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Embed Cognos Analytics Dashboards into your Applications

In today’s world, data is being produced and stored at an ever-quickening pace.  In fact, according to Forrester, the number of companies storing over 100TB of data almost doubled in 2017. The ability to leverage this data to make timely and effective decisions is paramount.  In many cases, the data is surfaced in one system. Users must then break away from their current activity to extract the data from wherever it lives and bring it into a separate visualization tool to surface insights. Some have tried to solve this problem by including data visualization capabilities directly within an application.  The issue with that approach is two-fold: one, you significantly increase the coding required by your developers, and two: end users are then limited to a set of pre-defined visualizations that may not completely meet their needs. To address the problem for both developers and end users, we’ve developed a new solution that allows you to embed Cognos Analytics dashboards into your applications with ease: IBM Cognos Dashboard Embedded. For the Developer: As the name implies, IBM Cognos Dashboard Embedded, allows you to integrate a dynamic analytics workflow directly into your offering. This may take the form of a guided exploration containing pre-created dashboards with one or more visualizations. However, the true value lies in providing a full creation experience, allowing end users to select their data sources and build their own visualizations in real time to get answers to their questions. Based on Javascript APIs, Cognos Dashboard Embedded utilizes a standard and popular development language that allows developers to quickly and efficiently integrate and maintain Cognos Dashboard Embedded in their offering. For the end user: Not everyone in an organization is looking for the same answers to the same questions. Consequently, a dashboard that works perfectly for a colleague may only provide a subset of the information that meets your particular needs.  With IBM Cognos Dashboard Embedded, you have an intuitive, drag-and-drop user experience, which allows you to explore your data and create visualizations that answer the unique questions important to you. Try it for free today IBM Cognos Dashboard Embedded is now available in the IBM Cloud Catalog.  Try it for free today! Or, click here to learn more about this new offering.

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Video: What's new in reporting, dashboarding, stories and the portal for IBM #Cognos Analytics 11.0.11?

Welcome to our video about what's new in reporting, dashboarding, stories and the portal for IBM Cognos Analytics 11.0.11, where we'll cover using custom polygons and points for mapping, data caching in dashboards and stories, support for Portal Pages, and controlling object visibility. Related posts: Library of How-To Videos for IBM Cognos Analytics Samples Landing Page Guide to IBM Cognos Analytics sample data sets Please visit our IBM Cognos Analytics channel on YouTube.

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What's new in Cognos Analytics Dashboards 11.0.9

Latitude and Longitude mapping support We added the ability to map latitude and longitude points on to maps. See Rick’s blog on this topic. Label axis orientation The orientation and positioning of the categorical x-axis labels in our visualizations have always been responsive to maximize the available real-estate and show as many values as could fit.  In R9, we added the ability for the author to control the orientation. Head to the properties and select one of the options. In this example, the Automatic setting for the current widget size was to stagger the labels. We can now select a different orientation, let’s see what it looks like as Vertical: Full screen mode and narrow side bar To maximize the available real-estate for the dashboard canvas itself, we’ve made two enhancements: 1) Narrow navigation side bar When in consumption mode, the side bar will now always be thin. This will provide more real-estate to the actual widgets themselves and give additional space for other or larger widgets. This falls in line with reports where the side bar has always been thin. In the example below, my dashboard now opens with a thin side bar, even on my high resolution desktop screen. 2) Full-screen dashboards To go a step further in maximizing the available real-estate, we’ve added the ability to hide the top and side panels completely for users of the dashboard. While in full-screen mode, the dashboard remains fully interactive, allowing the user to interact with it without any distractions of the panels.  From the top right of the screen, click on the double-arrow to go full-screen. To exit, simply hit escape or click on the button again that appears on the bottom left.

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#Cognos Analytics 11.0.8: What’s new in dashboards

We focused this release on a few key enhancements around ease of use and flexibility of the dashboard. Ease of use Higher data points cap for visualizations The goal of the dashboard is to provide a fast, interactive experience to allow the user to find the results they need with minimal spinners. For some visualizations, however, there is an advantage to show more data points simultaneously. To meet that need, we have bumped up the data points cap to 10k on tables and crosstabs, and to 30k for maps. Of course, keep in mind that the more data points you pass to a viz, the longer the spinner may be depending on your browser and computer. Filter indicators on visualizations To better help the user understand which filters are currently being applied to a viz, we now list the filters individually in the tooltip. This comes in handy when the user needs to exclude several data points consecutively, and then wants to add a few back. Now, they can simply remove the exclusions one at a time by using the tooltip. In the example below, I was looking at Product Types and I excluded one data point at a time. Each action then created a new entry in the filter pop-up, allowing me to clearly see which ones were excluded.   Administration of dashboards Support for ambiguous connections To better serve users who have access to multiple connections to the same data source, we now prompt the user to select which one they wish to connect to. This applies to ambiguous connections and sign-ons. In the example below, I am using a data module that points to a data source where I have access to multiple connections. The dashboard now prompts me to select which one I want.   Once I select the connection, it is set for the remainder of this current session, it will only prompt me a single time. If I want to switch connections, I have two options: close and re-open the dashboard or use the re-link option and select the same source again. The pop-up will prompt again. Auditing of dashboard This is for the administrators who want to track the usage of the dashboards. Once Auditing is enabled at a system level, any time a dashboard is opened, it will add an entry to the audit logs in the same way as other Cognos assets such as reports. Upon a dashboard action, the system will log the name of the user, dashboard name, timestamp, sources used as well as execution time. To make it easier for the admin to see the new data, we have updated the Audit sample deployment archive to include dashboards as an output type. See example below: To close things out, I’d like to mention two more smaller improvements we have also made: The widget titles now remain a fixed size, regardless of the size of the widget. This will provide a consistent look across all widgets. The button to change visualization when in focus mode is now in a more visible location above the viz, and it also indicates the name of the current selected chart type.

