IBM Cognos Proven Practices: Enhanced Search Options in IBM Cognos 10 BI

Product(s): IBM Cognos 10.1.1; Area of Interest: Infrastructure

The purpose of this document is to provide an overview/best practice on how consumers of IBM Cognos Business Intelligence (BI) can optimally search for content (reports, metrics, analysis, data) using IBM Cognos Enhanced Search.

Share:

Carm Janneteau, Product Manager, IBM Cognos Platform, IBM

Carm Janneteau is a Product Manager on the platform team and has been part of Cognos for 12 years. During that time Carm has work in both the development and Product Management areas. Current product management responsibilities include Adaptive Application Framework, Data Manager, and Enhanced Search.



Aniket Kulkarni, System Software Engineer, IBM

Aniket Kulkarni is a System Software Engineer with the IBM Cognos team, a QC prime for Cognos Enhanced Search. Aniket has been involved for 4 years in software testing field out of which around 2 years of experience on Cognos Search and currently looking after QC effort and Automation for Enhanced Search.



Rohan Ambasta, Systems Software Engineer, IBM

Rohan Ambasta, a graduate from Pune University, is a Systems Software Engineer in IBM Cognos Enhanced Search team. He has work experience of around 4 years in Mobile and Web Application Development. He is currently involved in design and development activities for Enhanced Search.



24 May 2012

Also available in Chinese Russian

Introduction

Purpose

The purpose of this document is to provide an overview/best practice on how consumers of IBM Cognos Business Intelligence (BI) can optimally search for content (reports, metrics, analysis, data) using IBM Cognos Enhanced Search.

Applicability

This document applies to IBM Cognos BI version 10.1.1 on all platforms and may also apply to subsequent releases.

Exclusions and Exceptions

In order to take advantage of the Enhanced Search feature the administrator of IBM Cognos BI must have enabled the capability through IBM Cognos Configuration and defined a Search Index at your organization.

Enhanced Search is the default search method within IBM Cognos BI. IBM Cognos BI administrators can control whether enhanced or standard search modes are utilized and which users or groups will leverage the enhanced search capability.


What Is Enhanced Search?

Enhanced Search allows users to explore their business intelligence content. It quickly and securely accesses both structured and unstructured information using a standard search interface. The result set includes existing content objects, full data searching and dynamically created content based on search criteria entered.

Ability to search all indexed content: Full Content/Data Searching

Enhanced Search will search all stored content that has been indexed and return back the result set. A full content search of the entire content store will locate relevant reports and other objects by searching for specific terms, such as a customer name, product name, or location that rarely show up in titles or descriptions. If the IBM Cognos BI administrator has set up the search index to support data searching then the search will scan through the data in the data sources indexed and return results.

Ability to create new content: Search Assisted Authoring

In addition to searching existing content, Enhanced Search dynamically creates queries based on search terms allowing you the ability to further refine the query in the most appropriate IBM Cognos studio. This gives you a head start and takes the ambiguity out of designing queries from scratch.

For example, if you search for “Revenue +Customer” (make sure there is a space between Revenue and the + sign), and if the Revenue measure and Customer dimension exist in an indexed package, then a query is built for the user which can be used as a starting point for a new analysis in Analysis Studio.

Ability for cube drill discovery: Search Assisted Exploration

Enhanced Search enables searching of cube data if it has been indexed by your IBM Cognos BI administrator. In this case, if you select a search result that is associated with a cube data source, you are taken to the appropriate drill location and can then continue your analysis in Analysis Studio. This provides a launching point for further analysis.


Interface At A Glance

Enhanced Search is available through both IBM Cognos Connection and Business Insight. In general the user experience is the same. In both cases you can search and find results of existing content and search and have dynamic queries created for exploration. An intentional difference is that some types of objects are excluded in the search through Business Insight as they are not relevant when building dashboards. The focus for this document will be on IBM Cognos Connection but for information purposes this section shows the user experience for both.

IBM Cognos Connection

Search Interface

The search interface is located in the top banner bar of IBM Cognos Connection. The dropdown button (associated with the magnifying glass icon) beside the search box allows the user to choose what type of search they want. The selections are,

  • Full text and all fields
  • Name field
  • Description field
  • Name and description field
Figure 1 - Dropdown list showing the various search types available from IBM Cognos Connection
Figure 1 - Dropdown list showing the various search types available from IBM Cognos Connection

