Cognos Analytics

 View Only

Say Yes to Success: Time to Upgrade

By Sherie Wigder posted Thu January 26, 2023 02:03 PM


You’ve lived in the same place for over 20 years, and now it’s time to update the house. It’s a big undertaking. Over the years, you’ve accumulated an enormous number of items that have been shoved in closets and drawers. Things that haven’t seen the light of day in weeks, months, and most likely years. The construction crew cannot start until you are all packed up. What do you do? Where do you begin? How do you make sure you can find what you need? If you’re like me, you ask your most organized friends what they did. After all, they’ve already been through the process and can give you tips to ease the ordeal.

Just like preparing for a remodel, when it comes to upgrading your business intelligence software, there are several essential steps your organization should take to ensure a smooth and successful process. In this blog post, we'll go through our proven methodology for upgrading your software and explain why each step is crucial for a successful upgrade. 

Prepare & Access

When we began to pack up the house, we had to go through everything. We started in the kitchen and moved methodically through each room, pulling out all the items. We had to start with knowing what we had. Similarly, when you upgrade, you must know what is currently in your environment. Here rather than piling everything in the middle of the floor to review, you’ll want to know the number of objects, the usage, complexity, and importance of your analytic assets. By knowing what you have, you can better plan for the upgrade and ensure you're not overlooking any important assets. Unlike in a home remodel,  in IT, risk assessment is critical. In Cognos, particular objects can create issues after a significant change. For example, when you change the query mode to DQM, reports with Native SQL often show errors when run. During upgrades, JavaScript used in prompts or reports can cause issues.

Narrow the Scope

Now that you know what you have, it’s time to begin categorizing. We took our large piles of stuff and sorted them into keep, donate, and trash. When you upgrade your software, it's crucial to clean up your environment. This means removing duplicate reports, unused packages, and disabled users while ensuring you can roll back to an archived version if needed. By narrowing the scope, you'll be able to focus on the most important aspects and minimize the potential for errors. By cleaning up your inventory, you’ll understand how big the upgrade project is. You can mitigate the risk of going over budget, and this should lead to team buy-in to the task at hand.

Use Sandboxes

Our room-by-room method of going through 20 years of collected items meant those items for the kitchen weren’t mixed in with the stuff from the study or bedroom. A key to a successful upgrade is keeping your day-to-day work separate from your project work. Using sandboxes allows you to test in a controlled environment. This ensures that everything is working as expected without disruption to your business. It’s also vital to include representative data in your sandboxes to ensure accuracy. 

Test, Analyze, and Repair Content.

Once we purged our collection of knick-knacks, clothing, toys, and duplicative books (yes this is a thing) you still want to make sure your remodel contains enough storage space. We all know there will be more unwanted gifts, papers and projects saved that you’ll need to put somewhere. Just as you want to make sure you have enough places to put your new purchases, in an upgrade it’s imperative you make sure everything is working as expected. We recommend testing your objects in groups of 100-300. Small batch testing makes it simpler to see what has failed and allows for easier label fixes to manage the process. It also grants the ability for one-click deployment to production and removes the test burdens from your power users. This step gives you a sense of how the upgrade is working for everyone.

Invest in Training

Once your upgrade is complete, it's important to make sure that everyone knows the latest capabilities so they can take full advantage of the improvements. Investing in training will help your team gain the most value from the upgrade. I was so excited to have new ovens once our remodel was complete. But going from the 1970s barely functioning oven to brand new meant reading the manual to understand all the coolest features I could now use (PS It’s been 7 years and I still do not know how to use it to its full extent. There are settings I have never heard of before!)

Use Analytics to Manage the Project

One of the key elements of our remodel was ensuring the contractors stayed on course for the completion. We had daily and weekly conversations about what had been done and what was to come. Any additional days meant more money out of our pockets. The upgrade process can be complex and time-consuming, so it's important to use analytics to manage the project. By utilizing work breakdown charts and out-of-the-box progress reports, you can confirm your project stays on track and is completed on time.

The Big Reveal

We all know a remodel is time-consuming and expensive. However, once you make it through the ordeal it’s as if you bought a new home. It’s fun to use your new gadgets and the frustration of burning your dinner because you don’t know the correct temperature of your oven is a thing of the past. 

Just like a home remodel, we understand upgrading your business intelligence software can be a challenge, but by following these steps, you'll be able to ensure a smooth and successful process. You will not only upgrade your software with confidence. You and your BI teams will be able to uncover the nuggets of data that help your organization stay ahead of the competition. Oh, and you’ll save time and money. This efficiency only increases with future upgrades through streamlined workflows,  turning your upgrade from a project to a task.