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What's new in Dashboarding for #Cognos Analytics 11.0.7?

This release is by far our biggest one in terms of new Dashboard features. There’s lots to cover, I’ll start with the usability ones then dive into those that are more functional, providing some examples to better understand how they can help you explore and visualize your data. The first thing you’ll notice when you launch the dashboard is the new icons and colours. The new look provides a sharp, clean and professional canvas that now makes it easier than ever to get started and visualize your data. Here are a few examples of the new icons: As well as the new look to the visualization expanded mode, here’s the bubble chart: The section icons on the left of the dashboard have also changed a little. We have combined the Media, Text and Shapes widgets sections together to form a new section called Widgets panel. You’ll find all the same widgets within it. Another small but useful enhancement is the ability to stretch the sources panel. Meaning that you will no longer get truncated names if they don’t fit the panel default size. Just grab the edge and just make it wider, the field names will automatically adjust based on available space. Bringing up the on-demand toolbar in charts We have made some changes to the left and right-click actions to make the on-demand toolbar appear only when the user requests it. · Left-click: Selects the data point · Right-click: Invokes the On-Demand Toolbar (ODT) In the example below, I multi-selected two data points and right-clicked to bring up the ODT. This will greatly reduce the number of instances where the on-demand toolbar was getting in the way by appearing when it wasn’t needed.   New visualizations slots As soon as you expand a visualization to bring it into focus mode, you’ll notice that the data slots are now positioned on the left. This provides a much shorter drag and drop experience from the metadata tree to the slots. The mandatory ones are marked with a red asterisk, once those are filled in, a chart will render.   Multiple columns per slot It’s often useful to break down the values of one column by another. To achieve this, we have added the ability to drag in multiple columns into the same slot. The result will show the values while taking the two columns into consideration. For example, we want to see a break-down of the revenue for our products broken by quarters. Drag Quarter under the Product Line field to create another row. The chart will break-down Revenue by Product and Quarter Measures as categories The same paradigm can be applied to measures as well. We can now place multiple measures in the measure slot and in the process, create a Measure Group. This Measures group can then be moved to other slots, such as the colour slot, categories, or another. Meaning that now you could for example have a bar chart with each bar representing a measure. Drag the Measures group item to the Category slot to compare their respective totals Repeat slots We have added two new slots to the visualizations that allows us to repeat the visualization across the values of the column that is provided. This is handy when you want to declutter a chart and view the information side by side. For example, if we want to show the revenue of our products across years, we can drag the year into one of the Repeat slot and visualization will repeat itself for every year in the data.   Mapping refinement slot We introduced as part of 11.0.6 a new slot for refining the data for maps. This helped the system resolve ambiguous locations. In this release, the refinement slot is part of the location slot. Simply drag in the refinement column into the same slot as the items you wish to map. Values labels in the charts Sometimes it’s handy to be able to see the values of the data points without needing to touch the mouse to get the info via tooltips. We have added a property to show and hide values directly inside the chart. This is available for certain chart types, where we felt it was going to be particularly useful. We can also switch it to show percentage based, which very handy to compare to other items. New visualizations The Network visualization is handy when you want to see the connections between the values your data. Let’s pick some data that is hierarchical in nature such as Managers and Employees. Stacked 100% bar chart This type of viz is useful when you’d like to see how much each item is contributing to the total amount. Radial bar The Radial and Radial bar visualizations have been merged together into a single chart. To get a list of repeating Radial charts, place the value in the Repeat slot. The Radial will then span across Quarters Crosstab The crosstab continues to be an invaluable visualization to look at your data. In this release, we have increased the number of available nested levels to 10 on both edges. To maximize scrolling performance, we load into view only the number that are visible on the screen. Visualization titles To add a title to a visualization, we have removed the little pencil from the on-demand toolbar and placed a new property instead. We have also simplified its properties and removed the pre-defined styles, allowing the user to now create their own using the standard options of font, size and colours. You’ll also notice that the titles now scale appropriately based on the available real-estate. Proportional stretch the size of the widgets A small change to call out is the ability to proportionally stretch the widget size. Rather than having a dedicated grabber location, we opted to use the well-used paradigm of holding down the shift key while dragging. Renamed visualizations To be more in line with industry standards, we decided to rename the Grid visualization is now called table. The Hierarchy visualization is now called a List. Filter enhancements One of the changes that you’ll immediately notice when you launch the dashboard is the inclusion of a filter dock area at the top of the canvas. This area is used to drag in fields to be used as filters for either the current tab, or globally across all tabs. Simply drag in a field into one of the two sections and it becomes a filter.   This is particularly useful to free up the canvas and move widgets such as list widgets that were used as filters, up to the top. The values shown in these filters are different than what is displayed in visualizations; the values are not affected by the user’s interactions. Meaning that even if the data doesn’t have a combination of values, the user can still select it in the filter widget. A point to note is that the measure filters in the dock are displayed as raw values, as opposed to local filters inside a viz which are post-aggregation. If you wish to add a filter to the canvas as opposed to have it as part of the dock, define a filter as a Tab filter and then click on the overflow menu and add it to the canvas. Continuing with filters, we have made some enhancements to the Top / Bottom feature. You will now be able to free-type the number of records you want to keep, or if you’d prefer to keep records based on a percentile, you can do that too. In the screenshot below, we are keeping the top 25% products based on revenue. Calculation enhancements Calculations play a large role in discovering key insights in your data. To make our calculations even more powerful, we have added three new abilities. The first is the calculation editor where you will be able to free-type the expression you want. To get the editor to pop up, launch it from the top menu or from the handy link inside the Create calculation box. Once the editor is up, you can type the expression of use the tree on the left to create your calculation. For help on the available functions, you can click on the little question mark “?” icon on the top right.   The second new calculation feature is the ability to quickly define a calculation with a constant. For example, if you only want to see 10% of a value, right-click on a single measure and create a calculation. The final calculation enhancement is the ability to define an embedded calculation, also known as a local calculation. This is where the calculation takes place before the system aggregates the values. It is particularly handy when your calculation needs to evaluate the raw values as opposed to the summarized ones. This is done via the data tray at the bottom of the screen: first select the table, then open the data tray. Navigation paths To facilitate the use of navigation paths, you can now define your own directly from the dashboard, no longer requiring to open up a Data Module. The simplest way to achieve this is to multi-select the fields you want to include and select Create navigation path from the context menu. In the screenshot below, I just created a data set and want to define a navigation path to help me better understand my data. Once the navigation path is defined, it will appear at the top of the metadata tree, under folder.   Field defaults A dashboard author can set field property such as usage, aggregate and even sort. This is handy when there is a requirement for example to change a measure to always display the average by default. The end user can still change it if they’d like via the on-demand toolbar in a visualization.   This feature is not available on OLAP sources or Framework Manager packages. Data tray The last point to note is that we have removed access to the data tray at the bottom of the screen when the dashboard is in consumption mode. This was to clean up the interface and to better control what the end user sees when they do not have access to edit the dashboard. Here is a short video that demonstrates these new features:

