IBM has released the new version of Cognos Business Intelligence this week – version 10.2. The latest release contains welcomed updates as well new features across the suite of BI applications.

Business Workspace

Instantly the first thing that you’ll notice is that Business Insight and Business Insight Advanced have been replace/renamed as Cognos Workspace and Cognos Business Workspace advanced. Other useful functionality to the workspace are that you can now create Multi Tabbed Workspace and you have a new control called an Action Button which you can program to trigger tab changes. Users familiar with Excel will be pleased to hear that you can now Freeze and Unfreeze column and row heading when scrolling. There is a Data Visualization Guide called Visual Recommender that will help you select the appropriate chart type based on your data values in your workspace, including reason for that decision. The ability to print your workspace has also been included in this release.

Technically it also includes support for Safari and Google Chrome.

Report Studio

Report Studio hasn’t been left out either it has a new Prompt API. This is fully supported and documented. Using JavaScript it allows you to set, read, delete and validate prompts values, an useful example of this would be limiting the user to select a date value equal to or less than the latest period. Exporting report output to Excel is now easier as they have increase the maximum number of columns to 16,384 and 1,048,576 rows. You can also export in a new format called Excel 2007 Data, which is a lightweight transfer of Excel without any report formatting.

Dynamic Cubes

This is a brand new feature and complements the Cognos existing OLAP technology. It is aimed at any organization with large or mature star and snowflake schemas that would like to provide their users with an OLAP experience without having to compromise on the data details or high performance.

  • 100% in memory OLAP Engine for a high Performance, low latency user experience
  • Aggregate Awareness to allow query routing to in-memory or physical aggregate table in the data warehouse
  • Aggregate Advisor feature will monitor, recommend new physical aggregate tables and even generate SQL/DDL
  • A new OLAP modelling tool
  • Multiple Cubes can share conformed dimensions

Content Archival

This feature allows customers to move report output from their content store database to either their file system or FileNet but to also allow this output to be fully accessible through the Cognos Connection user interface. This feature also helps the Content Manager by helping to reduce load on this component by distributing the load of retrieving report output to the dispatchers in the environment. When archived output is requested by a user, the application tier dispatchers have a Repository Service that, when enabled, is responsible for serving archived output to the user.

This feature will be greatly favoured by storage administrators for database servers; now that Cognos content can be easily archived off into a file system relieving storage capacity strains on an ever increasing Content store database.

Cognos Mobile

Cognos Mobile which was a major extension to Cognos BI functionality, brought in on the 10.1 release. As well as the continued support for the native mobile application across Blackberry OS and Apple iOS devices, Cognos Mobile 10.2 brings in additional functionality from both an application and administration side.

For BI report consumers on the go; the native Cognos Mobile application now features push notifications, which alerts users when a new version of a report is available.

Reports can now be streamed to devices as a pose to being downloaded to the device’s local cache. This is particularly useful as users no longer have to wait for a full report to download before viewing, reducing the wait time, especially over slower mobile networks.

Cognos Mobile 10.2 brings increased security features to Cognos Administrators. As well as the standard Cognos security controls in place with previous versions of Business Intelligence, administrators can now restrict access to Cognos Mobile on a ‘per device’ basis.

Software Environments

In addition to its already extensive support software environments, Cognos BI 10.2 now supports SQL Server 2012 hosts for Content Store, Audit and Report Data Sources. This also includes support for SQL Analysis Services 2012 Cubes. So now may also be the time to consider the upgrade of your SQL Server environment.

Up until the release of Cognos BI 10.2, specific components of the overall BI suite remained as 32-bit only products. Customers who wished to utilise 64-bit server components but still required the use of 32-bit only applications, were required to install a split 64/32-bit Cognos architecture, which added to the complexity of these environments. Cognos BI 10.2 is now a full 64-bit product across the board (with optional 32-bit still available). This will enable customers to maximise the amount of available memory across Cognos servers and therefore help to increase the potential environment performance. With a full 64-bit installation it will be possible to assign more memory to the JVM (Java Virtual Machine) which will result in greater performance when it comes to reports processing.

In light of the release of Cognos BI 10.2, could now be time to upgrade?

Simpson Associates offers Cognos BI Consultancy services delivering solutions for Cognos BI upgrades and new environment installations. Contact us for more information about how we could help.

Back to blog