Reports Designed with a Purpose – To Help Answer the Specific Questions Users Have
All of the MotioCI reports were recently redesigned with one goal in mind — each report should be able to answer a specific question or questions that a user in a specific business role might have. We tried to put ourselves in the shoes of users and put on our thinking cap. We asked ourselves, “What are the tasks of the key groups of users of Cognos and MotioCI?” “How do they use MotioCI?” “What questions might they ask related to their function within their organization?” And, lastly, “How can we help make their job easier by providing answers to those questions?”
As of MotioCI 3.2.11, there are now over 70 Cognos reports that come bundled with the application. They are published in 7 fairly self-descriptive folders: Admin, Documentation, Inventory and Reduction, Motio Labs, Promotion, Testing and Version Control.
We think there are key roles within each organization that use MotioCI. They may have different job titles between organizations, but they tend to fall into these broad groups.
- Project Managers
- QA Testing team
- Business Analysts
- Report Developers
Project Managers are often called on to oversee discrete efforts related to the development of Cognos Analytics reports, or to an upgrade of the application. To manage a project, users in this role need to see an overview or summary of recent activity related to the project. Most of the reports for this role are found under the Testing folder. Some of the reports are specific to managing Cognos Analytics upgrade projects. Other reports provide summary information on the test results of a MotioCI project, or compare results across projects or instances.
- Test Results Instance Comparison by Project Summary – Crosstab summary of Test Result Status by Project and Instance.
- Upgrade Project Burn-down Report – Cognos Upgrade Project Tracker. Plots Test Result Failures over the course of the project with calculated trendline projection.
- Upgrade Project Test Results Comparison – Comparison of Test Results of MotioCI Projects within the Upgrade Project. Provides additional detail to support the Upgrade Project Burn-down Report.
Executives and Managers
The CIO, Business Directors, and Managers are interested in the big picture. Often they need to build a business case for the on-going use and maintenance of Cognos Analytics. Pieces to the puzzle of building a strong business case and defending the value proposition may include the number of Cognos items under version control, the number of users using Cognos Analytics, and trends in usage. Reports with this information (and more) are found under the Admin folder, as well as, the Inventory and Reduction folder and Version Control folder.
- Inventory Summary report provides a useful dashboard summary of objects in a Cognos instance.
- MotioCI Timeline Trends – Seven different charts; Users and Number of Events by Day of Week, Month of Year and Year; Action Type and Number of Events by Day of Week, Month and Year; Action Type and Number of Events by Year, Month
- Versioned Items by Type – Cognos Versioned Items with Display Name, Path, Type, Version, and Size.
Cognos System Administrators manage the reporting environment, which includes security and access to the Cognos Analytics application. It also includes managing capacity and, sometimes, providing support to other users. Reports under the Admin folder provide insight into system processes.
- Active Worker Processes – Current active Worker Processes and, if Testing activity, Project and Test Case. Also shows PID to tie to Server Process Identifier.
- Dispatcher Properties Comparison – Side-by-side comparison of properties of system dispatchers. Another example of a report which shows a valuable snapshot of information which is impossible to get anywhere else..
- Locked Items – Currently locked reports and files. If a user does not check in a report when they are done editing, a lock will remain on the report and other users will not be able to edit it. This report allows the administrator to view which reports are locked in case additional action is required.
Administrators may often be responsible for promoting reports between environments. As such, reports in the Promotion folder provide information on Promotion Results and comparing the content between Cognos instances. In most organizations, it is critical that reports are developed in the Development environment, tested in the QA environment and presented to the public in the Production environment.
- Reports Instance Comparison – Comparison of report name, location and version between 2 environments.
- Reports Promoted with no Successful Test Results – will help identify reports which may have somehow bypassed the mandated process of testing all reports before they are promoted..
- Reports Promoted with no Tickets -.Reports which have been promoted, but do not have an associated external ticket reference in the comments on the source object. This report helps validate that internal processes have been followed.
Administrators may also be involved in the technical aspects of an upgrade and the prework in preparation for the upgrade. Reports in the Inventory folder document pending and completed reductions done in preparation for an upgrade.