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VIDEO: How to use Maps in #Cognos Analytics Dashboards (11.0.6)

This blog and video is a step by step guide on how to use Maps in Cognos Analytics Dashboards Video In the video we will show you: How to Model your data so the data is recognised as Geospatial. How to use some of the key map features. How to use the ‘Refine Regions’ data slot. Environment Cognos Analytics 11.0.6 with Interim Fix 1 (This contains important updates to the mapping components) The attached data file was used for the following examples: Map Data How to model your data so it is recognized as Geospatial Step 1 - Upload the file Save the attached data file  map_data.xls locally. Open Cognos Analytics and go to ‘Upload Files’ and upload the file to your Cognos Analytics Server. Step 2 - Create a Data Module from the uploaded file Click on ‘New’ then ‘Data Module’. Click ‘Uploaded Files’ and search for your uploaded file. Click ‘start’ then drag the file to the new module. Expand the uploaded file and click on the ellipsis next to ‘County’ and then select ‘ In the ‘Represents’ drop-down box select ‘Geographic Location’ and then select ‘County’. Optional Step: In the video example I limit the data to California in my data module. To do this Click the ellipsis next to ‘State’ and select ‘filter’.  Click the checkbox next to ‘California’ and click ‘Apply ‘.  Alternatively, you can use the entire file but please note this will be truncated to 3,000 rows which is the current data limit for maps Save the data module. How to use the Refine Regions data slot Using the Data Module from the previous steps, drag ‘County’ to ‘Regions’ and ‘Measure’ to ‘Region Color’. You will see an ‘Ambiguous regions’ data warning in the top right of the widget. This means the listed counties will not be mapped. E.g. Holmes County is in both Mississippi and Florida so the widget will need more information to map successfully. To resolve the ambiguity, drag ‘State’ to the ‘Refine Regions’ data slot and this will allow the Widget to determine exactly which County needs to be mapped. (Please note - when adding a refinement region always try to add the applicable next level parent.) This will produce the following Map:   Please visit the IBM Cognos Analytics channel on YouTube.