Results Set Window

The results screen is divided into the following elements,

  • Search Criteria box - This where the search criteria is entered.
  • Search for Type box - Will filter the results of the search based on Report, Package, Metric, Crosstab, etc.
  • Refine By section - Lists the details on the breakdown for further filtering on results. The elements that make up this breakdown will be described later in this document in the section titled What Can You Do With The Search Results.
    Figure 2 - The Refine by: pane in IBM Cognos Connection
    Figure 2 - The Refine by: pane in IBM Cognos Connection
  • Results section - Results based on search parameters and filters. This section is split into three sub-sections.
    • Create and explore - Dynamic queries generated for exploration
      Figure 3 – The Create and Explore Pane in IBM Cognos Connection
      Figure 3 – The Create and Explore Pane in IBM Cognos Connection
    • Suggested - Results based on suggestions defined by the IBM Cognos Administrator
      Figure 4 - Suggested Results Pane in IBM Cognos Connection
      Figure 4 - Suggested Results Pane in IBM Cognos Connection
    • Object results – objects matching the search criteria
      Figure 5 – The Object results pane in IBM Cognos Connection
      Figure 5 – The Object results pane in IBM Cognos Connection
  • Related section - results found based on 3rd party search engines. The contents of what a user will see in the this pane is controlled by the IBM Cognos Administrator.
    Figure 6 - The Related results pane in IBM Cognos Connection showing results returned by 3rd party search engines
    Figure 6 - The Related results pane in IBM Cognos Connection showing results returned by 3rd party search engines

Business Insight

Search Interface

The search interface is a text box located at the top right side of the screen and just below the menu bar in IBM Cognos Insight. The text box contains a magnifying glass icon.

Figure 7 - Search box in IBM Cognos Business Insight
Figure 7 - Search box in IBM Cognos Business Insight

Results Set Window

The result set window here is broken down into the following:

  • Refine Search pane - Lists the details on the breakdown for further filtering on results. The elements that make up this breakdown will be described later in this document in the section titled What Can You Do With The Search Results.
    Figure 8 - The Refine Search pane in IBM Cognos Business Insight
    Figure 8 - The Refine Search pane in IBM Cognos Business Insight
  • Results pane – will show the results of the search criteria in 3 different areas,
    • IBM Cognos Results – search results from IBM Cognos content
      Figure 9 - The IBM Cognos Results pane in IBM Cognos Business Insight
      Figure 9 - The IBM Cognos Results pane in IBM Cognos Business Insight
    • Create and Explore Results - Virtual report IBM Cognos data. The results from here are controlled by the IBM Cognos Administrator.
      Figure 10 - Virtual report results pane showing the Create and Explorer results in IBM Cognos Business Insight
      Figure 10 - Virtual report results pane showing the Create and Explorer results in IBM Cognos Business Insight
    • Collaboration results – search results from IBM Connections content
      Figure 11 – The Collaboration results pane in IBM Cognos Business Insight
      Figure 11 – The Collaboration results pane in IBM Cognos Business Insight

What Do You Have Access To?

Enhanced Search is integrated with existing IBM Cognos BI security features to deliver a single security environment for all users regardless of how they consume reports. You only see the reports, metrics and analysis that you have been given permission to view. Security options include the ability to suppress report titles and descriptions.


General Enhanced Search Behaviour

The following is standard behavior of with search that will give you insight into how it works:

  • Search results include only the entries for which the user has permission to access at the time of the last index update.
  • Searches look for matching name, metadata, prompt, description, heading, saved output, screen tip, screen tip in model, and prompt in model.
  • Searches are not case-sensitive. For example, searching for “report” and “Report” returns the same result.
  • Searches include word variations automatically. For example, if you enter “camp” as the search term the results will also include “camps” and “camping”.
  • Stemming is supported. For example, searching for “Product”ion will give results for stem “Product” as well.
  • Sub-stringing is not supported. Searching for “Fish” will not give results for “Fisherman”.
  • The following search operators are supported:
    • A plus sign (+)
    • A minus sign (-)
    • The double quotation marks (“) and (”)
    • An asterisk (*)

Multi-lingual Support

Your locale sets the default language for a search. You can customize this setting by changing the Content language option in the Set Preferences page, in My Preferences. If the Content language is English, then the search results are delivered in English.

When you perform a search, you can use a search term that is in a different language from the language specified by the Content language setting. To search in multiple languages, use the following syntax:

<search_term> +language:<locale>
<search_term> +language:<locale> +language:<locale>

Please note that the space before each operator (+, -, *) is required.

Example 1: ventes +language: fr
This will return search results for the term “ventes” in French locale.

Example 2: revenue +language:fr +language:de
This will return results for term “revenue” in French and German locale.

Although you can search in different languages, you only receive search results if the search index supports that language. Your IBM Cognos BI administrator specifies the languages that are supported.

The following items support multi-lingual searches,

  • Default name
  • Report language (expressionLocale)
  • Stored output
  • Metadata
  • Data values and report presentations

Using Search Operators

When using more than one word in a search, the result includes entries that contain all of the search keywords and entries that contain only one of the search keywords. To modify this type of search, use the following operators as you use them in other search engines:

  • A plus sign (+)
  • A minus sign (-)
  • The double quotation marks (“) and (”)
  • An asterisk (*)

The following table shows examples of how to use these operators. Note that there should be a space between the search term and operator (+, -, *).

