergy with Planning Analytics Workspace.

The existing TM1 interfaces are still there with Architect and Perspectives largely the same.

However, TM1Web and Websheets specifically have a load of new UX, functional, and performance improvements. It also supports Windows 10 and Office 2016.

IBM Planning Analytics Local has many similarities to the existing cloud-based version of TM1 (called IBM Planning Analytics). The cloud-based version of TM1 has been available for over a year now. It is essentially the on-premise version of the cloud-based TM1.

KEY HIGHLIGHTS

Here are the key highlights of what you can now do in Planning Analytics Local:

  • Perform web-based authoring of input templates, analysis, and reports
  • Drag and drop data from all TM1 Servers into a single web canvas
  • Apply Excel calculations and cell references within a slice / dice / pivot Experience
  • Perform slice/dice/pivot analysis on attribute data
  • Perform deeper analysis on intersections of multiple attributes from a single dimension
  • Discover reasons behind the numbers through embedded collaboration tools
  • Perform input and analysis using interactive dashboards on iPad and Android tablets
  • A new Excel add-in “Planning Analytics for Excel” (PAX)

VIRTUAL DIMENSIONS

You can now turn attributes into virtual dimensions!

This means cubes can now be half the size and twice as fast. You don’t need additional physical dimensions or multiple alternate hierarchies to drive analysis.

Attributes and hierarchies can be introduced into any query as ‘virtual dimensions’. This enables deeper analysis of your:

  • products
  • customers
  • projects
  • locations

This also extends to multiple attributes or hierarchies for the same dimension in the same query. You can also add fresh data to your analysis ‘on the fly’. This does not disrupt the cube structure, business rules, or processes.

You can see how a single store dimension can be split up with an additional 2 virtual dimensions. This has been done by store type and by geography/location. This will significantly improve performance with reduced sparsity in the cubes and RAM usage. It will also provide flexibility to add more attributes down the track which can be sliced out as virtual dimensions.

Virtual dimensions workspace view

Planning Analytics workspace view

The key features include:

  • Interactive dashboards
  • Natural language discovery
  • Synchronized navigation of objects
  • Web & mobile interfaces
  • Collaboration & chat

PLANNING ANALYTICS WORKSPACE

The Planning Analytics Workspace is a completely new user interface which allows you to plan and report in an intuitive self-service environment.

It shares the same technical DNA as Watson Analytics and Cognos Analytics. The look and feel is similar across the entire Business Analytics’ suite of tools.

It is a canvas based user interface design. This means you can simply drag and drop TM1 views or Perspectives/PAx templates into a canvas which supports rich visualisations.

This allows you to easily combine data from various TM1 servers into a synchronised sheet. Which then enables you to create interactive dashboards for planning, analysis, and reporting.

Users at any level of experience can author and create content for web or mobile consumption.

The workspace also supports:

  • On the fly Ad-hoc calculations
  • over 25 Interactive chart types
  • web sheets
  • Videos
  • Images
  • Shapes
  • Access to all web content links
  • Navigation buttons to create managed applications.

SERVER UPDATES

There are also a host of server updates which will please administrators and developers of TM1.

These include the following:

  • Dimension updates do not lock readers or writers
  • A TI Debugger (finally!)
  • Sandbox comparison
  • Workspace views / calculations
  • Faster loading when starting up servers with MTFeeders, which is similar to MTQ

TM1 WEB

TM1 web has been overhauled and updated with a newer refreshed user interface similar to that of Planning Analytics Workspace.

The improvements include:

  • Much quicker and faster loading/scrolling
  • Improved iPad support
  • Access to relational databases
  • A data picker

PLANNING ANALYTICS FOR EXCEL (PAX)

The new Excel add-on is essentially a rebranded CAFÉ, with an updated interface and Excel ribbon menu.

