Mantautas
Level 3

Reporting on COGNOS

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Hello, Within our FNMS we have configured multiple top Publishers, and our stakeholders are looking forward to receive various reports on purchased licenses, consumption, type of license, etc. We restrict access to FNMS for this moment just to SAM and Security folks, so we would rather at the moment provide static Excel reports. However, I know FNMS has possibility to report Dashboards based on COGNOS. I was wondering if anyone on this community tried COGNOS, and I would have several questions: 1. Do you have success stories of SAM Stakeholders accessing COGNOS Dashboards/Reports for their reporting needs? 2. Is there any practice/user guide available to start building reports on COGNOS ? 3. Do you need to know Database structure / hierarchies to be able to build simple reports on COGNOS ? Regards, Mantautas. Software Asset Management Lead Consultant.
1 Solution
MurrayPeters
Level 7

Hi Mantautas,

I use Flexera Analytics (Cognos) daily and find it to be incredibly valuable, but I do acknowledge that it is not trivial and can be confronting to use - but I definitely think it's worth the effort.   The System Reference guide (downloadable from the online help) has some content on Analytics, but it is very theoretical.  You could look at the Learning center which has some introductory videos and lessons (https://learn.flexera.com/?q=analytics).

There are several data models published with FNMS - if using FNMS cloud there are 2 data models and if using FNMS on prem there is an additional 'operational' data model not available in the cloud (as of 2019 R1 anyway).   Each data model has its purpose (dashboard development, versus low level reporting etc), so it would be important for you to become familiar with the different models and when to use each.    My advice would be to use the "Flexera Data Models" for dashboard development and then if desirable develop drill through to detailed reports using the other data models.

If you're interested, I've attached a set of examples of dashboards/reports I’ve built using Cognos over the past few years.  These might give you an idea of what kind of things are possible.  I should clarify that whilst some of these use the OOTB data models in some cases it was necessary to use direct SQL queries to generate data for views I was aiming for (which can only be done for on-prem implementations of FNMS).

- Murray

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15 Replies
mfranz
Level 15

Hi,

My experience is limited to local testing VMs and sample data. From playing around to see what I can customize beyond the standard Cognos dashboards, I found Cognos not just to be very slow (or resource hungry) but also my impression is that I am kind of limited by the existing data cube. Sure, I  can add my own data, but it stays independent and is not integrated with the existing data structure.

I think the Cognos Cube Designer would be the solution to that, but it is not included. Please correct me someone, if I am wrong here.

I am not aware of any Cognos user guide from Flexera. You should definitely know your data and data structures - because you don't want to make the wrong business decission based on a sloppily created report.

If there are existing reporting solutions in place, possibly with experienced people as well and already integrated in company processes, you might consider using them instead.

Best regards,

Markward

Softline Group is Europe's leading independent expert in Software Asset Management.
I've seen it used at some customers and agree it is resource demanding and somewhat complex, however it is extremely powerful when the reports are properly built. I think especially the new capabilities to drill through to the operational data, and also the ability to report from the operational data is a game changer compared to other BI tools.
MurrayPeters
Level 7

Hi Mantautas,

I use Flexera Analytics (Cognos) daily and find it to be incredibly valuable, but I do acknowledge that it is not trivial and can be confronting to use - but I definitely think it's worth the effort.   The System Reference guide (downloadable from the online help) has some content on Analytics, but it is very theoretical.  You could look at the Learning center which has some introductory videos and lessons (https://learn.flexera.com/?q=analytics).

There are several data models published with FNMS - if using FNMS cloud there are 2 data models and if using FNMS on prem there is an additional 'operational' data model not available in the cloud (as of 2019 R1 anyway).   Each data model has its purpose (dashboard development, versus low level reporting etc), so it would be important for you to become familiar with the different models and when to use each.    My advice would be to use the "Flexera Data Models" for dashboard development and then if desirable develop drill through to detailed reports using the other data models.

If you're interested, I've attached a set of examples of dashboards/reports I’ve built using Cognos over the past few years.  These might give you an idea of what kind of things are possible.  I should clarify that whilst some of these use the OOTB data models in some cases it was necessary to use direct SQL queries to generate data for views I was aiming for (which can only be done for on-prem implementations of FNMS).

- Murray

We are on 2018 R2 - how did you generate the views from SQL? very keen on learning how to do that as you cannot connect the core SQL backend to cognos.

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@anne_watson - it is possible to connect Cognos directly to the FlexNet Manager SQL database with FNMS On-Premises, but not with FNMS Cloud.

