IBM Cognos Business Intelligence 10.1 Dashboarding Cookbook

By Ankit Garg
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  1. IBM Cognos 10 Dashboard Components

About this book

IBM Cognos 10 BI is the leader in the Gartner quadrant in terms of BI capabilities. There have been new features introduced with IBM Cognos 10 BI in terms of dashboards and BI. The book intends to highlight the latest and advanced dashboarding features introduced with IBM Cognos 10 BI.

The book covers Business Insight and Business Insight Advanced in a comprehensive manner. It also covers best practices in terms of creating and distributing dashboards using IBM Cognos 10 BI, without which no BI solution would look presentable, usable and efficient.

The book covers the new IBM Cognos 10 dashboarding capabilities in detail and a comprehensive manner.

There whole content is divided in to step-by-step recipes, each of which covers a specific link in the whole chain of understanding and learning.

Recipes are augmented with real steps and screenshots which nullify chances of error or misjudgement.

These along with explanation, tips and information will help users to completely follow recipes and have a clear and concise understanding and will eventually enable them to use these in their own areas of interest.

Publication date:
July 2012
Publisher
Packt
Pages
206
ISBN
9781849685825

 

Chapter 1. IBM Cognos 10 Dashboard Components

In this chapter we will be:

  • Introducing IBM Cognos 10 BI Cognos Connection

  • Exploring IBM Cognos Business Insight User Interface

  • Exploring IBM Cognos Business Insight Advanced User Interface

Introduction

IBM Cognos 10 BI is the leading performance management tool, which enables users to monitor, measure, and manage corporate performance at a glance.

With its dashboard capabilities, users can assemble and organize data in personalized dashboard views to support different decision-making requirements.

IBM Cognos 10 BI is a bundle of tools that are accessible through a web interface and can be used for different sets of requirements. The following table briefly touches upon each of these:

IBM Cognos BI component name

Use case

Report Studio

Advanced report authoring interface where queries and calculations can be created manually. User needs to have BI designer skills.

Analysis Studio

Interface to perform dimensional data analysis where an analyst can slice and dice data stored in the multidimensional format.

Query Studio

Business users can perform ad hoc data analysis. Simple queries are generated on the fly.

Event Studio

Used to managing data related situations and triggering actions based on specific data conditions.

Business Insight

Users can use existing components to assemble and distribute sophisticated dashboards.

Business Insight Advanced

Business users can author reports and dashboards in a way similar to Report Studio, but with much less complexity. Queries are generated on the fly and no manual creation of queries is required. It provides functionality that is a subset of Report Studio with an intuitive and easy user interface.

IBM Cognos 10 BI has introduced IBM Cognos Business Insight and IBM Cognos Business Insight Advanced, which are the two components that can be used to author and view dashboards.

IBM Cognos Business Insight is used to create sophisticated interactive dashboards from the existing content. For instance, assume a user has already created four different reports each catering to sales, marketing, HR, and finance, using Report Studio. Individual sections in these reports can then be used in IBM Cognos Business Insight independently, to create an interactive dashboard. This would mean that the dashboard can have a few charts from the first two reports, and a list and a crosstab from third and fourth reports respectively.

IBM Cognos Business Insight Advanced is used to perform deeper analysis and report authoring where a user can perform more advanced data exploration, such as adding additional measures, conditional formatting, and advanced calculations. This can be thought of as a clipped version of IBM Cognos Report Studio, which is a complex report authoring tool in which queries and calculations can be built.

In this book we will be covering various aspects of IBM Cognos 10 Business Insight and IBM Cognos 10 Business Insight Advanced.

Readers are advised to install and configure IBM Cognos 10 BI and Samples (GO Sales and GO Data Warehouse), provided with the tool installation kit. For detailed installation and configuration instructions, please refer to IBM Cognos 10 BI Installation and Configuration Guide, shipped with the product.

 

Introduction


IBM Cognos 10 BI is the leading performance management tool, which enables users to monitor, measure, and manage corporate performance at a glance.

With its dashboard capabilities, users can assemble and organize data in personalized dashboard views to support different decision-making requirements.

IBM Cognos 10 BI is a bundle of tools that are accessible through a web interface and can be used for different sets of requirements. The following table briefly touches upon each of these:

IBM Cognos BI component name

Use case

Report Studio

Advanced report authoring interface where queries and calculations can be created manually. User needs to have BI designer skills.

