Cognos Analytics

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  • 1.  request suggestions for tool (Report or Dashboard) and techniques for display

    Posted 22 days ago
    Edited by Mike Comiskey 22 days ago

    Hello everyone, I was asked to build a Cognos report or dashboard that would look roughly like this (the yellow lines and red text added by me for description and wouldn't be part of the output): 

    layout of text and measures-bars
    I've worked with Cognos for years now (mostly v10) but I'm less familiar with the dashboard capabilities and limitations.  We're currently on v11.2.4.
    The draft shows headers, and subheaders which correlate to a measure (e.g. % Graduating).  I'd like the subheaders to be a consistent width, all the bar charts to be aligned on the left, and the bar thicknesses/height across the subcategories to be the same.  Also need the value of the measure (for each bar) to show all the time.  
    I've been trying this in Dashboarding but am finding the formatting capabilities limited. I've also been trying this in Reporting visualizations, and even there seem to be missing an eloquent solution. In many ways this display feels pretty basic, so I suspect I'm missing something. As an example, even in Reporting I don't know if there's a way to set the bar thickness at a certain number of pixels.  
    I welcome your suggestions for how best to achieve output like the graphic (pasted above) in Cognos, ideally within the capabilities of the Cognos toolset. Thanks in advance.



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    Mike Comiskey
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  • 2.  RE: request suggestions for tool (Report or Dashboard) and techniques for display
    Best Answer

    IBM Champion
    Posted 22 days ago

    Hi Mike,

    as far as I know you can't control and adjust every single property of elements in dashboards like you can do in reporting. That works as designed.
    A few hints for the dashboard: You can create your sections with the Repeat (row) field.

    The percentage of the individual bars can be set here (properties of the chart):
    I'm not aware that you can adjust the thickness of the bars. You could only hide or show the space between them. If you want to force Cognos to show all chart elements (axis, grid lines, etc.) deactivate "Responsive" in the Chart properties. This helps a bit to draw the chart even on smaller screens.

    You can also take a look at this extension here for further properties in dashboards:

    Additional properties for visualization styling options on dashboards (11.2.0 and above)



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    Robert Dostal
    Team Leader BI
    GEMÜ Gebr. Müller Apparatebau GmbH & Co. KG
    Ingelfingen
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  • 3.  RE: request suggestions for tool (Report or Dashboard) and techniques for display

    IBM Champion
    Posted 22 days ago

    One of the dashboard enhancements I put in to IBM was to control the thickness of bars. If you only have a couple of bars they end up way too thick. And if you have too many bars they end up too small.

    IBM almost has this with the zoom control. If you enable this then you can almost set the thickness of the bars. And then scroll through the chart. This is great feature. Alas the zoom control doesn't remember the state its in. Would be nice if there was a zoom on, and you specify the number of bars you want to see by default.



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    Marc Reed
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  • 4.  RE: request suggestions for tool (Report or Dashboard) and techniques for display

    Posted 20 days ago

    Robert, thank you for your response!
    I was not aware of the "sectioning" capability through the 'Repeat (row)' field. For the situation at hand I'll probably lean into the Reporting approach, but I want to learn all I can about dashboards.



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    Mike Comiskey
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  • 5.  RE: request suggestions for tool (Report or Dashboard) and techniques for display

    IBM Champion
    Posted 22 days ago
    Edited by Marc Reed 21 days ago

    You can get a report to look exactly like that without too much work. As with everything in a report, you can pretty much customise everything...

    Use a list for the main part of the report. Then put a microchart on each row to display the value. The chart has a masterdetail to the list, so that the list can pass in the value you require.

    One advantage a report has is that the size of the bars are fixed. If you had a filter that just displays a few bars, or hundred of bars each would show the same size. Unlike in a dashboard where the size of the overall visual is fixed and hence the bars can sometimes end up too big or too small depending in the number of data items. (Unless you use the zoom control which is a really nice feature but can remember the size from dashboad close to dashboard open)

    The above is quite a common report scenario. To have a list with a microchart representing a value on the list.

    A beginner report author would have a data query for the list and a data query for the microchart. The data query for the microchart would query the data and apply the appropriate filter. This is a really inefficient way of writing such a report. The list row already has the value ti display, why not just use that?

    And indeed that is how I write such a report. The chart query doesn't query the database. It just has a simple macro to receive a value:

     

    This is the value that is used on the chart. It's just prompting for a value.

    The list master detail then does this:

    Which is passing the value from the list into the chart.

    I use this technique quite a bit, usually passing multiple values through to the chart.

    https://community.ibm.com/community/user/businessanalytics/blogs/marc-reed/2024/05/22/more-efficient-report-microcharts?CommunityKey=6b10df83-0b3c-4f92-8b1f-1fd80d0e7e58

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    Marc Reed
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  • 6.  RE: request suggestions for tool (Report or Dashboard) and techniques for display

    IBM Champion
    Posted 21 days ago

    Hi Marc, 

    Great idea to pass a token! That should solve the performance issue with micro charts for us. 

    Thanks for sharing,

    Philipp



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    Philipp Hornung
    Business Intelligence Manager
    Techniker Krankenkasse
    Hamburg Germany
    #IBMChampion
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  • 7.  RE: request suggestions for tool (Report or Dashboard) and techniques for display

    Posted 20 days ago

    Marc, 
    Do you have a link for that dashboard enhancement request? I searched a bit (IBM Data and AI Ideas Portal...) but didn't see it, and would be happy to vote for it.

    Regarding your suggestion for using a list and microchart, thank you for that, that hadn't occurred to me. I worked with that a bit yesterday and it has definitely gotten me close to the desired report output format, with the exception of changing bar colors per subcategory - if you know how/where that could be set, please let me know.

    Using the added technique of passing a prompt value to the microchart query -- also a cool technique. I found when I took this list and applied the "Section" for formatting, to create the section header look -- that then the values of the measures in the microcharts were not correct (i.e. repeated one of the values), from which I presumed that I'd need to add to the master-detail relationship to make that work. But I paused that work while I consider whether my data set is well formed for this report - I now think it is not. For example, I don't actually have a field that represents 'Category' from my diagram.  So I'm considering taking a step back and creating a data set or data module that would form the data better for this output.
    Thank you for your detailed reply!



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    Mike Comiskey
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  • 8.  RE: request suggestions for tool (Report or Dashboard) and techniques for display

    IBM Champion
    Posted 20 days ago
    Edited by Marc Reed 16 days ago

    I don't think you need sectioning on your list. In my example report I didn't use sectioning. I just used grouping and a group header. If you're not careful, sectioning can add more query time to a report.

    You can change the colour of the bars using a conditional palette. If you are using my pass through technique, then you will need an additional data item to pass through. In my example, I would need an additional data item to pass through the product. This would then need to be used on the chart so that the conditional palette can use it. Charts are very flexible in their formatting, so you could quite easily use the new data item on the axis and completely hide it.

    When I get 10 minutes I will update the blog post I made to show this, and also upload an example report.

    edit: blog post updated and a link to example report added. https://community.ibm.com/community/user/businessanalytics/blogs/marc-reed/2024/05/22/more-efficient-report-microcharts?CommunityKey=6b10df83-0b3c-4f92-8b1f-1fd80d0e7e58



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    Marc Reed
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