Your Users Want Their Query Studio

by Feb 29, 2024BI/Analytics, Cognos Analytics0 comments

With the release of IBM Cognos Analytics 12, the long-announced deprecation of Query Studio and Analysis Studio was finally delivered with a version of Cognos Analytics minus those studios. While this should not come as a surprise to most people engaged in the Cognos community, it appears to have been a shock for some end users who are now revolting!

IBM first announced the deprecation of these studios back in 10.2.2, which was released in 2014. At the time, there was much concern about where this capability would land and where those users would go. Over time, we have seen IBM invest in very good UX, apply a focus to newer users and self-service as well, and look to address use cases normally with completed with Query Studio.

The good news is that Query Studio specifications and definitions were always mini specs the Cognos system transformed into the full specifications used for Report Studio (now called Authoring). This means upon going to CA12 all Query Studio assets come forward into Authoring.

What to do about these unhappy users?

Now that we understand no content is lost in going to Cognos Analytics 12 (CA), let’s understand the real impacts to users. I would encourage anyone going to CA12 to understand their organization’s Query Studio asset usage. Things to look for are:

The number of query studio assets

The number of query studio assets accessed in the last 12-18 months

The number of new Query Studio assets created in the last 12-18 months and by whom

The types of containers in the specifications (list, crosstab, chart…etc.)

Identify Query Studio assets containing Prompts

Identify scheduled Query Studio assets

These pieces of data can help to understand your end user usage of Query Studio (QS) and allow you to focus only on currently used content, as well as identify the user groups.

Our first type of user is the one still creating new content in Query Studio. For these users, they should be looking at the wonders of Dashboarding. Honestly this is a huge upgrade for them, it’s very easy to use, the content will be much better looking and while it does have more power it doesn’t get in the way…and it has fancy AI capabilities. Seriously, creating new content in Dashboarding with a little bit of learning is fast and easy.

Our second type of user is the group of users who use Cognos as a data pump with simple lists in Query Studio and the export functionality. These uses should be OK landing in a simplified Authoring environment (a skin for Authoring to reduce the function and complexity) to carry out their exports. If they don’t like seeing the interface, they can look at scheduling these items. Unfortunately, Dashboarding is not an option for these users if they are looking to create new content for exporting, as there are several differences between QS and Dashboarding that remain. Currently, the list object in Dashboarding has a row limit of 1000 show and export. This makes sense as it is a visual tool meant to help find answers vs. a data pump and export tool. The second issue is scheduling of a Dashboard (with or without an export) is not supported. This also makes sense as the design of the dashboard is for visual representation rather than paper presentation or large image crafting.

So, what if Authoring (simplified) and Dashboarding options are being rejected?

If the data pump users are rejecting this, it is time to sit down with them and understand where they are taking this data and why. Alternate delivery methods out of Cognos might help or the users may just need a push into Authoring or Dashboarding. Additionally, they might have just been taking the data to another tool over the last ten years and don’t understand how far Cognos Analytics has really come to address their needs.

If the new content creators reject this, again, we are going to have to understand why, what their preferred environment is, and their use cases. Dashboarding really should be demoed to these users, focusing on the AI, how it really works, and how easy it can be.

The last option for helping users overcome rejecting Cognos Analytics 12 is a little-known capability called Cognos Analytics for Microsoft Office. This provides plugins for Microsoft Office (Word, PowerPoint, and Excel) on Windows Desktop installations that allow you to either pull in content (visuals) or interact with the query stack to pull data directly into Excel.

To wrap this up, yes, Query Studio is gone, but the content lives on. The majority of use cases can be done better now in CA12, and the idea of dumping or freezing Cognos Analytics on an 11 version will only hinder Analytics and BI teams. Don’t underestimate the cost of a migration to another platform or the cost of upgrades between multiple major versions. Users should be looking at the three CA12 options:

  1. Dashboarding with AI.
  2. A Simplified Authoring Experience.
  3. Cognos Analytics for Microsoft Office.

Lastly, administrators should always be understanding what the users are doing and how they are using the system vs. just taking requests. This is the time for them to rise up as Analytics champions and lead the conversations and path forward.