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TechTalk recap: Reducing TCO with IBM Cognos solutions
Delaney Turner 270002T14M firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  techtalk tco cognos_platform
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In last week's TechTalk Web seminar, more than 160 people tuned in to hear IBM Cognos product marketing manager Andreas Coucopoulos explore the ways the IBM Cognos platform can help IT can reduce the effort and complexity involved in managing a BI deployment. Below, he's answered the questions that came up in the Q&A portion. If you have additional questions about this topic, feel free to email him. If there's a topic you'd like to see covered in TechTalk, feel free to email me.
What skills are required from business users to learn the BI Tools ?
Limited skills are required. Leveraging the zero -footprint, Web-based environment users can quickly consume and interact with reports leveraging basic Web skills. With our purpose-built capabilities and intuitive interfaces, users of all skill sets can quickly take advantage of the IBM Cognos BI solution.
How do you set up alert agents?
The System Management Methodology provides some examples of how to set up alert agents, but at a high level, Event Studio is used to build an agent that monitors for specific conditions or values. Once the conditions are met, a report, an email, or other actions can be executed.
Are these systems metrics dashboards available out-of-the-box, or do they have to be created?
The administration dashboards are provided with the System Management Methodology download. These dashboards are meant as an example and can be modified to suit any purpose. Because the Framework Manager model is provided, custom reports or dashboards can also be created. You can learn more in our White Paper, "Better System Management" or download the Methodology from IBM developerWorks.
I have 23 servers I need to monitor - how can that be done?
The Administration Console is designed and built to service all of the servers and dispatchers that are a part of a single IBM Cognos environment. In other words, all of the servers that are included in the same Production environment can be managed and monitored from within the same web interface. It is not possible to leverage this web interface to monitor multiple IBM Cognos environments, for example the Development AND Production environments. Using the System Management Methodology, it is possible to export the metrics and load them into a relational database. This allows administrators to build reports and dashboards that can span multiple environments all within a single source of data.
How does one learn how to size the hardware for Cognos BI?
Documentation on capacity planning and load testing is available on the IBM Cognos proven practices site. Also, IBM offers solution planning services,
How does this apply to the K12 school systems? The world of education is much different than the business world!
Yes it is. We have a number of school boards leveraging BI solutions to deliver better and more service-focused programs. For System Management, it revolves around the monitoring of the usage patterns and activity of the IBM Cognos application. Although the usage patterns and activities may differ between industry sectors, the principles remain the same. The monitoring remains consistent, but through collecting the system details, you have the opportunity to create reports and dashboards that are tailored to suit the specific needs of the administrator, regardless of the industry sector.
Do you need any special module to create the dashboard, or just use Query Studio or Report Studio to build Dashboards using existing reports?
No. Many of our customers leverage our 'in the box' portal, IBM Cognos Connection, as their dashboard solution. Simply creating reports and then posting them to IBM Cognos Connection can deliver a very compelling dashboard solution to meet the needs of your user community.
For administrators, is installation of a client version required, or is the tool entirely Web-based?
The system management Administration Console is all Web-based with no client requirements. There are techniques within the System Management Methodology that would require a client element if they were adopted. For example, using Tivoli Directory Integrator or another ETL tool to bulk load the system metrics into a relational database, which enabled system trending reporting.
Tell us more about end-users "pulling" reports with the complex UI. A more "published portal" for users to visit that is clean and easy to retrieve reports.
IBM Cognos Connection is our 'in-the-box' portal. Customers use this powerful capability to post and display relevant report and information for their users to access.
How can we differentiate metric studio and same KPIs developed using Report Studio, talking about technical aspects ?
Metric studio is designed specifically to create scorecards and the appropriate KPIs or metrics that represent the status of any given strategic objective. KPIs with appropriate thresholds showing status against actuals and targets are easily defined. Report Studio can report off the Metric Studio content store and as a result, can display any scorecard and corresponding KPI information.
Does IBM Cognos software access each distinct data source directly or does it access a data warehouse were the data is already aggregated?
The IBM Cognos 8 Platform provides you with the flexibility to determine the best information architecture to address your business needs and also optimize your information infrastructure. Direct access optimized by source allows you to immediately leverage any mix of existing data integration and management technologies that exist within you organization. High performance federated access allows data to be combined from multiple sources on the fly, creating virtual views that can combine both current and historic data as a single, easy to query view. The IBM Cognos 8 Platform provides you with an integrated dimensional ETL capability (IBM Cognos 8 Data Manager) and integration with third-party tools.
Do you have documentation to help scope out the TCO? (A toolkit or roadmap?)
The process of capturing both TCO and ROI both begin with thoroughly understanding the manner in which you BI strategy and the impact that the solution will have on existing processes and tools. Our Business Value Insight team uses a framework called the Value Impact Profile to ensure organizational objectives have been properly mapped to the extended value of our solutions.
We have developed ROI models that examine both the cost and benefits of our primary solutions. If you are interested in learning more about these tools, please reach out to your account team for additional information.
Can you give some info on IBM Cognos 8 Mashup Service?
You can find more information here.