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I have On-Prem and i was told with 2018 R2, that functionality was lost.  If this is not so, could you be so kind as to give me instructions as to how to connect?

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Flexera Analytics (powered by Cognos) is still part of the FlexNet 2018 R2 release. If it is installed and configured on your system, you would normally access it by clicking the the Reports button at the top of the UI and then select an option from the Analytics menu:

image.png

(Did my reply solve the question? Click "ACCEPT AS SOLUTION" to help others find answers faster. Liked something? Click "KUDO". Anything expressed here is my own view and not necessarily that of my employer, Flexera.)
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That is not what I am referring to Chris - that we have configured.  What i want to do is connect the external Cognos server to the raw FNMSCompliance database so i can transfer existing SQL queries we have developed into Cognos reports to make them accessible to our partners.  Many of the tables we have built SQL queries from are not available in the data sources available in Cognos.

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Hi Anne,

For on prem FNMS environments the ability to utilise SQL as the source of queries has always been available - though since Cognos has evolved featurewise and (access rights/license levels) there has been some caveats:

For Cognos 10.x environments:

  • Using SQL queries in Report Studio required the user to be assigned at least a "Professional User" license.

For Cognos 11.x environments:

  • Licensing was simplified to just the two "Analytics User" and "Analytics Administrator" levels - both of these can use SQL queries.
  • This release introduced the whol new UI and Dashboard environment which is widget driven & essentially requires data models to be DQM (Dynamic Query Model)
    • Note: For FNMS, only the "Flexera Data Models" model is DQM
    • the others are CQM (Compatible) and will not work in the Dashboard environment, but will work fine in the Reporting Studio/environment.

So: to use SQL in the Reporting environment you can:

  1. Create a Report (I am using the "FlexNet Manager Platform Reports and Dashboard" data model)
  2. Drag a SQL Query from the toolbox into the Queries
  3. For the Properties of the "SQL" query choose:
    • SQL Syntax : Pass-through
    • Data Source : Choose the database you want to access
      (FNMP-Dashboard is the compliance DB, FNMP-DW-DS is the Data warehouse).
    • SQL : Enter the SQL code here

sql.PNG


When you close the SQL window Cognos will validate the query and save the columns returned by the query for you to use in the report.

You can then build your report using whichever visualisations you want.
Note: if you have numeric fields that you want Cognos to automatically aggregate then you should explicitly set the appropriate aggregation formula (usually Sum/Total, but could be Max/Min/Average etc).


If you want to build dashboards using SQL then the approach is different but can be done by starting with creating a Data Server, then build a Data Module (allowing you to specify joins between subjects/tables) and then possibly Data Sets.   You can then choose the Data Module or Data Set as the source of data for your Dashboard.

I presume you are really just asking for SQL in Reports though so I'll leave it there.

Let us know how you get on.

Murray

That's lovely and i have full Admin, Cognos roles, but i still get this error.  Any idea?

Permissions errorPermissions error

 

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Forget the message above, i figured out how to apply the permissions (not pass through from FNMS). How do i get to the Properties > SQL Syntax? that is now where i am stuck.
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Okay, forget about both messages. I figured it out! Brilliant!!! And Flexera support said it wasn't possible. Thank you!!!
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Thanks for the updates, @anne_watson  - any chance you could share what the solution ended up being?

If you appreciate my efforts, please give me a kudo
Accept as solution to help others find it faster.
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Hi Murray,

You have very impressive reports in the pdf, I must say.

I am new to using Cognos but have familiarised myself with the different data sources. The challenge I face is having data from all 3 sources in one window as i do not know how to create the relationships yet. Is this something you managed to do in your reports?
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sri404
Level 2
He delivered all of IBM Cognos Report Studio to create and use layout, formatting, and user interaction reports. This is usually created by professional report writers who have a good knowledge of the tools and information.
In this exercise, you will learn to:

Create a chart
Make sure the report requires interaction
But you, the thing that the champion analyst on the streets of society. Report Studio creates a graph to display the performance report and returns the last years. Report the addition of an interactive prompt.

You will create a report and Report Studio will return Order Now as an example - Warehouse GO Data push sheet (analysis) of the sample.

Complete this exercise, you must have the appropriate license and security permissions for this feature.

To note:

When using Report Studio, the data, which will not live. You run the report while viewing the data.
You can see the XML report of infinity.
You can add multilingual gives you something.
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