Analysis Studio

Interface to perform dimensional data analysis where an analyst can slice and dice data stored in the multidimensional format.

Query Studio

Business users can perform ad hoc data analysis. Simple queries are generated on the fly.

Event Studio

Used to managing data related situations and triggering actions based on specific data conditions.

Business Insight

Users can use existing components to assemble and distribute sophisticated dashboards.

Business Insight Advanced

Business users can author reports and dashboards in a way similar to Report Studio, but with much less complexity. Queries are generated on the fly and no manual creation of queries is required. It provides functionality that is a subset of Report Studio with an intuitive and easy user interface.

IBM Cognos 10 BI has introduced IBM Cognos Business Insight and IBM Cognos Business Insight Advanced, which are the two components that can be used to author and view dashboards.

IBM Cognos Business Insight is used to create sophisticated interactive dashboards from the existing content. For instance, assume a user has already created four different reports each catering to sales, marketing, HR, and finance, using Report Studio. Individual sections in these reports can then be used in IBM Cognos Business Insight independently, to create an interactive dashboard. This would mean that the dashboard can have a few charts from the first two reports, and a list and a crosstab from third and fourth reports respectively.

IBM Cognos Business Insight Advanced is used to perform deeper analysis and report authoring where a user can perform more advanced data exploration, such as adding additional measures, conditional formatting, and advanced calculations. This can be thought of as a clipped version of IBM Cognos Report Studio, which is a complex report authoring tool in which queries and calculations can be built.

In this book we will be covering various aspects of IBM Cognos 10 Business Insight and IBM Cognos 10 Business Insight Advanced.

Readers are advised to install and configure IBM Cognos 10 BI and Samples (GO Sales and GO Data Warehouse), provided with the tool installation kit. For detailed installation and configuration instructions, please refer to IBM Cognos 10 BI Installation and Configuration Guide, shipped with the product.

 

Introducing IBM Cognos 10 BI Cognos Connection


In this recipe we will be exploring Cognos Connection, which is the user interface presented to the user when he/she logs in to IBM Cognos 10 BI for the first time.

Note

IBM Cognos 10 BI, once installed and configured, can be accessed through the Web using supported web browsers. For a list of supported web browsers, refer to the Installation and Configuration Guide shipped with the product.

Getting ready

As stated earlier, make sure that IBM Cognos 10 BI is installed and configured. Install and configure the GO Sales and GO Data Warehouse samples. Use the gateway URI to log on to the web interface called Cognos Connection.

How to do it...

To explore Cognos Connection, perform the following steps:

  1. 1. Log on to Cognos Connection using the gateway URI that may be similar to http://<HostName>:<PortNumber>/ibmcognos/cgi-bin/cognos.cgi.

  2. 2. Take note of the Cognos Connection interface. It has the GO Sales and GO Data Warehouse samples visible.

  3. 3. Note the blue-coloured folder icon, shown as in the preceding screenshot. It represents metadata model packages that are published to Cognos Connection using the Cognos Framework Manager tool. These packages have objects that represent business data objects, relationships, and calculations, which can be used to author reports and dashboards.

    Note

    Refer to the book, IBM Cognos TM1 Cookbook by Packt Publishing to learn how to create metadata models packages.

  4. 4. From the toolbar, click on Launch. This will open a menu, showing different studios, each having different functionality, as shown in the following screenshot:

  5. 5. We will use Business Insight and Business Insight Advanced, which are the first two choices in the preceding menu. These are the two components used to create and view dashboards.

    Note

    For other options, refer to the corresponding books by the same publisher. For instance, refer to the book, IBM Cognos 8 Report Studio Cookbook to know more about creating and distributing complex reports. Query Studio and Analysis Studio are meant to provide business users with the facility to slice and dice business data themselves. Event Studio is meant to define business situations and corresponding actions.

  6. 6. Coming back to Cognos Connection, note that a yellow-colored folder icon, which is shown as represents a user-defined folder, which may or may not contain other published metadata model packages, reports, dashboards, and other content. In our case, we have a user-defined folder called Samples. This was created when we installed and configured samples shipped with the product.