It includes the following features:

  • WAN friendly so no need to rely on terminal servers or Citrix
  • 85% compatibility with TM1 Perspectives (they are working towards 100%)
  • Drill through
  • Print report
  • Cell commentary in custom and dynamic reports
  • Set editor is not 100% equivalent
  • The Planning Analytics set editor web interface can be launched from PAx

 

Planning analytics for Excel (PAX) workspace view

EXISTING TM1 COMPONENTS

With the launch of the Planning Analytics Workspace and PAx, what happens to existing TM1 components?

Not much really.

IBM understands that existing customers are still highly dependent on Architect, Perspectives, TM1Web, and to a lesser extent Performance Modeller and TM1 Applications.

Much of the focus and development will be on Workspace and PAx. This means support for the ‘older’ components will not be great going forward.

You need not worry about your existing investment though as existing models can be enhanced with the virtual dimension. Cube views are 100% supported in PAx and Workspace as well. Existing worksheets, active forms and templates created in TM1 Perspectives are supported in Workspace.

There is one component that will not be transferable to Workspace, TM1 Applications. IBM are however working on something new to be released in 2018. This may include an overhaul of TM1 Web as well.

UPGRADE PATH FOR EXISTING TM1 CUSTOMERS

All existing TM1 on premise customers who are currently under maintenance can upgrade to Planning Analytics Local without any extra costs. They will automatically get access to a lot of the new features and functionality described above.

Only the Administrator/Performance Modeller will be entitled to Workspace under the existing maintenance. All other users must purchase a separate Workspace Add-on licence if they want to use Workspace.

The installation of Planning Analytics Local is quite different to how the existing TM1 is usually installed and upgraded.

You will need to first install Docker. This is an open platform that allows deployment of applications inside a “container”.

These containers have their own filesystem, code, libraries and such and essentially wrap around an application like Planning Analytics.

Install planning analytics workspace

[Latest Release] IBM Cognos Analytics 11.0.6

IBM Cognos Analytics 11.0.6 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. Ther have also been significant improvements with the mapping engine to go down to state and postcode level.

Download from olap sources

DASHBOARDS FROM OLAP SOURCES

One of the key updates with the 11.0.6 release is the ability to source and build dashboards from OLAP data sources. This includes:

  • TM1 MSAS
  • DMR Cognos Packages
  • +more.

It is particularly exciting for those with TM1, Planning Analytics or Cognos Expres. You can now build and put together strong visualisation dashboards from TM1 cubes with ease. You can even combine it with relational data sources to drill down into detail.

The way dimension hierarchies and levels are handled is also very intuitive. It is well integrated into the charts, tables and other visualisations. As shown in the diagram to the right. You can easily traverse down or up a particular dimension path to see the children or parent levels.

Levels in olap sources

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. 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.

This means that TM1 cube views may no longer be the quickest or best method.

Cognos Analytics is certainly much more intuitive to use and less fiddly.

Mapping enhancements

MAPPING ENHANCEMENTS

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. This will allow 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.

REPORTING ENHANCEMENTS

IBM has created a new Reporter module that combines the functionality of the various Cognos 10 modules. These include Workspace Advanced and Report, Analysis and Query Studios. They are now combined into a single user interface. This allows for the 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. There has however been some enhancements to the 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 and custom calculations. It also means previously created data modules can now reused to support various reporting requirements.

Reporting enhancements

SHOULD I UPGRADE?

Are you currently still on Cognos 10? Now is certainly the time to plan an upgrade to Cognos Analytics.

The future is now when it comes to Cognos BI. There are so many improvements to Cognos Analytics. It is now leaps and bounds head of Cognos 10 with enhancements around:

  • Visualisation
  • Ease Of Use
  • User Experience
  • Dashboarding
  • Reporting
  • Overall Performance

Now with improved integration with OLAP cubes (in particular TM1), there really is no other reason not to take the plunge.

Talk with the QMetrix TM1 consultants to identify the best solution for your business. Call 1300 785 336

Qmetrix is IBM Business Partner - Logo