ReportCard

ReportCard takes the guesswork out of Cognos performance issues.

Overview

You Can’t Always Fix Unknown Problems With Band-Aid Solutions
You’re facing a performance issue and you’ve tried all the usual fixes and standard recommendations (wondering what those are? Click HERE to learn from IBM’s Martin Keller). You’ve faced problems before but this time it’s different. This time the issue just won’t go away. IBM support told you one thing, your DBA told you another, the armchair advisors have all failed, and you’ve already ventured down an endless rabbit hole on Google. What you thought would be a simple solution has turned out not to be a quick fix whatsoever. Everyone has their good intentions but how do you know if any of their suggestions will even result in any sort of improvement?
Of course you could use the “trial and error” approach and methodically change one piece at a time but that would take FOREVER. But what if there was a way to take those suggested solutions and immediately verify if they solved the problem or not? A way to easily pinpoint the issue while quickly eliminating the solutions that didn’t work.
But…Do We Even Have A Problem?
Even the ancient Greeks knew “the only constant in life is change”. Thanks Heraclitus. Now whether that change is a new data warehouse or infrastructure, going from Teradata to Snowflake, Hadoop to Delta Lake, or even moving to the Cognos Cloud, the same rules apply. And while you might work great under pressure, that doesn’t guarantee that your system will. You have to know the impact of what these changes are and the best way to do that is to put stress on your system through repeatable actions.

Features

The Next Step In Your Approach
Cognos Performance issues are a lot like a new car. When you first buy it, you’re not worried about the battery at all. The first time the car battery dies, of course you can just jump it and keep going about your business, but what happens when the battery dies that second and third time? The point is, there’s no need to worry when you already know the limitations of your system and have a way to accurately monitor it.
Better To Be Safe Than Sorry

ReportCard won’t give you psychic abilities to predict if and when things will happen (we wish), but it will help you spot future problems before they occur. Some problems may come and go. Honestly, some may never occur again. But what happens when that once in awhile “we’ll worry about it later” issue becomes more persistent? Or even more permanent?

With ReportCard we change “What If” to “That’s Why” by giving you the ability to:

And in the Cloud, you have even less control, leaving you more vulnerable to various problem areas such as:
Fixing The Problem Doesn’t Always Fix The Cause
You’ve applied multiple solutions to no avail and it feels like you’ve done all that hard work for nothing. Instead of throwing multiple solutions against the wall to see what sticks, you can use ReportCard to get to the source of the problem without wasting time.
Quit Guessing Why Your System’s Stressing

The answer is easy: Use your system, not some fictitious data.

With ReportCard you can treat your problems like guidelines instead of stop signs by:

Generic Load Testing Tools Lead To A Dead End

With tools like LoadRunner or Jmeter you’ll have to spend tons of time setting up the scripts you need to use. Not to mention the extensive knowledge required to use those tools and execute Cognos reports with different parameter sets. And don’t forget, you can’t use real or actual activity data either. With ReportCard we’ve taken all that complexity away. You choose the reports and parameters and we’ll do the rest. ReportCard can even use Cognos audit data to come up with a real-world load test.

Real-World Solutions Need Real-World Scenarios
Easily Recreate Real-World Test Scenarios When:
ReportCard Quickly Identifies The Problem And Leads To Solutions

ReportCard, IBM’s chosen tool is the one to use. Why? Because it seamlessly integrates with Cognos and can simulate actual user behavior, excluding possible culprits and helping you get to the root of the problem.

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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.