Post: Cognos Validation – Batch Validation of Cognos Reports

As a Cognos modeler I’m sure many of you have had this experience: After your latest round of model updates, you publish a new version of a package from Framework Manager. This new version of the package accidentally breaks a ton of reports.

Let’s face it – this is pretty easy to do (especially for reports you haven’t thought about in a while).

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could press a button and batch validate all Cognos reports which are associated with this package…?

Well, you’re in luck because MotioPI (the FREE tool for Cognos admins) allows you to batch validate Cognos reports with just a few simple clicks. Here’s how:

1. First launch MotioPI, login to your desired Cognos Environment, and click on the Validation Panel.

MotioPI Cognos validation

2. Now, we’ll select the type of objects we want to validate (in this example, we’ll stick to validation of reports).

MotioPI types of Cognos objects

3. Now we’ll specify which reports we want to validate. Click on the Show Cognos Selector button.

Cognos report validation

4. Select the folders which contain reports we wish to validate, add them to the right and press apply.

Cognos report validation

5. Click the submit button to start the validation process. At this point, MotioPI will go off, query for all Cognos reports which match your selection criteria, and then start validating them. Depending on how many reports you selected, this might take a few minutes (could be a good time to grab that next cup of coffee).

MotioPI query for Cognos reports

6. As the process runs and the reports are validated, the results will show up in the center panel (shown below).

MotioPI run report validation for Cognos

7. For reports which fail validation, you can select the report and view the details in the bottom panel (shown below).

Cognos report validation

Note that you also have Cognos related actions which can be performed on each validated report. These are shown under the “Cognos” columnn in the results table. Examples of these actions include:

  • View the SQL generated by each of the report’s queries
  • Open the report’s properties page in Cognos Connection
  • Open the report’s parent folder in Cognos Connection
  • Launch the report in Report Studio
  • Etc.
    SQL generated by Cognos report query
    That’s about it for batch validation of Cognos reports using MotioPI (pretty easy, right?).

    Advanced usage – custom validation parameters

    Many Cognos reports accept required or optional parameters when executed. For parameterized reports, Cognos will prompt for parameter values during validation.

    Through introspection, MotioPI can determine which parameters a report accepts (as well as the parameter type), and will pass sample parameter values of the correct type during the validation phase. If you’d like more control over the parameter values which are used during the validation phase, then you can point MotioPI at a set of Cognos report views. This is done through the validation preferences, as depicted below:

    1. Open the MotioPI preferences panel, by choosing the Edit -> Preferences menu item
    MotioPI preferences panel

    2. Click on the validation tab, and configure which folder contains the aforementioned report views.
    MotioPI cognos validation tab


    MotioPI, is a free community driven tool for Cognos Admins, Authors and Power Users. Through the support of tools like MotioPI and MotioCI, Motio is firmly committed to improving the efficiency and productivity of Cognos BI teams. If you have ideas for new features you’d like to see in MotioPI, please drop us a line viapi-support AT

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As the BI space evolves, organizations must take into account the bottom line of amassing analytics assets.
The more assets you have, the greater the cost to your business. There are the hard costs of keeping redundant assets, i.e., cloud or server capacity. Accumulating multiple versions of the same visualization not only takes up space, but BI vendors are moving to capacity pricing. Companies now pay more if you have more dashboards, apps, and reports. Earlier, we spoke about dependencies. Keeping redundant assets increases the number of dependencies and therefore the complexity. This comes with a price tag.
The implications of asset failures differ, and the business’s repercussions can be minimal or drastic.
Different industries have distinct regulatory requirements to meet. The impact may be minimal if a report for an end-of-year close has a mislabeled column that the sales or marketing department uses, On the other hand, if a healthcare or financial report does not meet the needs of a HIPPA or SOX compliance report, the company and its C-level suite may face severe penalties and reputational damage. Another example is a report that is shared externally. During an update of the report specs, the low-level security was incorrectly applied, which caused people to have access to personal information.
The complexity of assets influences their likelihood of encountering issues.
The last thing a business wants is for a report or app to fail at a crucial moment. If you know the report is complex and has a lot of dependencies, then the probability of failure caused by IT changes is high. That means a change request should be taken into account. Dependency graphs become important. If it is a straightforward sales report that tells notes by salesperson by account, any changes made do not have the same impact on the report, even if it fails. BI operations should treat these reports differently during change.
Not all reports and dashboards fail the same; some reports may lag, definitions might change, or data accuracy and relevance could wane. Understanding these variations aids in better risk anticipation.

Marketing uses several reports for its campaigns – standard analytic assets often delivered through marketing tools. Finance has very complex reports converted from Excel to BI tools while incorporating different consolidation rules. The marketing reports have a different failure mode than the financial reports. They, therefore, need to be managed differently.

It’s time for the company’s monthly business review. The marketing department proceeds to report on leads acquired per salesperson. Unfortunately, half the team has left the organization, and the data fails to load accurately. While this is an inconvenience for the marketing group, it isn’t detrimental to the business. However, a failure in financial reporting for a human resource consulting firm with 1000s contractors that contains critical and complex calculations about sickness, fees, hours, etc, has major implications and needs to be managed differently.

Acknowledging that assets transition through distinct phases allows for effective management decisions at each stage. As new visualizations are released, the information leads to broad use and adoption.
Think back to the start of the pandemic. COVID dashboards were quickly put together and released to the business, showing pertinent information: how the virus spreads, demographics affected the business and risks, etc. At the time, it was relevant and served its purpose. As we moved past the pandemic, COVID-specific information became obsolete, and reporting is integrated into regular HR reporting.
Reports and dashboards are crafted to deliver valuable insights for stakeholders. Over time, though, the worth of assets changes.
When a company opens its first store in a certain area, there are many elements it needs to understand – other stores in the area, traffic patterns, pricing of products, what products to sell, etc. Once the store is operational for some time, specifics are not as important, and it can adopt the standard reporting. The tailor-made analytic assets become irrelevant and no longer add value to the store manager.