Search TypeExampleComment
Single TermBostonSearch for the term Boston
Multiple TermsBoston DetroitSearch for the term Boston OR Detroit
Phrase"Boston Detroit"Show results that include an exact phrase "Boston Detroit". So if you
have a report with "I love Boston Detroit", it'll get returned.
+Boston +DetroitMust have Detroit regardless of Boston
-Boston -DetroitEverything having Boston but never Detroit
*Bost*Search for wildcard Bost*
-Prompt:Boston -prompt:Search for Boston and do not include result with prompt
+language:langBoston +language:ja Search for Boston and only match reports with language metadata = ja
-language:langBoston -language:jaSearch for Boston don’t match any reports with language metadata = ja

Relevance Of The Search Results

In the result set returned from Enhanced Search, a relevance percentage is assigned to each result returned.

Figure 12 - Search results with relevance percentage
Figure 12 - Search results with relevance percentage

Enhanced Search embeds the Apache Lucene search engine and Lucene-specific algorithms are used to determine the result’s relevance. However, there are options available within the definition of the search index defined by your IBM Cognos BI administrator that can apply more weight to certain objects within the IBM Cognos BI Content Store.


What Can You Do With The Search Results?

When the results are presented to the user there is a variety of information available and a number of options for what you can do next with this information.

View Results

Based on the search criteria, the middle section in the screen, as shown in Figure 13, shows the results pane of the search. There can be multiple sections within the search results returned.

Figure 13 – The Results pane
Figure 13 – The Results pane

The Create and Explore section provides the user with a set of default queries that are based on the search criteria on which to start building a report. This display is a way to provide you with a head start on getting the information that you are after when there are no existing reports that provide the necessary detail. You can use one of these queries and then customize it to create a report that can be reused or shared with others.

The Suggested section provides you with suggested content based on predefined suggestions that are defined on the index search by your IBM Cognos BI administrator.

The last section in the middle pane is not labeled and contains the full content search results directly related to the criteria used to perform the search and provides results from the stored content.

Refine the Results

Once results are displayed, you can further refine the search results by filtering by various elements. Selecting one of these refinements will filter the results contained in the results frame. The following are the types of refinement that can be applied:

  • Result: Shows only report parts or hides report parts
  • Type: The type of IBM Cognos object, such as dashboards, reports, or queries
  • Part: The type of report part, such as crosstab, list, or pie chart
  • Creation Date: The year of creation
  • Owner: The owner of the object
  • Metadata: The metadata or packages that were used to create this object

See Related Information

If your IBM Cognos BI administrator has configured to have search work with a third party search engine such as the Google search appliance, then results are returned from the external third-party search source. This provides an opportunity to include content that is not IBM Cognos so that you are presented with more inputs to help answer their questions.


Additional Search Features

Match Description are identified in the Result Set

Enhanced Search not only provides the result set but also highlights the exact match. The matches can be by name, description, heading, metadata, annotation match and potential data match. The matches are highlighted in bold in the description of the search result. A typical match description appears as shown in Figure 14.

Figure 14 - Search results window showing all the metadata and potential data matches
Figure 14 - Search results window showing all the metadata and potential data matches

Context Search from within a Report

By default, Enhanced Search searches any search term through various reports, packages, models, dimensions and other IBM Cognos BI Content Store artifacts. However, there may be instances where you are viewing a report and want to search for a specific context from the report. When a report is run, you can search on specific context visible on the report by right clicking and, from the menu that appears, selecting Go To > Search as shown in Figure 15. This brings up the search results with the context of the report passed through as search criteria as shown in Figure 16.

Figure 15 - Sample Report Studio report with search selected on a data field
Figure 15 - Sample Report Studio report with search selected on a data field
Figure 16 - Search results with the context of the previous report search selection passed through as search criteria
Figure 16 - Search results with the context of the previous report search selection passed through as search criteria

Comments

developerWorks: Sign in

Required fields are indicated with an asterisk (*).


Need an IBM ID?
Forgot your IBM ID?


Forgot your password?
Change your password

By clicking Submit, you agree to the developerWorks terms of use.

 


The first time you sign into developerWorks, a profile is created for you. Information in your profile (your name, country/region, and company name) is displayed to the public and will accompany any content you post, unless you opt to hide your company name. You may update your IBM account at any time.

All information submitted is secure.

Choose your display name



The first time you sign in to developerWorks, a profile is created for you, so you need to choose a display name. Your display name accompanies the content you post on developerWorks.

Please choose a display name between 3-31 characters. Your display name must be unique in the developerWorks community and should not be your email address for privacy reasons.

Required fields are indicated with an asterisk (*).

(Must be between 3 – 31 characters.)

By clicking Submit, you agree to the developerWorks terms of use.

 


All information submitted is secure.

Dig deeper into Big data and analytics on developerWorks


static.content.url=http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/js/artrating/
SITE_ID=1
Zone=Business analytics, Information Management
ArticleID=818052
ArticleTitle=IBM Cognos Proven Practices: Enhanced Search Options in IBM Cognos 10 BI
publish-date=05242012