Cognos 10 new features

Every tool, regardless of its uses, can be improved. Usually, it's only a matter of time for people to upgrade the things, and the question is whether the improvements truly are needed. Time passes by, business evolves, and so do IT systems. The same is with Business Intelligence platforms which Cognos is one of the most common of. Up to now, there is its tenth version released and available for business users.
Is it better than the previous ones? Surely. Is it good enough to call it perfect? It depends. Please, spend a while on analyzing Cognos 10 new features and make your own opinion.

What has changed?

Analytics and business questions

Today's organizations' lifecycle depends mostly on a few selected factors. According to the Pareto principle, 20% of factors decide on 80% of company's operating. That's why it's crucial to analyze the most meaningful aspects. Consistently, every Business Intelligence platform should enable its users to focus on what's most important. Cognos 10 introduces numerous innovations, the capabilities to make people's everyday work even easier and more efficient. Basically, the features could be boiled down to three aspects. The first one concerns information aspect, and the matter of easy accessing, viewing, and personalizing. The second one considers the number of information file types, and how Cognos 10 platform supports each of them. Finally, the third aspect is about wider perspectives - tactics and strategies, and how a BI tool can help managers with them.

Self service interface

Most of business users want only to read ready reports that have been prepared for them by someone other. These are the least demanding receivers who don't even care which BI platform they use. Nevertheless, there also is quite a populous group that consists of users who pay attention to functionalities. Strictly for them the new interface of Cognos have been prepared. What are its best features?

Easy to use reports

The lion's share of problems with report consumption is connected with the fact that reports are not being prepared by their addressees. Moreover, the end users know only how to open a report and how to introduce the most minor changes, like data sorting. Unfortunately, in today's business it's not enough. That's why Cognos 10 provides reports' end users with improved capabilities for report editing. They no longer need to ask report designers for the simplest changes. Now they can personally do what they want, change report's dimension, form, and point of view. It saves a lot of time, after all. And the cost also is not meaningless.

Basically, users can now modify the layout of dashboard elements, influence on data format, activate menus with the mouse, and integrate with Business Insight Advanced.


Operating on particular data not always is suggested. Often, it takes too much time and doesn't lead to proper conclusions - it's difficult to quickly discover company's situation basing only on details of each operation. That's why it's paid so much attention to statistical insight in Cognos 10.

While it's all about the efficiency, IBM Cognos Statistics (based on the SPSS platform) enables its users to control the statistical process. Its efficiency, regularity, and time consumption. Furthermore, the application provides key statistical tests to let decision makers verify their conclusions and assumptions. Finally, Cognos Statistics enables a multidimensional insight into the shape of data.

Report Studio

Report Studio has always been one of the best tools for report authoring, and this opinion isn't going to change after the last version is released. What IBM has focused on with improvements is enriching Studio capabilities and accelerating the whole authoring process what makes report preparing even easier and faster.

The charts

It's not possible to overrate the role of charts. They're the best method for presenting information in easily understandable and transparent way, therefore it's not surprising Cognos 10 improvements in case of Report Studio have been focused on the charts.

User interface

The easiest tool usually is the best, and that's why weight was attached to Report Studio user interface. With the newest version users can move the Properties and Insertable Objects to the right side of work area what would make it similar to interfaces known from Business Insight and Business Insight Advanced.

Numerous things require clicking on one button to be inserted. So is with diverse charts (chart button), individual members and members with children buttons, and more. It also is a matter of one click to switch the view from full data tree to dimensional data tree and back if the report depends on differentiated sources of data. Finally, if it's needed to get back to primary form of the report, there is a single button to remove all enabled filtering options.

Too much of buttons? It might seem so, and that's why the tooltips have got expanded - learning new interface isn't problematic due to easily accessible explanations of what each button is supposed to do.

Other improvements to Report Studio

The Report Studio is a tool of extremely wide uses, therefore the improvements couldn't have considered only the categories listed above. Other changes facilitating report authoring are as follows:

Business Intelligence

The most significant drawback of numerous reports is the fact they're passive. Modifying them requires usually engaging IT specialists, what's not only inefficient, but also expensive and time consuming. New Cognos Report Studio allows its users to create active reports which are easy to modify and operate on.

The improvements include:

Ease of accessibility

Today's systems need to be as user friendly as possible. Would you consider Stephen Hawking worse just because of his disability? Does it influence on his mind? No, it's not. His disability didn't stop him from being one of the most intelligent people of the world. Cognos 10 cares about all users, regardless of their abilities and disabilities. That's why attention have been paid to numerous facilitations. If it's needed to navigate within the report, it' no longer is a must to use a mouse. Equally well, it can be done with keyboard arrows. Significant changes consider the visual aspect of reports, too. Formerly, the thing was to make as much information as possible visible on a screen at once. These days, the font size, contrast, and so on can be quickly increased, so that even people with disabilities have no problem with reading the reports. The facilitations include:

Workflow and Business Intelligence

If there was more time for every task, the whole business would be meaningfully easier. While there's not, the thing is to make every decision as efficient as possible. Reduce the time needed for each of tasks, and never engage more people than it truly is required. Diverse Business Intelligence solutions have been designed to let business users increase their businesses' efficiency to maximum, and so is in case of IBM Cognos 10.

