I don’t think I’m underselling it to say that the 11.1 release is crucial to IBM and the future of Cognos Analytics. Luckily the hardworking folks up in Ottawa appear to have delivered. In this quick Cognos 11.1 overview I’ll cover the major new features of the release. Also, look forward to a full review of Cognos 11.1 and some guidance on how to modernize your Cognos deployment in the coming weeks.
Reporting updates center on improving the user experience by redesigning navigation and automating the most common layout tasks with drag-and-drop formatting. These enhancements make report creation significantly easier for novice and advanced authors alike while retaining the pixel-perfect flexibility that Cognos professionals demand.
- Dynamic Layout makes layout building, object resizing and styling into an easy drag-and-drop process
- Redesigned breadcrumb-based navigation is much improved
- Lock the dynamic toolbar to the top of the reporting screen for easier interaction
- Style building allows you to easily create and re-use style properties across reports
- Client-side visualizations improve performance, interactivity for report users
- Data is retrieved from the database and stored client side – no more re-query for every filter change
- Contextual data can be added to a visualization, which allows more advanced filters.
Dashboards receive a ton of attention in Cognos Analytics 11.1, knocking off many of the most requested enhancements, greatly improving customizability and integrating new AI and advanced analytics capabilities. These changes turn what was already a very capable self-service data discovery and visualization suite into a powerful, easy to use AI enhanced insight engine that end users will love.
- Custom color palettes!
- New ‘insights’ capability automatically highlights outliers, shows average values and other interesting statistical information
- Upgraded layout options, such as absolute or relative positioning and snap to grid or object.
- New visualizations including:
- Bullet chart
- Decision Tree
- Driver analysis
- Enhanced visualization customization, including ability to change fonts and axis labels
- Enhance integration with Stories & improved Stories features
- Individual visualization data available in data tray
- Share visualizations or whole dashboards directly to Slack
Cognos Analytics 11.1 significantly modernizes and enhances the Data Modules, Data Sets and uploaded file capabilities of Cognos, with a focus on making data management easier and more performant. Data Modules in particular receive a host of data modeling and blending features that meet or exceed the capabilities of Framework Manager in almost every respect.
- Data Module enhancements:
- New expression editor including comment formatting, type-ahead functions
- Create table copies, views, joined views, unions, intersects and excepts
- Create tables using SQL
- Set data level security
- Set table cache parameters to improve performance
- Set ‘column dependency’ to handle multi-fact grain mismatch
- Overwrite default column formats
- Split columns
- Create relative time calculations (see Relative Time for more info)
- Data Set enhancements:
- New data set query processing engine improves performance
- Uploaded File enhancements:
- New uploaded file query processing engine improves performance
- Support for multi-tab spreadsheets
- Ability to append or replace uploaded files
- New upload interface
Admin and Architecture Changes
Admin changes for Cognos Analytics 11.1 focus on two areas: Migrating functionality from the Cognos 10 Administration screen to the Cognos 11 Manage menu, and adding new administration functionality. These enhancements make Cognos easier to govern and provide features like user and distribution list management that used to require outside software.
- Ability to define palettes via Manage menu and use them in ANY Cognos studio
- Create distribution lists directly within Cognos
- Redesigned job interface
- Simplified routing rule management
The AI assistant is one of the major new features of Cognos 11.1. accessible from Dashboards and Explorations, the AI assistant provides a chat-based exploration experience designed to quickly uncover relationships and statistical anomalies within data and automatically build visualizations for use in Cognos.
- Search Cognos for data related to specific topics
- Receive descriptive and statistical information about columns within data sources
- Uncover what drives the values of any individual column
- Automatically visualize via text input
Explore, the most exciting new feature of Cognos Analytics 11.1, brings the automatic insights, easy visualization and natural language query capabilities of the now deprecated Watson Analytics into Cognos. A new Exploration will automatically suggest starting points for analysis, visualize relationships in your data, provide key driver analysis and surface interesting visualizations.
- Relationship model highlights connections between fields in the data
- Suggested starting points make analysis easy
- Key driver analysis uncovers the factors that influence important fields
- System generated text describe underlying insights in the data
- Related visualizations surfaced based on statistics and likely value
- Comparison cards narrate the difference between any two visualizations
- Export insight to Cognos Analytics Dashboards
I hope this Cognos 11.1 overview has been helpful, and I hope you’re impressed with what you’ve seen so far – though I’ve only scratched the surface here. If you’re struggling to understand how to implement these new features, I’ve got a post coming up next week that will help. And as always, reach out to me directly with any questions!