trouble shoting

Post: Instant Replay for Cognos Troubleshooting

Instant replay has revolutionized the way we consume entertainment. Was his foot in bounds when he made that catch? Let’s timeout and consult the zoom lens! Wait, what did she say? Rewind and play that scene again! Did you really run a red light? Time to fire up the dash cam. Instant replay brings clarity to a previously unclear situation that we’ve learned to depend on.

But, can instant replay work to your advantage at the office (or remote office?) What if we could re-play any moment that happened during the day? You could re-watch Maria’s presentation countless times or see that Joe, in fact, did not take the last La Croix from the fridge. But let’s go one step deeper. How could an instant replay affect your Cognos environment?

Have you ever experienced the chill that comes with learning that your Cognos production environment has gone down? How can you ensure that the environment won’t go down, or run more slowly, or have any other issues again? Well… you can’t. But with ReportCard’s System Monitoring feature, you can replay the events that led up to an issue immediately with the click of a button.

By replaying the issue, you can both understand what caused it and also learn how to prevent similar issues in the future. ReportCard’s System Monitoring lets you replay the events in a sandbox, so you can try different ideas until you find what works.

If your system is slowing down or breaking too often (and honestly, even breaking once is too much) there’s likely a recurring reason. By uncovering what caused the system to go down, you can create measures to ensure that it does not happen again. You can learn the most frequent cause of your issues, have ReportCard test them in the background, and give you an idea of how Cognos will react. For example, if you plan on hiring 20 new Cognos report authors, how will your current system handle the new testing load? How will Cognos react for a retail company on Black Friday or Boxing Day?

ReportCard tests the system in the background, based on your specific parameters, to provide you with an idea of what Cognos can handle and what factors will likely result in it breaking. Once you have a solution, apply it to your Production environment and relax.

Now you can apply an instant replay gratification to your Cognos environment. Without the NFL hold music.

Do you want to learn more about ReportCard or talk to a Motio sales rep? Fill out the contact us form!

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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.