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Cognos Analytics smart features: IBM product team goes deep into version 11.1

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Cognos Analytics smart features: IBM product team goes deep into version 11.1

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As we told you six weeks ago when it was launched, IBM Cognos Analytics 11.1 has been completely reconceived to bring the power of AI to BI. (That’s “augmented intelligence” and “business intelligence,” for the record.) Recently, several members of our product development team dug into some of the most notable Cognos Analytics smart features in a series of posts on the Cognos Analytics community site.

I encourage you to check out those posts, which are summarized and linked below. Take a look around the community as well, and sign up there if you’d like to participate in the discussions with IBMers and fellow users. Meanwhile here are some of the highlights from the posts, along with demo videos to give you an overview of Cognos Analytics 11.1’s dashboarding, reporting, and exploration features.

Cognos Analytics smart features driven by AI and machine learning

In “The New AI-Infused Cognos Analytics Release is here!” Chris McPherson kicks off the series of posts by saying:

If I had to sum it up in a single word, it’s ‘smarts.’ . . . We have infused augmented intelligence in modelling, in reporting, in dashboarding, and especially in the brand-new data exploration experience. The best part is . . . this is just the first step in our journey to bring AI and machine learning to every area of the product. There’s lots more to come!

“Smarts” is shorthand for augmented intelligence, which allows Cognos Analytics to learn and adapt to your individual needs as it guides you to insights you would never find otherwise. Even better, it helps remove the human biases we all have that can keep us from seeing the best answers.


The data dashboard is the primary way that many people will interact with their analytics software — and a crucial place to find unexpected insights. In “Cognos Analytics 11.1.0 brings more flexibility to Dashboards,” Kevin McFaul walks you through a slew of improvements that make the current release of Cognos Analytics even more user-friendly, and more compelling for conveying insights visually.

Through numerous screenshots, Kevin shows you how you can now create custom color palettes, resize your canvas and the various elements on it, and improve the layout of your dashboard. Going beyond these features of aesthetic design, new dashboard capabilities give you more types of visualizations to choose from, as well as an advanced expression editor to give you more power and control over the way you handle data.

Take a look at this demo of the dashboard in Cognos Analytics 11.1:



For many companies, reporting is such a critical area of impact for BI because reports are the main avenue through which decision makers receive insights. It’s appropriate, then, that Rachel Su goes into great detail in “Cognos Analytics 11.1 – Time Saving New Reporting Capabilities.” She explains many practical features in the new version, including guided report layout, reusable styles, new interactive visualization types, and the new navigation user interface.

Getting back to AI, Cognos Analytics reporting now includes smart visualization recommendations. As Rachel explains it,

When data items are selected and dragged directly from the metadata tree onto the report canvas, Cognos Analytics will automatically render the best visualization to represent the data. Report authors have the option to choose an alternative visualization from the list if the default one is not preferred.

The system also learns from your preferences, so if, for example, pie charts just aren’t your thing, the system will adapt and leave those off the recommended list. These enhancements serve a dual purpose by helping you present data in the clearest, most compelling way possible, while also saving you time by automating repetitive tasks.

Rachel goes on to explain in depth how the powerful, responsive visualizations in 11.1 work — and how the specific design of the software makes visualizations run so quickly on your browser.

Here’s a short demo for version 11.1’s reporting features:



This is where the Cognos Analytics smart features get even more exciting. In her post, Leah Hostetler lays out the rationale and specific features of “The New Explore Experience on Cognos Analytics 11.1.” This part of the software goes beyond dashboards and reports to let you range widely as you look for insights that will make a difference to your business. Here’s how Leah describes it:

Exploration is a new workspace within Cognos Analytics, designed for the free flow of ideas as you look for answers to business questions. With a low barrier to entry, any user can get started quickly, either directly from data or from existing visualizations in a dashboard or story.

She goes on to give specifics of how AI-driven features like natural language generation and automated visualizations make Exploration so powerful. This is one area where “smarts” pays off in a big way as you apply business analytics on the fly. As Leah puts it, “Exploration makes it effortless to iterate and try new things.”

Check out the demo:


Ready to get started with Cognos Analytics 11.1?

Whether you’re new to Cognos Analytics or just ready to upgrade from a previous version, sign up for your free trial here to take advantage of these Cognos Analytics smart features.

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