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Cognos Quick Reference

When you view or create a report, you are viewing data stored in your organization's databases. The following diagram explains the steps involved in using IBM Cognos Business Intelligence.

1. In IBM Cognos Framework Manager, the modeler ensures that metadata is presented in a manner that business users can understand. Modelers import the metadata from one or more databases, and then add to the model to meet user requirements.

2. In IBM Cognos Metric Designer, the modeler identifies the data items and calculations that form the targets and actual results for each metric.

3. The modeler then publishes and updates packages to IBM Cognos Connection so that authors can use them to create reports, agents, and scorecards.

4. Business users and report authors use the published packages to understand their business data.

5. Users run, view, and manage their content in IBM Cognos Connection.Depending on their security permissions, they may be able to simply run and view reports or manage schedules, portal layout, and other users' permissions.

6. In IBM Cognos Transformer, you can leverage queries in published packages, queries from IBM Cognos BI reports, and personal data sources, such as Microsoft Excel spreadsheet software, to create a unique, focused model of your business. Transformer is IBM Cognos's industry leading OLAP modeling tool,
which is designed so that business users can be self-sufficient in modeling a view of the business that suits the needs of their department or specialty.

Report Specifications

When authors create a report, they are actually creating a report specification. The report specification is an XML representation of the queries and prompts that are used to retrieve data, as well as the layouts and styles used to present the data. For simplicity, the report specification is called the report.

Models and Packages

Because stored data is typically designed for storage and not for reporting, a data modeler uses Framework Manager to create metadata models. Models structure, add to, and manage data in ways that make sense to business users. Models define business rules, data descriptions, data relationships, and business dimensions and hierarchies.

Models can be based on the compatible query mode or the dynamic query mode. The compatible query mode supports legacy reports and is required for some data sources. The dynamic query mode is recommended for new applications of IBM Cognos Business Intelligence.

The dynamic query mode provides the following benefits:

  1. It is optimized for complex queries and larger data volumes.
  2. It provides advanced query capabilities, such as in-memory caching, which can improve query planning, execution, and results.
  3. It enables the use of IBM Cognos Dynamic Cubes as data sources, which allow low-latency, high-performance OLAP analytics over large relational data warehouses.

Planning and creating a model is an important task that should be performed by a modeler or a modeling team familiar with both the database structure and the needs of the business users.

After the metadata model is defined, modelers create a package to make metadata available to report authors. Each package must contain all the information that a specific user or group of users needs to create reports. For example, one package can contain human resources data, and another sales data. When users open an authoring studio, they must select which package to use. Each report can contain data from only one package.

After a package is made available in IBM Cognos Connection, the Transformer modeler can begin to design a multidimensional IBM Cognos PowerCube for a more focused analysis of the business. The queries can be created directly in Transformer using metadata from any published package. Business specialists can
also design their own model for a more focused analysis, combining metadata from different packages and even including personal data using flat files.

A more refined query intended for Transformer modeling can be authored by a business specialist by creating a report in IBM Cognos Query Studio or Report Studio. That report can then be used to create a data source in Transformer, allowing the business specialist full control over changes to the report, and
therefore the query, rather than relying on the Framework Manager administrator for changes. Once the multi-dimensional design is complete, IBM Cognos BI security can be added with dimensional filtering and the PowerCube can be built. The PowerCube can then be published to IBM Cognos Connection just like any other package, making it available for multi-dimensional analysis and reporting.