IBM Cognos 10 BI: Components & User Interfaces
Please visit http://vmanoria.blogspot.in/2012/04/ibm-business-intelligence-software-its.html to know about Business Intelligence and Cognos capabilities and http://vmanoria.blogspot.in/2012/04/cognos-101-installation-and.html for Cognos 10 BI Server installation & configuration. IBM Cognos BI includes web-based and Windows-based user interfaces that provide a business intelligence experience that is focused upon the needs of different users. Here we would discuss essential tools & user interfaces of Cognos 10 which we can use to implement and use BI.
In below figure, We can see different components and how they are fitting in. The top most layer, where we can see Cognos Connection, Administrator, Business Insight and different studios. They all are web-based and end-user needs not to install any client side software if he has latest web browser installed.
Bottom layer is basically data layer where you may have homogenous or heterogeneous database systems. Data may be relational or multi-dimentional. On top of it, we can see three modeling tools there - Framework Manager, Transformer and Metric Designer. All of them are client based installation.
We’ll maintain the flow of components from top to bottom as shown in below BI components figure.
Lets start with Welcome Screen. From this interface you can open different interfaces as per your requirement.
IBM Cognos Connection
IBM Cognos Connection is the portal to IBM Cognos software. IBM Cognos Connection provides a single access point to all corporate data available in IBM Cognos software. Cognos Connection is -
- Customizable portal interface to all Cognos 10 content (reports, analyses, queries, agents, metrics, and packages)
– Public Folders are shared and secured by user or group
– My Folders is private
- Launching point for different capabilities based on permissions
– Studios, administrative functions
- Used to set preferences
– Language, run options, home page
- Access and personalize content
– Access and view content, live or saved output versions
– Open the report for editing
– Personalize the view by setting prompt values, output format, language
– Schedule the report to be run in the future or at recurring intervals
IBM Cognos Administration
Cognos Administration is a central management interface that contains the administrative tasks for Cognos BI. It provides easy access to the overall management of the IBM Cognos environment and is accessible through Cognos Connection. Cognos Administration is organized into three sections:
Use the links in this section to monitor activities, server status, and system metrics, and change some system settings.
Use the links in this section to define users, groups, and roles for security purposes, configure capabilities for the interfaces and studios, and set properties for the user interface profiles (professional and express) that are used in Report Studio.
Use the links in this section to set up data source connections, deploy IBM Cognos BI content from one content store to another, create distribution and contact lists, add printers, set styles, manage portlets and portal layout, start or stop dispatchers and services, and change system settings.
You can also perform the following administrative tasks:
- automating tasks
- setting up your environment and configuring your database for multilingual reporting
- installing fonts
- setting up printers
- configuring web browsers
- allowing user access to Series 7 reports from IBM Cognos Connection
- restricting access to IBM Cognos software
Aside from the typical administrative tasks, you can also customize the appearance and functionality of different IBM Cognos components.
IBM Cognos Configuration
- to set the initial configuration of IBM Cognos components after you install them
- to configure IBM Cognos components if you want to change a property value or you add components to your environment
- to start or stop the service for an IBM Cognos component on the local computer
You can run IBM Cognos Configuration in either interactive or silent mode. In interactive mode, you use a graphical user interface to configure the IBM Cognos component. In silent mode, the tool runs in the background and requires no interaction from you as part of an unattended installation.
If you change the value of a property, you must save the configuration and then restart the IBM Cognos service to apply the new settings to your computer.
For distributed installations, ensure that you configured all computers where you installed Content Manager before you change default configuration settings on other IBM Cognos computers. For example, you can
- change the default user and password for Cognos Content Database
- change a URI
- configure cryptographic settings
- configure IBM Cognos components to use IBM Cognos Application Firewall
- configure temporary file properties
- configure the gateway to use a namespace
- Enable and Disable Services
- configure fonts
- configure font support for Simplified Chinese
- change the default font for reports
- save report output to a file system
- change the notification database
After you change the default behavior of IBM Cognos components to better suit your IBM Cognos environment, you can configure Portal Services, configure an authentication provider, or test the installation Test the Installation and Configuration.
1) IBM Cognos Business Insight
IBM Cognos Business Insight is a Web-based tool that allows you to use IBM Cognos content and external data sources to build sophisticated interactive dashboards that provide insight and facilitate collaborative decision making.
You can view and open favorite dashboards and reports, manipulate the content in the dashboards, and email your dashboards. You can also use comments and activities for collaborative decision making and use social software such as IBM Lotus® Connections for collaborative decision making.
Create dashboards with Business Insight to give business users in your organization an integrated Business Intelligence experience that includes collaborative decision making. A dashboard allows users to quickly complete a wide variety of tasks such as viewing and interacting with reports and collaborating and sharing information.
When you create an interactive dashboard, you are assembling IBM Cognos content. You can also add content from HTML and text sources.