    Note

    Click on the New Folder icon, which is represented by , on the toolbar to create a user-defi ned folder. Other options are also visible here, for instance to create a new dashboard.

  7. 7. Click on the user-defined folder—Samples to view its contents, as shown in the following screenshot:

  8. 8. As shown in the preceding screenshot, it has more such folders, each having its own content. The top part of the pane shows the navigation path. Let's navigate deeper into Models | Business Insight Samples to show some sample dashboards, created using IBM Cognos Business Insight, as shown in the following screenshot:

  9. 9. Click on one of these links to view the corresponding dashboard. For instance, click on Sales Dashboard (Interactive) to view the dashboard, as shown in the following screenshot:

  10. 10. The dashboard can also be opened in the authoring tool, which is IBM Cognos Business Insight, in this case by clicking on the icon shown as on extreme right, on Cognos Connection. It will show the same result as shown in the preceding screenshot.

  11. 11. We will see the Business Insight interface in detail later in this chapter.

How it works...

Cognos Connection is the primary user interface that user sees when he/she logs in for the first time. Business data has to be first identified and imported from the metadata model using the Cognos Framework Manager tool. Relationships (inner/outer joins) and calculations are then created, and the resultant metadata model package is published to the IBM Cognos 10 BI Server. This becomes available on Cognos Connection. Users are given access to appropriate studios on Cognos Connection, according to their needs. Analysis, reports, and dashboards are then created and distributed using one of these studios. The preceding sample has used Business Insight, for instance.

Later sections in this chapter will look more into Business Insight and Business Insight Advanced. The next section focuses on the Business Insight interface details from the navigation perspective.

 

Exploring IBM Cognos Business Insight User Interface


In this recipe we will explore IBM Cognos Business Insight User Interface in more detail. We will explore various areas of the UI, each dedicated to perform different actions.

Getting ready

As stated earlier, we will be exploring different sections of Cognos Business Insight. Hence, make sure that IBM Cognos 10 BI installation is open and samples are set up properly. We will start the recipe assuming that the IBM Cognos Connection window is already open on the screen.

How to do it...

To explore IBM Cognos Business Insight User Interface, perform the following steps:

  1. 1. In the IBM Cognos Connection window, navigate to Business Insight Samples, as shown in the following screenshot:

  2. 2. Click on one of the dashboards, for instance Marketing Dashboard to open the dashboard in Business Insight. Different areas are labeled, as shown in the following figure:

  3. 3. The overall layout is termed as Dashboard. The topmost toolbar is called Application bar. The Application bar contains different icons to manage the dashboard as a whole. For instance, we can create, open, e-mail, share, or save the dashboard using one of the icons on the Application bar.

    Note

    The user can explore different icons on the Application bar by hovering the mouse pointer over them. Hovering displays the tooltip, which has a brief but self-explanatory help text.

  4. 4. Similarly, it has a Widget toolbar for every widget, which gets activated when the user clicks on the corresponding widget. When the mouse is focused away from the widget, the Widget toolbar disappears. It has various options, for instance to refresh the widget data, print as PDF, resize to fit content, and so on. It also provides the user with the capability to change the chart type as well as to change the color palette. We will see each of these options in detail when we visit Chapter 2, Business Insight Dashboards. However, all these options have help text associated with them, which is activated on mouse hover.

  5. 5. Content tab and Content pane show the list of objects available on the Cognos Connection. Directory structure on Cognos Connection can be navigated using Content pane and Content tab, and hence, available objects can be added to or removed from the dashboard. The drag-and-drop functionality has been provided as a result of which creating and editing a dashboard has become as simple as moving objects between the Dashboard area and Cognos Connection.

  6. 6. The Toolbox tab displays additional widgets. The Slider Filter and Select Value Filter widgets allow the user to filter report content. The other toolbox widgets allow user to add more report content to the dashboard, such as HTML content, images, RSS feeds, and rich text. We will see all these in more detail when we visit Chapter 2, Business Insight Dashboards.

How it works...

In the preceding section, we have seen basic areas of Business Insight. More than one user can log on to the IBM Cognos 10 BI server, and create various objects on Cognos Connection. These objects include packages, reports, cubes, templates, and statistics to name a few.