- Reduction Group – List of Inventory Reduction Groups with drill-through to additional detail.
- Reduction – List of Inventory reductions with drill-through to cascaded detail of files reduced.
- Reduction Details – Lists the lowest level of Reduction Details.
The QA Testing team is responsible for evaluating reports after they have been created and before they are put into production. All of the reports in the Testing folder may be useful. This team may need more detail on the failures of Test Cases than, say, a Manager, or Project Manager.
- Test Results Failure Detail – Lists details on four tabs of CI testing failures: 1) Validation Failures, 2) Execution Failures, 3) Assertion Failures and 4) Assertion Step Failures.
- Assertion Results – Status of Assertion Results by Assertion for Versioned Items within a specified time range.
- Assertion Definitions – .MotioCI Assertions and, optionally, Assertion Types, Assertion Components and full help. Can be used to see what Assertions are in the system, where custom assertions are and information on which Assertions can be used for testing.
Business Analysts may play a role in defining and documenting the requirements for a report. Reports in the Documentation folder provide a starting point for documentation of reports and other Cognos objects with detailed, technical documentation.
- Report Documentation – Documents all report queries and data items in a report.
- FM Complete Reference – Documents all domains of a model published as a package. If rendered in PDF, Table of Contents allows quick jump to domain of interest.
- Jobs Documentation – Jobs with member Reports. Show which reports are run with each job.
Report Developers are on the frontline creating new reports. Depending on the organization, these may be dedicated authors, or, may be business users. They may find some of the same reports as the QA Testing team helpful in troubleshooting reports and report errors before they hand it off to be tested. Reports in the Documentation folder may also be helpful in providing information on report standards and conventions, data item definitions and calculations. Reports in the Version Control folder provide summary and detailed information on recently edited reports.
- Data Item Lookup, will help find where else in the report catalog a particular field is used so that consistency is maintained.
- Test Results – Test Case Results Result Message Details
- Reports Edited Recently – Key data on reports which have been edited recently to help you find a specific report.
How to get started
How can you find the reports to help you do your job?
- Begin at the beginning. Install MotioCI. Publish the MotioCI reports. The details are in the User Guide, but you’ll find a Publish button on the Cognos Instance Settings tab for a Cognos instance in MotioCI. You’ll also need to set up a data source connection to point to the MotioCI database.
- Start by exploring the report listed above under your project role.
- Dive deeper by running the Report Descriptions report which lists all reports and their descriptions.
Report Descriptions report
The Report Descriptions report in the MotioCI Reports > Documentation folder lists all included MotioCI reports along with a short summary of each. With the Report Descriptions report, you can view a list of all the prebuilt Cognos reports that are included with MotioCI. The reports are listed by name and folder. The list includes a short summary of each report, alongside information about the owner, last update, package, locales, and prompts. If new reports are added in a future version of MotioCI, they will be included in Report Descriptions, with the following caveat: The Report Descriptions report requires the Report Descriptions assertion to have been run on the reports it is documenting. To add test cases with the Report Descriptions assertion to the reports, follow the steps in the User Guide under Configuring MotioCI to automatically generate test cases.
Because this report relies on an assertion to gather the data, the results are not limited to MotioCI reports. You can use the report to take inventory of any or all of the reports you have developed in Cognos. Just make sure that the Report Descriptions assertion has been run on the reports that you would like to include and select the appropriate Cognos Instance and Project from the report prompts.
Note: to take advantage of this report, you will need a MotioCI Testing license to run the required assertion and test case.
Cognos Instance and Project are required prompts. The Instance radio button prompt is limited to a single value. You must select one or more values from the Project checkbox prompt.
A portion of the first page of the Report Descriptions Report.
MotioCI is an indispensable tool which extends and simplifies the capabilities of Cognos Analytics. Because of the depth and breadth of data captured in MotioCI on your Cognos environments, it’s sometimes hard to find the signal through the noise, The MotioCI reports have been designed to do exactly that. These reports may very well make MotioCI more valuable and help you do your job better.