Information is crucial part in business, what makes it the thing which every BI solution needs to go turn around. Cognos 10 better than ever before facilitates the correlation between people, information, and another people. Such a net allows managers to make responsible decisions as quickly as possible. Nonetheless, the timeliness hardly ever is everything - decision's credibility also is important, and connected strictly with information. Cognos 10 provides all groups of users with the same, transparent and accountable data to understand what's going on across different departments of enterprise. Knowing exactly where data comes from let people save a lot of time, which - otherwise - they would spend on asking additional questions about data itself instead of thinking about how to make profits out of it. Finally, Cognos 10 facilitates the communication among users capabilities - this way, the whole operating gets easier and easier what impinges on management efficiency.

Co-working capabilities

The more people think about decision, the bigger is the chance to make it reasonably. However, sometimes working in teams happens to be problematic - takes a lot of time, and requires doing numerous collateral things which have nothing in common with the project itself. Cognos 10 provides twofold capabilities for facilitating the team work:

IBM Lotus Connections

IBM Lotus Connections is a tool more and more often used for team work. By enabling numerous modern capabilities, the tool's efficiency has grown enough to make Connections a strong element in BI. Cognos 10 dashboard allows its users to quickly turn to Lotus Connections, and - further - operate using web based technologies. What's thought to be IBM Lotus Connections best sides are communication capabilities: one can there set up profiles, join each community, prepare blogs, share documents and other files, and - what's quite a useful invention, these days - create wiki pages.

Data lineage support

IBM Cognos Lineage Viewer and IBM InfoSphere Metadata Workbench no longer need to interrupt themselves - Cognos 10 provides its users with efficient capabilities of working with both of them at once. This way, it's possible to use the strongest parts of each tool, and make them agree to gain even better results.

In this way finally the IBM leading business intelligence products, cognos and datastage are integrated.

Everywhere analytics

The role of analytics in today's business is not to be overrated. Cognos 10 follows the newest tendencies and support mobile and real-time analytics. It also supports integration processes and provide inform business processes.

IBM Cognos Mobile

Today's managers more and more often get out of their offices, and that's why the need improved mobile communication capabilities. IBM Cognos Mobile can now support iPhone, iPad and BlackBerry devices.

Furthermore, IBM Cognos Mobile works well with Business Insight, and provide bettered prompting. Finally, drilling up and down also is not a big problem, after all.

Event management

In case of event management, a few things have changed. Basically, event authors now have more possibilities than before what allows them to control more aspects of the event, beginning with the easiness of configuring the tasks which even is going to consist of. Additionally, the Human Task Service supports enhanced event management. What else is worth noticing?

Enterprise analytics

Every enterprise benefits from sudden opportunities, and that's why decision making process needs to be as efficient as possible. It's a must to prepare immediate reports to discover whether the opportunity truly is worth interesting. And this is what IBM Cognos Business Intelligence facilitates in case of analytics.

The improvements consider three aspects of analytics. The first one is model designing which is now significantly accelerated, and followed with workflow driven modeling. The second aspect is performance which has been optimized thank to facilitated in-memory processing. Finally, the upgrade options have been widened what influenced on better life cycle management.


IBM Cognos Framework Manager has been supplied with Model Design Accelerator - a new tool that supports assisted modeling in case of preparing star schema models. Thank to the innovation, even novice users would have no problems with preparing the models.

In memory analytics

In today's business, time is the most important factor, therefore a lot of Cognos 10 enhancements consider the time needed for gaining the results. As a consequence, decision making can be faster and - thereupon - much more efficient, and that's what all BI solutions are being used for, after all. The improvements consider one meaningful aspect. Performance has been optimized due to a few things:

System Management

Business Intelligence software is being provided to help business users with routine activities that generate a lion's share of time consumption. System management of Cognos 10 accelerates the work due to a few facilitations:

Upgrading from Cognos 8 BI to Cognos 10

Upgrade Manager, known from former versions of Cognos, has now turned into IBM Cognos Lifecycle Manager, and the changes consider not only the name. What's most important, the process of comparing two versions of the same report has got accelerated and simplified. Formerly complicated and time consuming, now it's easy and trouble free. What else has changed?

Support for different versions

Upgrading all the software at the same time might be problematic - it would require break in all system's work, what's not acceptable for all the companies. Due to that, the newest version of Cognos solution allows users to upgrade software stage by stage - it is possible to work with applications of different versions, thereupon the upgrade process can be done exactly when it's comfortable and acceptable for users. Moreover, stage upgrade sometimes is suggested to let employees use to the new software before they're finally left with it.


Data sources are more and more complex, and data volumes bigger and bigger. Thereupon, no one disregards the role of searching capabilities. What's now enabled are search assisted report authoring, searching based on the full data, and search assisted exploration. All these options facilitate searching and make it easy even for the beginners. As a consequence, no special knowledge is needed to turn data into BI information.

Cognos 10 and SAP BW data sources

Cognos 10 and SAP BW cooperation gets better and better as the designers understand how important it is to have both these tools work well together. That's why creating personal packages for SAP data sources is now possible. Also, prompting for SAP Business Warehouse has improved, while the time-dependent hierarchies allow to reflect the structure of introduced changes.

Report naming

Report naming isn't the crucial aspect of report authoring, nonetheless the improvements consider even such illusorily collateral aspects. While saving report in any of export formats, Cognos 10 automatically uses its original name as new file's name. It's a detail that could save a lot of time, though.

As it's clearly visible, the modifications are significant, and the new features - meaningful. Are they enough? Many consultants expected that Cognos 10 will be fully based on the TM1 in-memory solution. TM1 integration is still an option, not the standard. Will it happen with the next version of Cognos?