Cognos 8 Business Intelligence applications overview

IBM Cognos 8 Business Intelligence combines the features of all previous Cognos products and applications and provides a complete and scalable BI solution for corporate business information management and reporting.
Cognos 8 has a completely different architecture than the previous versions, every component is integrated and in one place and the main and most significant idea is to use one common metadata for all components.

Cognos BI 8 components

IBM Cognos 8 Business Intelligence applications:

  • Query Studio - a tool used for creating basic ad-hoc reports and a lighter version of Report Studio. It allows users to create one 1-page report at a time. Application used by Query Authors and Report Authors.
  • Report Studio - used to create and manage more advanced reports, which are very often standarized and executed periodically and distributed to people in various departments in an organization. Reports can engage dashboards with gauges, charts, maps and other graphical elements with a full drill-through capabilities. Reports designs created in Query Studio can be read and edited in Report Studio (and not the opposite way). Report Studio is used by Report Authors.

  • Analysis Studio - an application to analyze OLAP cubes and explore business data in a multidimensional manner. Large volumes of data can be analyzed through ranking, complex filtering, slicing, dicing and creating custom subsets. Mainly used by business analysts.
  • Metrics Studio - used for scorecarding, helps manage performance by monitoring and analyzing metrics at all levels of an organization. The idea behind it is to put performance indicators next to the organization's key performance measures (red, orange, green status notation) and link them to reports containing related information.
  • Event Studio - a process (an agent) which runs in background and monitors the data and reacts when something ocurrs which may cause a business problem in the future. For instance, if quantity of a product X on stock is less than a given value, event manager can send an email to a responsible person which will contain a warning with the problem description and a link to a cognos report.
    Event studio takes such actions as: generating emails, running reports, updating news channel in a corporate portal or communicating with other software.
    Aside from tracking actual products, it can also be used to monitor services. For example if the number of subscribers in, say, a mobile broadband service exceeds the set capacity, event manager can email the necessary people so the problem could be looked into.
  • Cognos Connection - it is a Web portal for Cognos 8 and a component which interracts with the Content Store. It is a frontend to publish, find, manage, organize, and view organization's business intelligence data.
  • PowerPlay Transformer and PowerPlay (Cognos 8 Business Intelligence Mobile Analysis ) - The Cognos 8 BI Mobile Analysis package is a new name for Cognos 7 PowerPlay applications. In fact, apart from the integration with Cognos 8 packages, there are no major changes since PowerPlay version 7.
    Among others, the package includes the following applications known from Cognos 7 BI:
    - Cognos PowerPlay Series 7 Version 4
    - PowerPlay Connect
    - PowerPlay for Excel
    - Configuration Manager
    - Cognos Scheduler
  • Content Store is a database where the metadata for all the Cognos 8 component is stored and managed centrally.
    Content store can be accessed directly with the Framework Manager.
  • Framework Manager is a Cognos 8 modeling tool for creating and managing business-related metadata for use in all Cognos 8 BI applications. It lets modelers model relational data dimensionally, apply hierarchies to allow drill behavior, apply member functions and query any of the supported data sources (relational database with SQL or OLAP with MDX).
    The main users of Framework manager are data warehouse developers and data modelers. Report authors base on the metadata information set up using Framework Manager when creating new reports.
  • IBM Cognos TM1 (formerly Applix TM1) is a business intelligence solution which provides high-performance analytics, reporting, dashboarding and budgeting capabilities, fully integrated with Microsoft Excel. Thanks to its in-memory engine, TM1 is flexible, scalable and provides a high-performance read/write capability which makes it a great tool for budgeting, planning and controlling.
  • Cognos Analysis for Microsoft Excel (CAFE) provides capabilities around exploration and slice and dice within Excel. It provides such capabilities as the Analysis Studio with its interactivity, but allows users to stay within Excel which very often is a key business requirement.

    Migration from Cognos 7 to Cognos 8

    In order to prepare for a successful migration, it is necessary to realize how the Cognos 8 applications relate to Cognos 7 and earlier products:

  • Query Studio and Report Studio are close to the idea of Cognos Impromptu
  • Analysis Studio is a web based OLAP reporting tool which puts it in the same category as Cognos PowerPlay Web. However, there are still many features missing is Analysis Studio compared to PowerPlay Client and Web. This is why Analysis Studio may be considered as a complementary application to PowerPlay, not its replacement.
    Please refer to the PowerPlay and Analysis Studio comparison for more details.
  • Event Studio is an equivalent to Notice Cast
  • Report Studio in Cognos 8 implements an integrated maps feature which makes it a replacement for Cognos Visualizer
  • Cognos Metric Studio is a replacement for Cognos 7 Metrics Manager
  • Framework manager has the features of Impromptu Administrator. Framework Manager can also be considered in many aspects as an equivalent of PowerPlay Transformer (data source connections, dimensions and measures modeling, hierarchies, drill-down paths etc.).
  • In Cognos 8, the powerplay cubes created with PowerPlay Transformer can be accessed via Query Studio, Report Studio, Analysis Studio and Transformer products. However, each cube needs to be published via Framework Manager first.