Visualizing data with Cognos Dashboards

With dashboards, you can build sophisticated visualizations of your analytics results, and communicate the insights that you’ve discovered in your data on a dashboard.

Service The Cognos Dashboards service is not available by default. An administrator must install this service on the IBM Cloud Pak for Data platform. To determine whether the service is installed, open the Services catalog and check whether the service is enabled.

Required services
Cognos Dashboards
Data format
CSV files with comma (,) delimiter
Data in tables in Db2 Warehouse, Db2 Warehouse on Cloud, PostgreSQL, Netezza (PureData System for Analytics) and Microsoft SQL Server
Data Virtualization assets
Data size
Any; columns in CSV files can only be 128 characters long

For more information on choosing the right tool for your data and use case, see Choosing a tool.

The dashboards editor provides a graphical canvas for a line-of-business user to begin investigating data for patterns and insights. You don’t need to understand coding or SQL to explore the data and gain insights. Alternatively, you can hand off the dashboard to a data scientist for deeper analysis and predictive modeling.

Dashboards editor

Adding a dashboard to your analytics project

To add a dashboard to your project:

  1. Click Add to project > Dashboard from the project toolbar, or click New dashboard from the Dashboards section on the project’s Assets page. You can create a blank dashboard or upload a dashboard file from your file system. The dashboard file must be a .json file.
  2. Type a name and description for your dashboard.
  3. Select one of the provided templates that contain predefined designs and grid lines for easy arrangement and alignment of the visualizations. A new empty dashboard opens. Template dashboard
  4. Create visualizations of your source data by using the following options in the left-hand pane of the dashboard:
    • Sources: Enables selecting a data source connection. The data source must exist and have been added as a data asset on the Assets page of the project, see also Known issues for data sources. The following data sources are supported:
      • CSV files with comma (,) delimiter
      • Connection with shared credentials to Db2 Warehouse, Db2 Warehouse on Cloud, PostgreSQL, Netezza (PureData System for Analytics), or Microsoft SQL Server
      • Data from a Db2 Warehouse, Db2 Warehouse on Cloud, PostgreSQL, Netezza (PureData System for Analytics), or a Microsoft SQL Server connection
      • Data Virtualization assets added into a project
        Note: The following two conditions must be met to use Data Virtualization assets:
        • The user must be granted either administrator or steward permissions in the Data Virtualization service.
        • The user must add their Cloud Pak for Data credentials to the Data Virtualization connection that is added to the project. The credentials must be entered in the username and password fields and not by selecting the checkbox.
    • Visualizations: Opens many different types of graphs that you can use to visualize the data from the selected data source connection. Drill down into your source connection and select the data segments you want to visualize.
    • Widgets: Enables adding widgets such as text, media, web pages, images, and shapes to the dashboard. You cannot add your own custom widgets to use in a dashboard. Dashboard with left pane open
  5. Click the Save icon to save your dashboard. The dashboard that you created is listed in the Dashboards section on the project’s Assets page.

Dashboard action bars

Project action bar in dashboards

From the project action bar, you can:

Dashboard action bar in dashboards

From the dashboard action bar, you can:

The dashboards editor uses the dashboard functionality from IBM Cognos Analytics. You can learn more about how to use the dashboard in this documentation.

Actions on dashboards

All dashboards are listed in the Dashboards section on your project’s Assets page.

When you open a dashboard, you are notified if an associated data asset, for example a CSV file, or a connection, for example a Db2 on Cloud connection, is missing from your dashboard. You can select to skip the data asset or to relink it. Before you can relink the asset, you must add the missing asset to your project. Data assets associated with a dashboard might be missing if the data asset was removed from your project, or when you download a dashboard and create a new dashboard from the downloaded dashboard JSON file in a different project without the data assets it uses. If you do not relink the missing asset to the dashboard, the dashboard graphs will not render.

Note: If the name and the content of a data asset associated with a dashboard changes, it is found by the dashboard when it opens. However, the column names and column types in the data asset must be the same as those that were used in the dashboard graphs.

You can select the following actions from the Actions menu of a selected dashboard:

Supported Cognos Dashboards features

You can use the following Cognos Dashboards features in the dashboards you create:

Learn more