Data and Analytics Resources

Provide Confident Assurance to Your Organization

How Cognos Analytics R7 is Improving the Administration Experience

by Norm Goddard

Nov 27, 2017

In 2015, IBM’s flagship business intelligence platform, Cognos, went through a total reconstruction – I’m talking change your identity, no one from high school will recognize you kind of transformation – with the release of version 11 of IBM Cognos Analytics. The user interface was completely upgraded to be more user-friendly and the updated backend allowed for more automated and seamless data cleansing. However, just as all releases do, version 11.1 had its shortcomings, which IBM continues to address in every new release.

Cognos Analytics version 11.7 or R7 was released in Q3 of 2017. This version in particular brought with it improved functionality for the administrator specifically in areas of connection, customization, and control - improvements such as: 

Connection 

Updates to version 11.7 make it easier for administrators to configure new Cognos Analytics environments and connect with other data-rich applications.

  • R7 now allows for single sign-on (SSO), even with traditional security sources, when implemented in IBM cloud. Admins are relived to find that it does not require the gateway to be installed like regular LDAP does, nor does it require IBM Blue ID any longer
  • Allows configuration to security providers IBMid, Okta, Google, ADFS, Azure AD, Salesforce and PingFederate to integrate with existing single sign-on
  • Removed legacy roles, simplifying the security administration, reducing the list of roles that needed to be sorted by admins
  • New dynamic connection parameters in JDBC connections allow dynamic users to access sign-on’s to the data source without having to maintain multiple sign-on’s for the data source connection in Cognos
  • Admins can specify session variables in JDBC connections that support dynamic connection parameters
  • Admins can specify session variables in the JDBC URL and Connection properties fields. For example, the JDBC URL field can include the following name-value pair: hive.server2.proxy.user=#$account.defaultName#
  • When the query engine creates a new database connection, it now replaces session variables with the corresponding value

Customization 

New customization capabilities make it easier for admins to meet business requirements.

  • Standardized parameters can be used across reports and allow admins to create a report with the global filters and parameters required by the business
  • These global parameters can be set for different users based on their roles
  • The new widget panel also makes it easier to brand and personalize dashboards by allowing admins to upload images directly using themes
  • Prior versions of Cognos required all images be uploaded to the Cognos servers by placing a ticket with IBM, which cause obvious delays

Control 

Version 11.7 makes it easier for administrators to troubleshoot problems in a timely manner.

  • R7 now supports diagnostic user session logging, which allows the admin to configure detailed logging for specific product components and functions
  • Session logging can be enabled by individual users for their session, which allows users to capture their specific issue(s) and send information directly to the administrator - only information about the user session is collected and saved in a log file
  • Logging can last up to one hour and can be stopped by the user at any time
  • Logged sessions are automatically tagged with a unique identifier for future use
  • Admins no longer need to recreate an issue or search through large log files

These are just the administrative highlights of version 11.7. For other new release features, check Martin’s blog on IBM Cognos Analytics Version 11.0.7 – New Features Spotlight. Interested in a demonstration of the latest version of IBM Cognos Analytics? Click here to request a personalized demo over the phone or at your office from myself or one of my colleagues at CCG. 

Leave a comment