Business Analytics

Reporting enhancements in #Cognos Analytics 11.0.7

By NICKOLUS PLOWDEN posted Mon August 28, 2017 09:19 AM

  
Release 7 (Cognos Analytics 11.0.7) includes very exciting enhancements to reporting. We have added many new features and improvements that benefit both existing and new report authors as well as report consumers.

Interactive filtering panel

A new interactive viewer gives report consumers more control than ever to accomplish simple but important tasks. For example, the onDemand toolbar lets users create filters directly on the report output, or create simple calculations, sorting and much more. These tools give report consumers additional flexibility to understand the context of a report without relying on the report authors.

A new feature introduced in this release will help report users to manage all filters applied to a report interactively. This also helps users to better understand the report context and modify views accordingly.



The filter panel is accessible by using the Filter icon from the application bar. It contains all filters created by report consumers on the report output. Report authors also have the option to make an authored filter visible for report consumers to interact with in this filter panel. This does not apply to low-level filter expressions manually created in the expression editor. All filters created in an earlier version of Cognos software will have this option disabled by default.

Why do we call this an interactive feature? It’s simple:

  • Users can click to select a filter from this panel; the report will automatically highlight all the data containers using the selected filter.

  • When a data container is selected on the report page, the filter panel will update instantly to only display filters applied to the selected data container.

  • Users can click on the pencil icon beside a filter to change filter values.

  • Each filter can be deleted.

  • The filter panel is resizable. Users can also choose to pin or unpin the panel depending on their screen resolutions.


This feature does not apply to Active Reports, but it works well for regular reports in both HTML and PDF formats.

Mapbox integration

With Release 7, report authors can include Mapbox maps in a regular report. This functionality is available under the visualization dialog.

Cognos Analytics supports two map layers that can be associated with the same query, or against two separate queries. Authors can also set different properties for each layer independently.

For example, Country could be used as the color-filled region layer with a blue color palette, and Provinces/States as a point layer with the green color palette.

If the two layers are using separate queries, filtering on Provinces/States does not update the Country layer.



Report authors also have the option to enable or disable warning messages for when locations are not found or unmatched. We provide up to two levels for report authors to clarify a location if ambiguities are found. For example, if you’d like to plot City, you can use Provinces/States as the first clarification level, and Country as the second clarification level. If you are trying to map Postal Code/Zip Code, only Country is required to be used as the clarification item.

As with dashboards, reports can now support map resolutions down to the postal code level. Please see https://www.ibm.com/communities/analytics/cognos-analytics-blog/cognos-analytics-mapping-enhancements-in-11-0-6/ for details on this.

Because maps are interactive, users can zoom in/out directly on the maps without going back to the report server to re-render the entire report. Tooltips are also available for both layers to display measures associated to a location. Because the maps are client-side rendered report objects, PDF, saved output and report booklet formats are currently unsupported. We will support these formats in a later release.

Navigation paths

Navigation paths allow the user to explore their data in a new and exciting way. To see how to define them, head over to Jason’s blog post on Data Modules.

With Release 7, report authors can now take advantage of this exciting feature. Authors can explore navigation paths that were created in a data module under the “Data items” tab beside the metadata tree view. From here, authors can drag data items directly, or go back to the metadata tree to bring data items into reports.



To use this feature, report users can click on a data item that has navigation paths defined. OnDemand toolbar will show the navigation icon, which allows users to go to another level or even to skip to a different navigation path.



Interactive performance details

This feature is designed for authors who wish to interactively view query and rendering performance on report objects within their reports. It can be used with Page Design by running as HTML, or in Preview Mode within the authoring mode.

Performance data will be displayed for data container objects such as such as Lists, Crosstabs and Visualizations. For more information, please visit this post.

Package based drill-through

Cognos Analytics supports different types of drill-through. Many existing Cognos customers have package-based drill-through defined prior to Cognos Analytics 11. As of 11.0.7, the software supports package based drill-through in an interactive viewer.



 

To access drill-through links, users can select a data item and use the explorer icon to access “Related links.” All authored drill-through definitions will show up directly under “Related links.” Package based drill-through links can be discovered using the “Find more drill-through links” option.

A new dialog has been made available for users to explore all available drill-through targets, including target search path as well as the parameter values being used.

Related post: Package based drill-through samples (11.0.7+)

View tabular data in Excel and Excel grouping

We’re happy to report that two very popular Requests For Enhancement are available in the product again.

When viewing tabular data on a query, an interactive viewer will be launched instead of the Cognos version 10 viewer. The new viewer gives user the option to output tabular data to other formats such as Excel.

And the “Group repeating cells – export to Excel” property is back! When you produce reports in Excel format, you can choose to group repeating cells into a single merged cell. This property is available at the report object level.

Other improvements

When executing an Active Report, the report will open under the switcher instead of a new tab. We also added the option to download the active report directly from the application bar once it has rendered. There is no need to go back to the portal and download using report properties.

Drill up/down behavior

We studied some common drill up/down use cases using Cognos 10 viewer and the new interactive viewer. Our goal is to improve the drill experience in interactive viewer and provide the behaviors that make the most sense. Based on this, users will see different and correct behaviors when performing drill up and down. For example, if you drill up and down using a crosstab with nested edges, now the nested edges will be preserved after drill. Formatting and conditional styles are also preserved.

Hopefully these improvements give you a sense of why Cognos Analytics Release 7 is such an exciting upgrade for anyone who authors or consumes reports.







Here is a short video that demonstrates these new features:

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