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Post: Discover Performance Issues in your Cognos Environment with MotioPI!

In this follow up to my first post about filters. I am going to briefly talk about number filters in MotioPI Professional. Without further ado, let’s dive into number property filters in MotioPI!

Number Property Filters

What are Number Property Filters

Number Property filters in MotioPI are just what they sound like, filters that act on any numerical property of your content. Examples include, but are not limited to: run duration of a report in seconds, the total number of recipients set on a schedule and the size of an output. I will talk briefly about how to set up a Number Property filter and then show them in action for the three examples I listed above.

Using Number Property Filter

Number Property filters are available on nearly any panel that has filtering enabled in MotioPI. A non-exhaustive list would be: Content Panel, Schedule Panel, Output Panel, Validation Panel, and Schedule Delivery Panel. To use a Number Property filter, click on the filters button just like you would to add any other filter.

  1. Then click on “Number Property” and click add, alternatively, you can double click where you see “Number Property”
  2. Here, you select which property to filter from the dropdown, select which type of range you want to act on, and finally select the number values for your filter. In this specific case, I want to identify reports that store a large number of outputs (let’s say greater than10). These reports may be storing too many outputs, thus cluttering your content store. You may even want to alter the retention policy on these objects later. (You can do that in MotioPI too)!
  3.  Once you have configured your filter press “okay/submit” until you are back on the panel where you created your number filter. Your query is now configured with a number filter. Results will only appear if they match the criteria you just set. Press submit and see the results!
  4. Number Property Filter ExamplesHere are three examples of number property filters that may prove useful for you as a Cognos Ninja.RUN DURATIONThe Run Duration number property can filter the duration of the most recent execution of your report in seconds. This information is extracted for the audit database in your environment. For more information about MotioPI and the audit database you can view our webinar on the topic here.You can use this filter to find reports that are taking a long time to execute in your environment.  For example, a value of 60 will identify reports that take longer than a minute to execute. Whereas, 120 will show reports that take longer than 2 minutes.

    TOTAL RECIPIENTS COUNT

    Total Recipients Count is the sum total of all the various recipients that can be set on a schedule, to, cc, bcc and mobile recipients. This can be very helpful when identifying all the schedules that are sent out to a large number of recipients, or schedules that are sent to no recipients at all.

    For example, this report has 4 recipients, 2 in cc field and 2 in the to field.

Sure enough, it appears when we filter for schedules with 4 total recipients.

KB SIZE

You can filter on the output size of your reports by using the KB size filter in the Output Panel. This filter allows the user to identify large reports in their environment. Large outputs may be candidates for removal in order to clear up space on the content store. Alternatively, if the output is so large it may be an indicator that it was incorrectly constructed. In either case, identifying reports over a certain size can give a Cognos administrator insight into their environment.

THINGS TO BE AWARE OF

  • Avoid commas when writing entering in a number, express one thousand as 1000 instead of 1,000. Periods will be interpreted as a decimal point.
  • If you want MotioPI to identify recently updated content in your Cognos environment. You may need to clear your sessions cache of Cognos content. To clear your cache, press edit -> Clear Cache in the MotioPI menu bar.
  • If a number property you expected to see is absent. Shoot us an email at pi-support@motio.com – There may be an alternative way to accomplish your task, or we may even add in your requested filter!
  • Be very precise with your filters.  If you apply a filter that does not match any of your Cognos content then you will see no results! Even if you filter out most objects in your Content store. MotioPI still needs to check them all to see which objects match your filters.  In other words, adding filters does not noticeably decrease the time it takes to perform a search.

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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.