The release of Cognos Analytics 11.0.7 has been eagerly anticipated.

The last release (R6) in March introduced a plethora of new functionality and features, including OLAP support for dashboards, and TM1 / Planning Analytics integration… More than enough to win accolades and persuade many hardened BI users to make the switch.

So we’ve been excitedly waiting for Cognos Analytics R7 to see what new goodies would be in store. And wait we did… But, at the tail end of last week, IBM made the new release available.

Cognos Analytics 11.0.7

Perhaps the first thing we noticed in R7 is the new look and feel. While it’s not a million miles from previous versions, the new live tile welcome screen and easier navigation functionality is a welcome addition.

Taking some of the Watson Analytics design aesthetics and merging them into Cognos Analytics also makes the product look slick and it’s great to see the two parts of IBM sharing design and UI ideas.

Cognos Analytics 11.0.7 R7 newportalui

For the eagle eyed Cognos Analytics users that have upgraded from previous versions, you will notice a new report parameter menu option in which an administrator can allocate commonly used user parameters for report filtering – a great way to make the lives of your end user reporting population a lot easier.

  • New live tiles on the default welcome screen
  • Some navigate folder improvements
  • Sort folder content by name, date etc
  • New Home icon
  • User parameters – new admin feature that allows you define user parameters and apply these to users and the reports commonly used.

Reporting

In previous versions we saw lots of new functionality appear in the dashboarding module, but not much in the traditional report authoring world. In this release we see the innovation and integration of Mapbox brought into reports. Now, before you get too excited, there are a few obvious caveats (mapping in HTML reports only and limited functionality), but in this release we see a new mapping visualisation that report authors can use to plot geographic data similar to the dashboard mapping.

Cognos Analytics 11.0.7 R7 ReportMapping

Other features that have returned from previous versions are ‘view as tabular data’, open active reports within the standard portal UI (not a separate window like in previous versions). We also see a cool new performance stats option when running reports. Enabling performance stats will allow you see valuable runtime stats to understand long running / expensive queries and to understand where queries can be reused to help improve report execution times.

  • New map visualisation (similar to the Mapbox functionality in dashboards) – a new client side report render of maps.
  • New filters functionality enhances ad-hoc filtering inside reports
  • Navigation paths can now be accessed inside reports
  • Drill improvements
  • Active reports now open like a normal report (not in separate window) – easier to download active reports too
  • New run options on reports – you can now enable performance stats such as execution times to see how your reports perform
  • View tabular data – was in Cognos 10; welcomed in Cognos Analytics

Mapping

In previous versions we saw the new Mapbox and Pitney Bowes integration improve the way we visualise geo and location data inside of dashboards. Unfortunately, for some of our clients in the UK, we saw some location mapping issues around certain areas. (We worked closely with IBM to identify this issue and release an interim fix pack for R6.) R7 sees changes to how the mapping functionality aliases location data better… but we’ll be putting it through its pace to find out.

  • Improved mapping aliasing in this release
  • Smarter mapping engine improvements

Dashboarding

In this release we see some slight UI changes in the form of a merged images, shapes and media toolbar and the pinned content toolbar relocated to help users maintain and access content easier.

Some dashboard visualisations have had some great improvements, like being able to group measures on charts, repeater rows and columns, show values on columns, and custom top & bottom filters.

Cognos Analytics 11.0.7 R7 DashboardEnhacements

A new filter bar inside of dashboards allows you to declutter your dashboard from inside list filters, helping you to free up valuable dashboard real estate. Creating calculations inside dashboards have also had a slight UI improvement to align to other parts of the product.

  • New filter bar for dashboards (similar to Watson Analytics)
  • Shapes and media content have been brought together in a single menu bar
  • Pinned content has also moved to improve UI look and feel
  • New visualisation support for repeater columns and rows
  • New measures groups functionality for dashboard visualisations
  • Show value labels – a welcome addition to a common viz requirement
  • Creating calculations & defining expressions has been made easier
  • Top & Bottom values – improved / extended to allow custom top & bottom values on X and Y axis

Storytelling

Again some nice UI and UX improvements that allow easier access to image, shapes and icons and a new auto-sizing of text content which animates nicely when moving between different slides in your storyboard.

  • New Image library to access common objects
  • Auto sizing of text content
  • Animated paths between slides

Data modules

Some UI changes to allow users to view tabular views of data rather than the traditional relationship view. Creating calculations and filters again have been improved to make these tasks easier.

  • UI changes to show default tabular views of data
  • Creation of calculations and filters have also had a UI change to help improve interactivity

Everything else

There are some great new data source improvements in this release. Planning Analytics (TM1) as a data source has been improved, allowing you to better create a new data source via the new data admin console. Also in this release we see the ability to report and dashboard against cubes that contain text measures. Having spoken to a lot of our TM1 customers, this is a new feature that’s in demand.

Cognos Powerplay users have not been left behind in this release – with a new version of Powerplay v11 and Transformer v11. Whilst nothing has changed in these ever-popular tools it’s nice to see conformance for windows 10 and inclusion of this fantastic analysis tool. For customers still using Powerplay this could be time to check out Cognos Analytics and explore all the new features it has to offer!

Some new support for OPENid security providers allows users to integrate with cloud-based security providers such as Azure, Google, Salesforce, Okta etc. This affirms the direction of IBM, both on premise and cloud.

Finally, for the Cognos admin, there is a nice new logging capability that allows administrators the ability to turn on and off various logging options from within the Cognos admin console rather than wade through various configuration files and timely Cognos server restarts.

  • Planning Analytics data source integration improvements, easier to create a data connection via admin console
  • Ability to use text measures in crosstab
  • Ability to use PA data source in a data module
  • New datasources for Presto, MemSQL, MSAS 2016
  • Powerplay 11 – !!! – huge news for older Cognos customers !!!…. new Powerplay 11 client and Transformer 11
  • OPENID – security provider support. You can now integrate Azure, Google, Salesforce, Okta etc. into Cognos Analytics
  • New logging functionality in admin console – ability to turn on logging from within admin console rather than via config files.
  • Cleaned up security roles for new installations (aligning to the more simplified Cognos Analytics roles).
  • Installation improvement – easier to install without forced content manager requirement.

I’m really impressed by this release. It brings some welcome improvements for new and old Cognos customers alike.

I’d be keen to hear any feedback from anyone on this release.

Get in touch with the Barrachd team for more Cognos Analytics advice. Or join us on 10 October in Edinburgh at our Cognos User Group, for more Cognos Analytics experiences, knowledge and chat…

Previous Releases

Cognos Analytics 11.0.6 – find out more.

Congos Analytics 11.0.5 – find out more.

Cognos Analytics 11.0.4 – find out more.

(See IBM’s notes on the new release here.)

 

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Posted in BI, Cognos, Cognos Analytics On August 28, 2017 By