BLOG POST: IBM Cognos Analytics 11.5

IBM have done a fantastic job with Cognos Analytics v11.0.5. There is almost too much to list in one post, so whilst I have provided a quick list of the features and functions below, the main purpose of this post is to review what it all means for the average user and what they get out of the new developments.

The most noticeable development is the new mapping capability. There’s been a lot of discussion about this and despite it being the first iteration to include mapping, it seems to be worth the hype. In a few simple clicks, users can create geospatial heatmaps and overlay metric based bubbles, without the need for any scripting. Also available out-of-the-box, is a zoom functionality which drills right down to street level. The really exciting thing is that this is just the first iteration from IBM, so watch this space for further developments in future releases. Combine this with the improvements to charting, such as new visualisations with the ability to zoom in, and you’ve got some incredibly engaging business intelligence.

The improvements that have been made to the modelling capabilities now enable your existing relational FM packages to be used in the new dashboards. This means users can pull in all of those models they’ve become accustomed to over the years for their dashboards. It also allows the user to search for data items, using predefined filters and calculations.

Combine all of this with significant performance improvements, smart new prompts, drill down in dashboards and the ability to theme the interface for groups of users; and you have an incredibly easy to use, immersive platform with a breadth of capabilities far beyond any competitor.

For those of you on Cognos 10, if you weren’t already aware, it’s worth noting that 10 and 10.1 are already out of support, and 10.2 will be out of support from April 2018. See more details here.

I’d say that now is the time to plan in the upgrade.

Key Features and Functions

Dashboards

  • Use relational (DQM) packages.
  • Includes prompted fields, calculations and pre-built filter objects.
  • You can also use the Find functionality when creating a dashboard.
  • Pan and zoom into visualisations.
  • Navigation paths enable drill down – in the latest version, you can use any path, such as drilling from Year, to Month, to Product Group. For instance, this would allow people to see which product groups have been sold the most in a month.
  • Remove the filter from objects on the page.
  • Fixed column and row headers allow moving around crosstabs much easier.

Storytelling

  • Use images for infographics.
  • Slide objects in and out, as well as fade.

Modeling enhancements

  • FM packages in data modules and reusable linked data modules.
  • Be selective with the database schema metadata to search.

Geospatial Analytics

  • First iteration of MapBox functionality.
  • Provides heatmap and measure related bubbles.
  • Users can zoom in and out, even to street level.
  • Drill down and filter other dashboard objects using the map.

Reporting enhancements

  • Visualisations are now updated and included with each release.
  • Updated prompts provide a fresh new modern look and feel; they are also mobile ready.
  • Easily share and embed content in an iFrame or interactive viewer windows.

Role customization

  • Apply different themes and extensions for users based on their role.
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