Get Ready for the Next Generation of IBM Cognos

I had the pleasure of representing Altis at IBM’s Annual Insight convention in Las Vegas on the end of October, to see what’s new with IBM Cognos, Watson Analytics and IBM’s big data solutions, and to give a talk on how we reduce development and maintenance times of IBM Cognos reports using centrally controlled templates and solution libraries.


During the conference, IBM presented the much-rumoured next version of Cognos – now re-branded Cognos Analytics. Unlike previous upgrades, this isn’t just a bunch of new features on the good old Cognos, but an absolute re-thinking of the product and its uses. In other words, Cognos finally catches up with times.

What’s new?

First of all, there’s a major re-write of the portal (Cognos Connection, as they used to call it). On the long walk from breakfast to sessions, IBM put up some clever signs. One of them read “The 90s called, they want their SharePoint back”.

That sentiment does represent the new IBM design – less menus, less buttons, less screens, with all navigation is done on screen, with a very clever usage of ribbon, drop-down menus and mouse gestures.

The search mechanism was also given a boost, with auto-suggestions and the ability to save searches. On top of it all, the portal (As well as all development screens) is now entirely mobile-ready. It’s not just a facelift – it’s an entirely different approach to the user interface.

On top of that change, IBM added a dashboarding tool that allows the non-savvy end user to easily visualise data by simply dragging data fields on to a canvas. A video demo can be found here. This is a very useful tool that offers smart visualisations on the fly.

Report authoring has been made a lot easier, with Report Studio getting a whole new look and feel that speeds up authoring (And much to my joy, encourages the use of templates) while remaining one of the most robust, versatile BI authoring tools in the industry.

Report consumption is now done through a dynamic viewer that allows the user such interactive features as summarising, grouping, filtering and sorting. This can be seen in this video demo which also demonstrates the all-new predictive search mechanism.

On top of all that, there’s a new modelling tool that allows the non-savvy user to connect to data, ask a question and get the tables and relations needed to answer that question. You can see a demo of it here.

Next steps

The new product will be released by the end of the current year, say officials. I have taken the opportunity to participate in the sessions about upgrades.

They will have quite a few caveats, which is why at Altis we are putting together all the information necessary to assist our customers with upgrades and new implementations.

Upgrades would definitely require some careful planning beforehand, especially in some scenarios such as where there is intensive use of portal pages, in order to go smoothly; post-upgrade, some professional training would allow our customers to maximise the benefits of this upgrade.

Contact our team today to get ready for the next generation of IBM Cognos.

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