When trying to answer critical business questions, gain insight, or identify new trends, users might potentially execute many reports, and spend large amounts of time browsing report output searching for desired results. With IBM Cognos BI, licensed enhanced consumer users have the ability to search for keywords located in report names, modelled metadata, report output, values in the reporting databases, and results returned from an external third-party search engine, such as the Google search appliance.
When performing a search through IBM Cognos Connection, enhanced consumers are presented with an interface that contains the following frames:
Center frame that displays the search results based on the search criteria and the refinements applied. Based on the search criteria, there can be multiple sections within the search results returned. The standard section contains the search results directly related to the criteria used to perform the search.
The Create and Explore section provides the user with a default query that is based on the search criteria on which to start building a report. This display is an excellent way to provide users with a headstart on getting the information that they are after when there are no existing reports that provide the necessary detail. Users can use the default query and then customize to query to create a report that can be reused or shared with others.
The last section provides users with suggested content based on predefined suggestions that are defined on the Index Search tab. For example, if there is a report template that should be used for financial reports, then a suggested definition can be created that displays the link to the report template any time that users searched on words such as sales, profit, results, or budget.
Enhanced search user interface
Before users can use the new search capabilities with IBM Cognos, an enhanced search index must first be constructed. Administrators can influence the contents of an index by customizing the types of objects that are included as part of the build process. Because creating an index can be a lengthy process, depending on the types of objects included and whether reporting data is being indexed, build an initial index that just includes IBM Cognos content. This type of index results in a shortened time to build the search index and allows users to perform searches for content immediately versus having to wait for a full index to be constructed. After the first index has been created, incremental additions can be made to the index to expand the search results returned to business users.
Table provides steps for building an effective enhanced search index.
Steps to building an effective enhanced search index
Define indexable object types
Although the default parameter settings for enhanced search allow administrators to build an initial index, it is good practice to verify that all of the content types are required for a particular environment or to meet business requirements.
To modify the types of content included in the search index:
Index Search General tab
Indexable object types
Securing the index and search results
The index update service can retrieve the access control list from IBM Cognos Content Manager during indexing. This option consumes additional resources, but is turned on by default because it speeds up searching.
To secure the index and search results:
Index search security considerations
These are the minimum considerations required to build the initial index.
Build an initial index
Search results depend on the access permissions of the person who indexes the content and the user who searches the content. Build the search index with an account that has access to all content in the public folders so that all content is available to users. To build an initial index:
This results in an index update definition being created, but will not have executed the actual build process because the Save only option was selected.
Index update definition created and ready to be executed
Building the initial index for enhanced search can be a lengthy, resource-intensive process, depending on the options selected to index, whether metadata and reporting data values are included, and the topology of the installed IBM Cognos components. To help ensure that building the initial index has limited impact on users, the common practice is to schedule the index build process to not occur during periods of heavy reporting usage:
Scheduled initial index update task definition
To verify that the index update task has been scheduled for the desired time, navigate to the Upcoming Activities task on the Status tab and then use the graph Next control to scroll to the appropriate date. If the task was set to run at a much later date, you can use the Advanced options in the Filter section. After the date is located, the index update task displays in the results list.
Upcoming scheduled index update task
Refresh the search index
As the content of the IBM Cognos BI analytics solution evolves, administrators must ensure that the contents of the search index remain as accurate as the business demands. Neglecting to periodically update the search index results in search results returning links to reports that are no longer present, or incomplete results because newer content is not highlighted.
To avoid staleness of the search index, it is important to first determine how frequently the content is changing. If auditing is enabled, the easiest way to check the volume of change to the content for a given period of time is to execute a report against the audit database.
After the frequency of change has been detected, it is essential to understand how long it takes to build the search index. Because the only point of reference at this juncture is the initial index update task, the execution duration for that task must be used.
Viewing the run history details of an index update task
Verifying time taken to execute the initial index update task
Expand index to include reporting data values
With an incremental index update strategy defined and in place, you might expect there will no longer be any additional search index updates required. However, there is still a factor missing from the equation.
The previous sections covered creating the search index and populating it with both modeled metadata and object properties, but the last dimension to providing users with a complete enhanced search index is the inclusion of data values from the underlying reporting databases.