These objects can be created using one or more tools available to users. For instance, reports can be created using one of the studios available. Cubes can be created using IBM Cognos TM1 or IBM Cognos Transformer and published on Cognos Connection. Metadata model packages can be created using IBM Cognos Framework Manager and published on Cognos Connection.

These objects can then be dragged, dropped, and formatted as standalone objects in Cognos Business Insight, and hence, dashboards can be created.

The next chapter will explore Cognos Business Insight in more detail and we will actually be exploring the whole idea of creating dashboards using Business Insight and Business Insight Advanced, more deeply.

 

Exploring IBM Cognos Business Insight Advanced User Interface


In this recipe, we will go through the basic user interface provided with IBM Cognos Business Insight Advanced.

Getting ready

A working IBM Cognos 10 BI setup is necessary for this recipe. Install and configure the GO Sales and GO Data Warehouse samples shipped with the product.

How to do it...

To explore IBM Cognos Business Insight Advanced User Interface, perform the following steps:

  1. 1. Navigate to Cognos Connection using the URI, as stated earlier.

  2. 2. Navigate to Public Folders | Samples | Models | Interactive Samples, as shown in the following screenshot:

  3. 3. Click on the icon on the extreme right of the Top 10 Retailers for 2005 entry. It will show multiple actions that can be performed on the report entry. Click on the Open with Business Insight Advanced option to open the report in Business Insight Advanced.

  4. 4. By clicking on the icon, it will open the report in Cognos Report Studio. This report has been created using Cognos Report Studio, which is evident from the icon besides the report name. We want to open this report in Cognos Business Insight Advanced, hence we have clicked on the More... icon.

  5. 5. This will open the report in Business Insight Advanced, as shown in the following figure. Important sections are labeled accordingly:

  6. 6. The Application bar area contains options to manage reports (for instance to create, open, and save a report). General options, for instance to cut, copy, paste, and delete are also provided in the same area. Specific options, which help the user to author and modify reports, are also present in the Application bar area. The same options are provided as icons on Toolbar.

    Note

    Hover the mouse pointer over any of these options to display help text, which is self-explanatory and intuitive.

  7. 7. The Insertable Objects pane displays the metadata model package used to author the report. Components can be dragged-and-dropped from the package to the Report Authoring area.

  8. 8. The Toolbox tab has a list of static objects, which can be used to format the report in a certain way. For instance, a crosstab can be selected, dragged, and dropped to the Report Authoring area to build on the layout of the report.

  9. 9. The Properties window displays all the properties of the object that is currently selected in the Report Authoring area. The user can change properties of the report objects as required.

  10. 10. Click on the icon from the Toolbar area to execute the report. The report will be rendered as HTML, in a new window called IBM Cognos Viewer, as shown in the following screenshot:

  11. 11. Dashboard pages can be designed so that URIs of such reports can be placed in the left-hand side pane. Configurations can be done to display the corresponding output on the right-hand side pane if a user clicks on the corresponding URI on the left-hand side pane.

  12. 12. Such reports can also be directly used while creating dashboards in Cognos Business Insight.

How it works...

Cognos Report Studio has a similar interface to the preceding one, but is used to author more complex reports. Such reports created using Business Insight Advanced and Report Studio can be saved on Cognos Connection. These reports can be distributed to users as dashboards or as management reports.

Individual objects defined in these reports can be used independently in Business Insight to create more sophisticated dashboards. The advantage of such dashboards is that the summary data from various domains and functional areas, which is ready to be viewed in a user-friendly manner, can be collected and presented to users as one executive dashboard.

Going forward, we will focus more on creating the dashboards in the most efficient ways. Tips and relevant information about other related components will be shared throughout the book as and when required.

The next chapter will focus on Cognos Business Insight and some of the best practices in presenting business data to business users.

About the Author

  • Ankit Garg

    Ankit Garg is a software professional having over seven years experience in implementing, designing and managing data warehousing and BI solution for industry leaders. He has catered to multiple clients, spanning various geographies and industry domains. His core skills include the full set of BI & DW domains, which includes ETL, BI, Data Warehousing, and Predictive Analysis. Currently he is involved in doing product R&D and is employed by a software major. The book is the result of his technical experience acquired while implementing planning and budgeting solutions for the industry. You can contact him at [email protected]

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