The Importance of keeping up to date with the latest IBM Release Packs

Common Customer Challenges – Just why is it so important to keep up to date with the latest IBM Release Packs

At Simpson Associates, we receive many calls and messages into our managed service and support desk daily from customers who are facing a multitude of common problems.

Every month we address some of the most common challenges that our customers face. This month we focus on the importance of IBM infrastructure, and why it’s imperative that you keep up to date with the latest IBM Release Packs.

Did you know that IBM Release Packs correct bugs in Cognos Software? And we receive numerous calls from customers, experiencing issues with IBM Cognos. Many of their issues stem from not keeping up to date with the latest IBM releases.

We can’t stress enough, the importance of keeping up to date with the latest version of IBM Cognos Software versions. Read on to uncover considerations that you should be aware of when upgrading or installing to the latest version.

Cognos Analytics supported versions

IBM Cognos Analytics has been gaining momentum over the last couple of years and we are seeing more customers adopt the new platform now. It is available as two major versions v11.0 R13 and v11.1 R3.

Release 13 is the last iteration of v11.0 and is under long-term support from IBM, so it will continue to receive bug fixes. It is a major rewrite of Cognos Business Intelligence with lots of extra features.
Version 11.1 sees the significant addition of AI into Cognos Analytics, with other improvements to functionality and changes to the “look and feel” to align it with Planning Analytics. We can expect Cognos Analytics to mature in further releases with Release 4 due soon.

The previous platform was IBM Cognos Business Intelligence v10.2.2 and several customers have either migrated over to Cognos Analytics, are in the process of doing so or are thinking about their options.

Food for thought…

There are some general considerations to be aware of when approaching an upgrade or installation and so the following should prove “food for thought”:

  • Requirements – Planning is an essential part of any upgrade. With most releases, there are changes to what is supported. This can affect many different aspects such as database connections, Browser support, authentication, and memory/CPU requirements. For example:
    • With the addition of AI in v11.1 then this brings with it an extra Java process, which has extra processing requirements.
    • When it comes to database connections then OLEDB is only provided for legacy support and is not available when defining connections.
  • Adoption – Cognos Analytics has seen the addition of Data Modelling for users, Dashboarding, Stories, and Exploration as well as new features in other areas of reporting and administration. It is worth evaluating the potential use of such new functionality since this could provide a platform to enhance and rationalise existing content.
  • Legacy support – A significant influence behind the creation of Cognos Analytics was/is to move to a platform based on HTML5. When moving from Cognos BI to Cognos Analytics then features such as Portal Pages, Query Studio and Analysis Studio are provided to only support migrations. This also provides some motivation to consider adopting new features as substitutes.
  • Upgrade path – There are limitations as to what is possible. If considering upgrading from Cognos BI to Cognos Analytics, then this must be from v10.2.2 and Cognos BI must be on the latest Fix Pack (FP10).
  • Licensing – The licensing model changed in Cognos Analytics and was simplified into fewer groups. This brings with its new Roles and Capabilities.
  • Architecture – The approach to installation has broadly remained the same but with changes to how licensing works for PVU based environments then this allows for different design possibilities. A big change here is the adoption of Cloud services, allowing Hybrid, Shared, and Dedicated arrangements.
  • Way back – There always needs to be a way of ensuring that any change can be “undone”. An essential element to this is to ensure that the software and content are “in sync”. Careful use of the built-in Deployment features is key here, especially using configuration options that include the detail and configuration.
  • Testing – Starting with a proof-of-concept and then setting up a full test environment will ensure a smoother roll-out and adoption of a Live production environment. Use of the built-in auditing database and reporting is very helpful in preparing the requirements for testing.

Discover how Simpson Associates can help you to achieve success

If you are looking to outsource the delivery of your data analytics platform or are simply looking for maintenance and support of your IT services. Simpson Associates is a Data Analytics company over 25 years’ experience in offering managed IT support services. We can help manage your data applications, freeing up time for you to manage and grow your business.

Discover how we can help your business achieve success.

Blog Author
Andrew Peel, Support Consultant