IBM Business Insight is -
- Interactive, self-service workspace
- Assemble and share dashboards
– Assemble content for a personal or shared dashboard without IT intervention
– Arrange elements in an intuitive, WYSIWYG interface
- Interact with information for greater understanding
– Personalize the look and feel with easy formatting options
– Create calculations
– Select alternate visualizations
– Conduct further analysis in context
– Examine data lineage
- Share and collaborate on key information
– Add comments to clarify and question
– Search for existing content and begin authoring in context
IBM Cognos Business Insight Advanced
IBM Cognos Business Insight Advanced provides a single, integrated environment for advanced business users who need to do more than consume reports and dashboards that are authored for them. This solution does not require you to use different user interfaces depending on whether the data is dimensional or relational and whether your primary task is report authoring or data exploration. You can use it to author new reports on relational or dimensional data. With Business Insight Advanced, you can create and format a wide variety of reports, including lists, cross tabs, charts, and financial statement style reports. In addition, you can use it for OLAP exploration and can mix exploration and authoring activities seamlessly without switching interfaces or modes.
Business Insight Advanced is -
- Web-based, drag-and-drop content authoring interface designed for business users
- Relational or dimensional data
- Multiple data layouts and visualizations
- Styles and formatting
- Format, layout, and distribution
- Incorporate external data
- Content can be run as standalone report or incorporated into Business Insight workspace
- Leveraged as starting point for further enhancement by professional authors as needed
IBM Cognos Report Studio
IBM Cognos Report Studio is a robust report design and authoring tool. Using IBM Cognos Report Studio, report authors can create, edit, and distribute a wide range of professional reports. You can author entire range of enterprise reports with relational or dimensional data sources, and show data in lists, crosstabs, and various kinds of charts. You can write a report once and distribute it to many users in multiple languages and formats.
Main features are -
- Web-based professional report authoring environment
- Create new reports or enhance content created by business users
- Provides fine-grain control over layout formatting and presentation for production ready formatting
- Additional capabilities for the professional author
– Extend reports with interactive maps and prompts
– Multiple logical pages for varied content
– Interactive tables of contents
– Create offline Active Reports
– Incorporate statistical analysis
- Any report can be used as a template. You simply create and format a report and then use it as your starting point for all other reports, leaving the original report unchanged. A report intended to be used as a template usually does not contain data so that the report can be used with multiple packages. You can start from numerous pre-defined templates, or blank report as shown below.
Your users can interact with the reports you distribute if you add prompts or enable drill-through access to another report, or both. By answering prompts when a report is run, your users customize the contents of the report to meet their information needs. One authored report can then meet the requirements of many users. By enabling drill-through access to another report, your users can navigate from one report to the next.
IBM Cognos Query Studio
Using IBM Cognos Query Studio, users with little or no training can quickly design, create, and save ad-hoc queries and reports to meet reporting needs that are not covered by the standard, professional reports created in IBM Cognos Report Studio. In Query Studio, you can
- view data
Connect to a data source to view data in a tree hierarchy. Expand the query subjects to see query item details.
- create reports
Use the data source to create reports, which you can save and reuse. You can also create a new report by opening an existing report, changing it, and saving it using another name.
- change the appearance of reports
Improve the layout of your report. For example, you can create a chart, add a title, specify text and border styles, or reorder columns for easy comparison.
- work with data in a report
Use filters, summaries, and calculations to compare and analyze data. Drill up and drill down to view related information.
IBM Cognos Analysis Studio
With Analysis Studio, users can explore and analyze data from different dimensions of their business. Users can also compare data to spot trends or anomalies in performance. Analysis Studio provides access to dimensional, online analytical processing (OLAP), and dimensionally modeled relational data sources. Analyses created in Analysis Studio can be opened in IBM Cognos Report Studio and used to build professional reports.
Use the interactive drag-and-drop environment in Analysis Studio to explore and analyze data to find answers to business questions.
Using Analysis Studio, you can –
● find and focus on items that are important to your business
● understand trends and anomalies
● compare data, such as details to summaries, or actual results to budgeted results
● assess performance by focusing on the best or worst results
● establish relative importance using calculations such as growth or rank
● share your findings with others
Like IBM Cognos Series 7 PowerPlay Web, Analysis Studio helps you answer business questions quickly and easily. Analysis Studio supports the same drill up and down behavior and drag-and-drop control as PowerPlay Web, while addressing demands for more effective ways to analyze large amounts of data
IBM Cognos Event Studio
In Event Studio, you set up agents to monitor your data and perform tasks when business events or exceptional conditions occur in your data. When an event occurs, people are alerted to take action. Agents can publish details to the portal, deliver alerts by email, run and distribute reports based on events, and monitor the status of events. For example, a support call from a key customer or the cancellation of a large order might trigger an event, sending an email to the appropriate people.
