Did you Install IBM Cognos Lifecycle Manager as a Service? If you’re running into stability issues when building and running large test projects, you might be running out of memory. If you want to up the heap size, just pop open the registry editor, navigate to the node shown above and increase that JvmMx entry.
Its great to see a legendary spot like the Nashua Garden getting some press. I grew up in Nashua and had the great fortune of wandering in there for lunch on the day they opened. Fast-forward 15 years and I still make it a point to stop there whenever I’m passing through town. Probably the best deli and draft beer selection under one roof in New England and a worthy destination for any hardcore Boston sports fan.
Cognos 10 was released this week, with much fanfare (and fireworks - seriously) at IBM’s Information on Demand conference in Las Vegas. I’ve been exploring the interface and feature set on my own test environment the past few days and here are a few early conclusions.
My Top 3 features for highest immediate impact:
1. Business Insight Advanced
They’ve taken analysis studio, query studio, (and maybe even report studio express author mode) and condensed them all into a single, intuitive, uniform, incredibly snappy and responsive user experience.
The interface is FAST. Both OLAP and Relational package metadata are quick to return. Even DMR members in the metadata tree are coming back instantaneously in my test environment.
The UI is intuitive, clean and uniform regardless of data source type or package. No longer do power users need to learn 2-3 studios to do their job. Best of all the interface is incredibly similar to report studio, which creates a continuous experience for those users who graduate to the latter full fledged development environment.
2. External Data Wizard
3. Active Reports
I saw a great tweet on the #Cognos10 hash stream that sums up my feelings on this feature pretty well:
I’m starting to understand the #cognos10 disconnected reports. It’s so [much] more than just letting execs run dashboards on airplanes. #iodgc
One of the more complicated challenges that organizations encounter is getting content out to external users. These can be sales reps, agents and agencies, stores, franchises, etc. The bottom line is everyone in or around your organization, whether or not they are tethered to your intranet can extract the value from a rich interactive analytical experience. I think distributed active reports may be the solution for a lot of those scenarios, instead of trying to facilitate direct access to Cognos Connection for your remote users.
I like Business Insight (or as some may know it in its prior form, Go! Dashboard) as a very elegant solution for dashboarding for the masses. Its the evolution of self service which has traditionally been more often about answering specific granular questions at a whim, and less about building your own tailored high level view of the world. I think by making dashboarding more accessible, its going to help organizations move faster along that BI maturity curve from a pure reporting culture to a true analytical culture.
Lifecycle Manager has garnered a lot of buzz, which surprises me because its a tool thats been around for 3-4 years under the name of Upgrade Manager. Its always been provided as a free download to any customer. I have yet to unwrap this latest iteration, but from what I can tell from the demos, its the same old upgrade manager we know and love. Regardless, its an outstanding utility that everyone should be using to manage upgrades, migrations and regular changes to content. There is a time investment up front, but its usually well worth it.
Charting has been updated to keep up with the Joneses. Most of the additions are in the form of “chromed” or 3D chart variations which as a student of both Edward Tufte and Stephen Few, I find rather disappointing. To be honest I’ve probably had more client requests for shiny 3D charts than true visually quantitative ones, so such is the status quo. What is noteworthy is the addition of a Bullet Chart, which is a much better quantitative alternative to a gauge chart.
Sadly, there are still no Treemaps which are a superior alternative to the Marimekko chart thats been included for some time. I guess if I had to pick a single area of potential enhancement for which I had higher expectations, it would have to be charting.
Dynamic Query Analyzer is another potential killer app for Cognos administrators. Its long been a tedious process of troubleshooting and tuning queries in Cognos, that typically involves multiple applications and a lot of cutting and pasting. This utility (built on the eclipse platform) brings it all together in one place and provides a visual interface for tuning and debugging your problem queries. I have yet to fully test it, but I have high hopes for it as an indispensable asset for Cognos administrators and developers everywhere.
The bottom line this is an outstanding release, with so much more under the hood in terms of performance improvements that I could never begin to experience in my test environment and I very much look forward to the opportunity to help guide my clients into production on Cognos 10, be it a migration or new implementation.
If you have questions about Cognos 10, training or implementation - pop on over to The Ironside Group, and keep an eye out for more insightful Cognos 10 technical tips and commentary on the company blog.
When I was a kid I loved legos. I never really took to following the instructions to build the picture on the box, but I was ever eager to cannibalize the parts from various kits and find different ways to use them in my own wild creations. In retrospect this sort of behavior should have been a clear indicator that engineering was going to be a part of my future in some way or another.
When I finally did close the loop on the prophecies of my childhood and found myself in engineering school, surrounded by hundreds of other former lego sculptors and television dismantlers, I immediately observed a secondary common thread: We were all supremely confident that no one got up earlier or worked harder than the college of engineering (My amazing wife, a registered nurse, has since enlightened me to the inaccuracy of that statement). Occasionally when pressed to take non-engineering courses to satisfy elective requirements, we would instinctively find each other in lecture halls, irreverently earning our four grade points while quietly ridiculing those around us. It was real-life revenge of the nerds. In speaking to colleagues and friends from other engineering schools around the country, I’ve come to understand that this type arrogance (however misguided) was a widespread phenomenon.
Since graduating many years ago and moving on into the working world, embarking on one career in software engineering and then completely shifting gears to another in enterprise information management, I’ve come to know that the professional world is teeming with highly intelligent, smart-working individuals that are not engineers. I am however still a strong advocate for an engineering education and I was reminded of this when Jeff Shuey fired off a tweet crowd-sourcing for recommendations around teenage career advice. I somewhat arrogantly responded with: “Engineering, of course. ;-)” without even having known that Jeff (to no surprise) also has an engineering background, which was later revealed to me in his follow-up post.
I believe in an engineering education so vehemently because I have learned through my own personal experiences and observations, that whether you go on to apply those principals learned directly in a characteristically engineering profession, or you move on to another field like I and many others have done, the education at its core instills an instinctual desire to think creatively when it comes to problem solving. It conditions you to think, not about the one way your solution will succeed, but the hundreds of ways it could fail and that simply solving the problem is only part of the equation. A true solution will consider many factors such as cost (of any type) and sustainability. These are the concepts that I distilled from hundreds of hours in lecture halls and electronics labs, and I have been able to apply them countless times to find success in every day life whether the problem has been technical, strategic, organizational, economic, etc. This is why I think you see so many engineers succeeding in non-engineering careers and also the reason I believe an engineering education is one of the very best investments there are in undergraduate study.
There was one other common trait I shared among my classmates at engineering school, and that was an overall passion for problem solving through innovation. When I get together with my old buddies from school these days, conversation still quickly degrades into tech-speak that can embarrass our respective spouses out of the room with alarming efficiency. So that being said, its not a career path for everyone and chances are you need to have been bitten by the bug to find true success through engineering. If there’s any doubt in your mind, I highly recommend the lego test.