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We’ve posted some thoughts below on new product releases, the benefits of product upgrades and added some development tips we find useful……. Let us know if there’s a topic you’d like us to cover on

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Fixing Slow DQM Reports in IBM Cognos

Matt Taylor
Monday, 27 November 2017

Recently we deployed an updated dynamic query mode (DQM) reporting package containing a new fact table called Fact_Credit_Transaction to a customer. We noticed that some active reports slowed down significantly as a result. The changes to the package were all additive, there were no alterations to the existing content so there should have been no impact on these reports.

Preparing your data for reporting

Nick Barnes
Monday, 06 November 2017

Lots of clients ask for our advice on how best to prepare their data for reporting to make sure they can get the information they actually want. By first thinking through the questions that need answering data can be properly prepared to deliver speedier, accurate reports with no extraneous information. In this article I’ll explain some of the concepts involved, and suggest a few ‘good practices’ to take into account. I’ll also elaborate on some of the terminology that gets used, just in case it all sounds a bit like techno babble.

How to get your head round Dimensional Reporting

Nick Barnes
Thursday, 21 September 2017

In my professional life as a BI consultant I have met many individuals who find it hard to understand the concept of dimensional data. If you’re reading this then the title has caught your attention and you too are looking for some friendly, non-techie advice on how to get your head round this intriguing subject.

So, where to begin. Let’s start with a single piece of data. Somebody has sold you a new car. Somebody somewhere will be interested in when it was sold, what colour it was, how much it was sold for, and what brand it was. From this you should be able to see two distinct types of information. The first is called a measure, and it is invariably a number, something that can be summed, averaged, or counted. The second is referred to as a dimension, and can be thought of a something that gives context to the measure. In our case the measures are the sale price, that 1 car was sold, and the value of the discount applied. The dimensions would be the name of the salesman, the day it was sold, the brand of the car and the site from which it was sold, to name a few.

Why you might choose Microsoft Power BI

Nick Barnes
Wednesday, 29 March 2017

The array of tools and software that can be used to report on data and to analyse the results can appear bewildering. It helps to start by first being clear on a number of key points;

- Where is your data going to be stored? 
- Who will be allowed access? 
- How do you want to share the results? 
- Do you want to report a set of results at fixed intervals, or do you want to look through the data for trends and insights?
- And the bottom line, how much is it likely to cost and what will be the return on investment?

Data can come from anywhere. There might already be an ‘on premise’ data warehouse, with a suitable reporting structure and carefully thought out data loads. It might just be a departmental set of Excel workbooks. Maybe the data exists in the cloud, or as a web service.

Once you have something, be it an insight or a dashboard, what is the best way of sharing it? The options available include Internet and Intranet portals, emails and shared documents.

So how does Microsoft’s Power BI fit in? 

Have you tried IBM Cognos Analytics yet?

Della Payne
Wednesday, 16 March 2016

If you’ve been holding back, waiting to invest in a new business analytics system, now is a great time to take a look at what’s out there. Until very recently you were faced with a choice of buying an easy to use data discovery toolset, allowing your business users to quickly build dashboards and visualisations, or an enterprise reporting product, with sophisticated report writers and all the security and data governance capabilities that you’d ever need.

Step forward IBM Cognos Analytics, the latest incarnation of Cognos BI. You’ll be pleased to learn that you can now have it all; a foolproof drag and drop interface for building attractive and useful reports and dashboards for day to day use, but with the added capability to create those pixel perfect reports that everyone expects. In the great tradition of Cognos, it’s fully scalable too, so you won’t struggle to add a completely different set of data for another part of the business, say HR data, if you already report on Finance, then give certain users access to a custom sub-set of the two.

Three easy ways to take screenshots

Andy Best
Wednesday, 21 October 2015

We often ask our clients to send us screenshots to aid our support team understand the issue at hand. Different people do this in different ways but here are three easy ways to take and save screenshots.

1. Print Screen

This is by far and away the most commonly used method that we see. Hitting “Print Screen” on your keyboard (it may be abbreviated to PrtScn or similar) will capture your entire screen and copy to your clipboard. It even works if you have multiple monitors!

Three times Microsoft Excel lied to you about your data

Andy Best
Wednesday, 07 October 2015

Quite often when importing data into a Data Warehouse or Reporting Database, the data source will be an Excel file. However, many database developers prefer handling CSV or Text files when importing data.

To generate a CSV file the majority of people will simply hit “Save As…” from within Microsoft Excel but, there are a few areas where Excel will not save your data quite as you would expect. On the flip side, Excel is usually the default program for opening CSV files and this also has its pitfalls.

Need to report and analyse website data but don’t have a reporting tool? Use PHPExcel

Matt Taylor
Tuesday, 07 July 2015

We’re all familiar with Microsoft Excel for viewing and editing data and it’s an ideal mechanism for providing reports on which you want to perform analysis when you don’t have the option of layering a reporting solution over the data (e.g. SSRS or IBM Cognos).

Could Microsoft Azure save you time and money?

Neil Palmer
Tuesday, 23 June 2015

It’s no secret that there has been a great deal of excitement about cloud computing recently. To the uninitiated it may sound intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be.

Microsoft have always been experts in making complex technologies easily available and Azure is no exception to that. Since its inception in 2010, Azure has grown into a mature and diverse platform that supports some of the world’s biggest corporations.

Thinking of upgrading to IBM Cognos 10.2.2?

Andy Best
Tuesday, 03 March 2015

In Q4 2014, IBM released the latest version of the IBM Cognos toolset, IBM Cognos 10.2.2. This release included a number of exciting new features as well as expanding upon existing functionality.

One question we have been frequently asked is “Why should I upgrade to the latest version”? In this article we will take you through some of the key features and enhancements within IBM Cognos 10.2.2

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