It shows only the object metadata and properties were included as part of the initial index. To expand this data to include actual data values that are contained within the report and the reporting database, modify the index update task to include one of the following types of data:
Specifies that all data encountered in the models that are within the scope of the indexing task are indexed, regardless of whether the metadata has been used in reports, queries, or analyses After a strategy is devised for which content will have data included in the index, create a new index update task with the appropriate settings and ensure that the scope is set to include only entries that have changed so that this new content is added to the index incrementally.
Restricting the scheduling options
Administrators for IBM Cognos environments are able to control user access to object such as reports, packages, and data sources, as well as access to functionality within the application. Users can access current activities, past activities, upcoming activities, and schedules on the Status tab in IBM Cognos Administration to monitor the server activities and manage schedules (as long as they have been granted access). To grant access to the scheduling functionality independently from the monitoring functionality, use the scheduling capability.
The scheduling capability controls access to the scheduling functionality for items that can be run, such as reports. The following secured features are associated with this function:
Users can set up and change the processing priority of scheduled entries.
Sam Carter is the Administrator for the IBM Cognos environment at the Great Outdoors company. Sam is busy and decides to delegate several of his more simple tasks so that he can pay more attention to other work. Sam decides to permit certain users at the Great Outdoors company to access the IBM Cognos scheduling features so that they can create and manage their own schedules. Because Lynn Cope is an Advanced Business User and Report Author at Great Outdoors company, Sam decides to grant her access to IBM Cognos scheduling capabilities
To simplify the addition of this capability for more users in the future, Sam creates a new role in the Cognos namespace called self-serve scheduling and adds Lynn Cope to that role. Sam now grants scheduling capabilities to the new self-serve scheduling role.
To grant access to scheduling capabilities within IBM Cognos BI:
The Capabilities panel within IBM Cognos Administration
Setting properties to grant access to schedule by hour capabilities
Selecting the custom self-serve scheduling role
Granting access rights
Intra-day scheduling window
Administrators can further manage the distribution of system processing load through the use of intra-day scheduling features for IBM Cognos. Activities within IBM Cognos can be scheduled to execute on a recurring basis within a window of time during a single day. For example, a job can be scheduled to run every 5 minutes between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. on Mondays. Figure shows an example schedule frequency setting that uses the intra-day scheduling feature.
Schedule frequency set to run every 5 minutes between 6:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. on Mondays
Allowing users to persist personal database signons
As an administrator, it can become challenging to manage user signons for large volumes of users across multiple data sources. IBM Cognos allows administrators to empower selected users to manage their own database credentials. This is essential when certain reports require a personalized view of the data instead of a generic result set. For example, a generic database credential is employed when running a summary call center report that compares the hourly breakdown comparison of incoming calls versus resolution rates. If deeper personalized analysis was required, such as managers looking to see their teams’ individual call closure rate, managers could provide, and persist, their own unique database signon.
Empowering users to manage signons
Administrators can provide users with the ability to manage signons by granting them access from within the administration console:
Setting the properties on the manage own data source capability
Assigning execute and traverse actions
Removing the IT burden of managing signons
There are a few scenarios in which the management of data source signons should be managed by IT, for example, when standard defined signons are required to ensure data consistency for all users executing reports. However, in most cases, providing that the users are aware of the necessary credentials, it is a good idea to empower users to manage their own signons.
For users to manage their signons, they must be granted the ability execute and traverse on the manage own data source signons capability, and they cannot have any access to an existing defined signon, managed by IT. There is an order of operation in effect when the query layer is determining which signon to use when the query is executed.
Order of preference for data source signons
Privileged users can optionally persist data source credentials
The key element to this feature is that although it empowers the user to manage his own data source credentials, IT always retains control of the data source authentication strategy. In an IBM Cognos environment that has been deployed with IT managing the data source signons, either deleting the signons or denying everyone access to the existing signons (the most advisable approach), quickly converts the authentication strategy and shifts the responsibility to the user. If corporate policy changes and IT needs to assume responsibility once again, granting the user community access to at least one signon forces the usage of the defined signons, while ignoring the existence of any saved personal credentials
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Ibm Cognos Tutorial
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Overview Of The Ibm Cognos Business Intelligence Architecture
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Business Intelligence Simplified: An Overview
Individual And Collaborative User Experience
Self Service Interface For Business Users
Actionable Analytics Everywhere
Enterprise Ready Performance And Scalability
Ibm Cognos System Administration
Integrating Ibm Cognos Bi With Ibm Cognos Business Analytics Solutions
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