Post: The New Features of Cognos 10.2.2 That You’ll Care About

One of the many strengths of the IBM Cognos Business Intelligence 10.2.2 release is that it leverages the successful new capabilities introduced in Cognos 10.2.1

We will highlight what for some on the development side may be the most important additions to the already amazing Cognos 10 suite.

Liven Up Your Data

One of the most important principles in report design is making the data come alive for your end user community. Lists and cross tab reports are sometimes required but the key to seeing what is really hidden in your data needs an appropriate visualization. The Rapidly Adaptive Visualization Engine , also known as (RAVE) has delivered this ability! You can deliver insight and understanding with charts that are not only aesthetically appealing but also interactive.

Additionally, previously released versions of Cognos 10.2 included the capability of Automatic Chart Recommendation. With a simple click in the widget toolbar, you give IBM Cognos Workspace the power to analyze your data and suggest the best visualization type to bring the data to life. NEW in IBM Cognos 10.2.2 is the ability to consume additional types of interactive charts including:

  • Polar Area
  • Chord
  • Tornado
  • Combination
  • Marimekko

Chord Chart

Tornado Chart

Combination Chart

Along with these new and innovative chart types, report developers now have the ability to change key property values for a chart and use only the data slots on a chart needed to make the data come alive.

User Enhancements for Active Reports

If the new RAVE visualizations bring the message in your data to life, Active Reports add the magic of interactivity to the data. Released in earlier versions of Cognos 10, Active Reports have become a standard delivery option to business users across the enterprise. New in Cognos 10.2.2 is the capability to interact directly with the charts and have those selections directly drive additional detailed information. Now you can create a completely interactive user experience in a single place!

For the developers of Active Reports, Cognos 10.2.2 provides the ability to deliver an Active Report in HTML format, meaning you can leverage these insights across multiple browser platforms.

Possibly more important to you, as a Cognos developer, is the ability to see the report output as you are developing it. Gone are the days of making a change, creating the output and having to leave Report Studio just to see if the new colored font looks as you expected. You are even able to see a form factor representation of your Active Report directly in Report Studio. Imagine the time savings in development cycles when creating your next Active Report!

Customize User/Group UI

Within Cognos Workspace, the ability to manage several capabilities at a user or group level, has been available for some time. Now administrators can control more than just things like: print, drill up or down on data, add slider controls, or leveraging the widget toolbar. You now have the ability to create a unique user experience for specific groups within your application community.

Also new in Cognos 10.2.2 is the ability to control studio UI elements and control default behaviors including items like Toolbars, Menu Bars, Chart Types and other items. This capability will allow you to create a custom experience based on the specifics of your user community.

Improvements to Dynamic Cubes

Dynamic Cubes, introduced in earlier releases have come into their own. If you haven’t implemented a cube strategy for your applications, now is the perfect time to investigate Dynamic Cubes.

These in memory, blazing-fast data repositories offer another path for providing relevant data to your business users. They are the perfect data source for Workspace and Workspace Advanced applications as well as many standard reports.

Until Cognos 10.2.2, understanding the capacity planning for such a robust, in-memory capability, caused some to shy away. In the Cognos 10.2.2 release that concern is no longer valid. You now have a Cube Designer Hardware Sizing capability. This “sizer” analyzes your dynamic cubes and will make appropriate hardware recommendations based on the average number of anticipated users and an average number of widgets.

Ease Administrative Duties with Multi-tenancy

Multi-tenancy has often been overlooked as something only required if managing Cognos applications to user communities outside of an organization and more for customer facing applications and not internal facing. With the new capabilities added in Cognos 10.2.2, this idea should be re-examined.

Capabilities like Delegated Tenant Administration and Multi-tenancy BoundingSets can ease the administration for multiple applications and allow for a reduction in the number of physical environments.

No longer are administration tasks in the sole domain of System Administrators.  Each environment can have their own Tenant Administrator or a single administrator can manage multiple tenants. Additionally, content which is required for all tenants can now be shared across the ecosystem, again reducing administrative overhead.

If you would like to explore these new features in Cognos, log into and give Cognos 10.2.2 a try!

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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.