IBM Cognos Review

Self-service is possible through the use of dashboards, which are very intuitive

What is our primary use case?

New project to leverage enterprise-wide reporting and analytics. Serving as a standard report and application needs as well as any self-service BI needs.

Numerous large data sets (more than 150 MIO records) are in the data warehouse, self-service BI required (self-serve analysis), Netezza as back-end and Cognos Analytics 11 as front-end.

How has it helped my organization?

  • Extremely fast solution using IBM Cognos Dynamic Cubes. Aggregate aware querying providing a fast-on-fast solution (in combo with Netezza). In addition, the interactive viewer of Cognos Analytics and dashboards provide for a unprecedented experience of key users with their data, enabling them to change visualizations on the fly, applying different sorts, filters, etc. This enables them to do further analysis than what is possible with a predefined application.
  • Using custom controls, it is possible to extend the application with even more functionality and make the application intuitive and attractive.
  • Integration with Office can enable the 'download' mode of storytelling.
  • Self-service is possible through the use of dashboards, which are also very intuitive. Stories can be used to pin snapshots, tell the story for meetings, etc.

What is most valuable?

  • Dynamic Cubes provide fast analytics through aggregate awareness querying on aggregate, fact tables.
  • Dashboards providing an easy interface to build interactive dashboards. 
  • Watson Analytics suggests visualizations, which helps users to build visualizations for data exploration.
  • Mapbox integration for geospatial analytics down to longitude/latitude layers.
  • Interactive viewer enabling live interaction with standard reports, filtering, sorting, changing visualizations, etc.

What needs improvement?

  • Extending features on dashboards so it becomes a real dashboard building application, not only a data exploration tool.
  • Extending dynamic cubes aggregate awareness with calculated measures (also being aggregate aware).

For how long have I used the solution?

Less than one year.

What other advice do I have?

Response times should fall in seconds, not minutes. Visualizations should be strong. System should be capable of guiding users in their data exploration.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
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