IBM Cognos Analytics: Release 11 Upgrade
Date: 23/05/2018

By Ahmed Eltoukhy, Senior Consultant

After only 8 weeks of Cognos Analytics Release 10 being out, Release 11 is now available! IBM has been very active with the new release strategy of Cognos Analytics (CA), and there are no Fix Packs anymore. In addition to that, it looks like Request For Enhancements (RFEs) voting is really paying off.

A glimpse into IBM Cognos Analytics Release 11 Dashboards

IBM has introduced a system for business partners, clients, and users to vote for their preferable RFEs which have been logged on their website. In the recent CA releases these are continuously referred to. An example is the ability to drill-through from Dashboards in the new module to Reporting (Report Studio from C10). Personally, I’ve been asked this question multiple times by numerous clients as the Dashboards functionality is very user friendly, while Reports is still a very powerful tool. IBM have listened to the market and implemented the RFE related to drill-through from Dashboards to Reports in CA Release 10.

After reviewing Release 11, I’d like to bring your attention to these significant enhancements:

Portal Tabs from Cognos 10

For users who used to have Portal Tabs next to their Public and My Folders tabs, with a quick change of a configuration parameter using ConfiSetter utility, they will get a folder next to “Team Content” and “My Content” with their Portal Pages that they can have access to:

Portal Pages still work in Cognos Analytics, however, it’s been added for migration purposes only. It will support legacy content, but only when created through Cognos 10 and hosted using the legacy Cognos Content Browser/Navigator and other portlets that were available in Cognos 10. Portal Pages in Cognos 11 won’t support Dashboards, Stories or even Interactive Reports (Reports with “Interactivity Mode” set to “Yes”).

BI Administrator to override default visibility of objects in CA
By default, a user would be able to see any content in Cognos Portal (folder, report, dashboard etc) if they are granted any of the Cognos content permission (read, write, execute, set policy or traverse). However, exceptional cases that require some content NOT to be visible, yet to be executable (consider a drill-through target report that should not be accessed directly, but through the source report first).

Using ConfigSetter utility again and a single configuration parameter change, this can be overridden in the environment, choosing specific permissions to be used as the “visibility filter” for users in Cognos Analytics:

In the above example, only users with either “read” OR “write” permission to any content item would automatically be able to see them. If a user does have “Execute”, “Traverse” or “Set Policy” permission on an object, they won’t be able to see it but would still be able to run/execute it.

Use custom created Polygons from Mapbox in Dashboards and Reports
Maps has been a hot topic in reporting lately, with every tool providing different and exciting capabilities. Now CA Release 11 can integrate, use and report on your custom Polygon and points in Dashboards and Reports:

  1. Create your custom geoJSON custom polygon
  2. Update the file to Mapbox as tileset
  3. Ensure you have the Map ID, Layer Name, and the Property Name (which would match with a column in your data)
  4. Open Reports or Dashboards, and add a Map visualisation
  5. Enter the above details (Map ID, Layer name, and Property)

6. Add the column matching the Property Name from the source onto the map

7. Add a measure to analyse

And that is it!

Enhanced Dashboard Caching
A simple but effective new feature through a drop-down available in the Properties of a Dashboard or a Story, with “Automatic”, “On” or “Off”:

Key considerations:

  1. “Automatic” means that the Data Caching is based on the source settings. Currently, this applies on Framework Manager package sources only, as this setting can be changed through the Governors in Cognos FM. However, it is planned to accommodate for other sources caching mechanisms in the future
  2. “On” means that Data Caching will be enabled and used whenever possible, which applies on Data Servers, Packages, and Data Modules. Data Sets and Uploaded Files do not have this feature available
  3. If a dashboard widget is set to “Refresh Automatically”, then this setting won’t matter, and the caching will basically be disabled even if set to “On”
  4. Cognos takes care of deciding whether a query can be handled using cached data with users’ data security and connections’ idle timeout settings taken into consideration.

Learn more about IBM Cognos Business Intelligence here.