Use Event Studio to notify decision-makers in your organization of events as they happen, so that they can make timely and effective decisions. You create agents that monitor your organization’s data to detect occurrences of business events. An event is a situation that can affect the success of your business. An event is identified when specific items in your data achieve significant values. Specify the event condition, or a change in data, that is important to you. When an agent detects an event, it can perform tasks, such as sending an e-mail, adding information to the portal, and running reports.
The IBM Cognos Platform includes a new service to support enhanced event management functionality called the Human Task Service. This service is based upon an open specification called WS-Human Tasks. IBM Cognos BI includes the following types of human tasks that you can see in the task inbox:
- Approval requests
- Ad-hoc tasks
- Notification requests
You can create tasks from the following components:
- IBM Cognos Event Studio (notification requests and approval requests)
- The My Inbox area of IBM Cognos Connection (notification requests and ad-hoc tasks)
- A watch rule set up for a report (notification requests only)
IBM Cognos Metric Studio & Designer
Use Metric Studio to create a customized scorecarding environment to monitor and analyze metrics and projects throughout your organization. Metric Studio helps you translate your organization’s strategy into relevant, measurable goals that align each employee's actions with a strategic plan.
A rich scorecarding environment shows you quickly where your organization is successful and where it needs improvement. Metric Studio tracks performance against targets and indicates the current status of the business so that decision makers at every level of the organization can react and plan. Use the flexibility of Metric Studio to model metrics and their relationships based on any standard or proprietary scorecarding and management methodology that you already use.
Metric Designer is the IBM Cognos 8 modeling tool used to create extracts for use in IBM Cognos scorecarding applications. Extracts are used to map and transfer information from existing metadata sources such as Framework Manager and Impromptu Query Definition (.iqd) files.
If IBM Cognos Metric Studio is installed and configured as part of your IBM Cognos BI environment, you can navigate to Metric Studio content in the Content tab and add the following Metric Studio content to a dashboard:
- Watch lists
- Metric types
- Individual metrics
When you add an individual metric to the dashboard, historical data for the metric displays in a form of a bar chart. For any other IBM Cognos Metric Studio content that you add, the content displays as a list of metrics for the selected item. Each metric in the list has a hyperlink that opens the individual metric in Metric Studio.
IBM Cognos Framework Manager
IBM Cognos Framework Manager is the IBM Cognos BI modeling tool for creating and managing business related metadata for use in IBM Cognos BI analysis and reporting. Metadata is published for use by reporting tools as a package, providing a single, integrated business view of any number of heterogeneous data sources.
Framework Manager can rapidly create relational and dimensional models (Dimensionally Modeled Relational) through a guided workflow-driven modeling process, check the execution path of the queries, define filters, and configure data multi-language support and security filters.
To enhance the business view of the model, you can use Framework Manager to:
– model for predictable results (star schema)
– model for OLAP-style queries (model dimensionally)
– create one or more business views
– add calculations
– create and apply filters
– add prompts
– set row level security
IBM Cognos Transformer
Transformer is a proven and relatively simple tool for modeling dimensional hierarchies and levels for PowerCubes.
Transformer is a data modeling tool designed for use with IBM Cognos 8 version 8.3 and subsequent releases. You use this component to create a model, a business presentation of the information in one or more data sources. After you choose a supported product locale (language), add dimensional metadata, specify the measures (performance indicators), and apply custom views, you can create PowerCubes based on this model. You can deploy these cubes to support OLAP reporting and analysis.
A model can contain any number of regular or calculated measures, together with logical groupings that use measure folders. A regular measure is numeric data in a transactional data source. A calculated measure is new numeric data that is derived from other measures, functions, and constants, such as Profit, which is calculated from the measures Revenue and Cost. A measure folder can group existing measures into a logical collection and, if needed, can be assigned a calculated value itself.
IBM Cognos Map Manager
In a map that contains region layers, you can now create new region layers from existing ones using Map Manager. Each new region within the new layer is made up of one or more complete regions from the existing region layer.
As the report author, you can use this new feature to customize maps when the regions in the supplied maps do not correspond to the way information is managed and reported on. For example, your Sales Territories may not match the States layer. You can create a Sales Region Layer with a region such as Northwest (Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and so on). As a result, you avoid having to create a new map layer in MapInfo, a task requiring additional knowledge as well as licensing of the original MapInfo data.
It is not, however, possible to use portions of one region to form a new region. For example, you can combine the state regions of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho to form a sales region, but you cannot use portions of any region, such as cities, to form a new region. Use Map Manager to load an existing IBM Cognos map file, define the new region layer, and then save the map with the new layer.
Install IBM® Cognos® Map Manager if you want to -
● convert maps from non IBM sources
● assign alternate names for map features
● assign alternate languages for map features