July 2019, by Paul Hausser, Envisn, Inc.
Nearly every Cognos environment that’s been operational for a period of time has a large number of scheduled reports. These reports are essential to managing day to day performance against operational goals, and thus, need to be regularly produced. Often, the longer a given report has been in use the more people rely on it to be available when needed. Over time clusters of key reports are put in place for each functional area of the organization, and if managed well people get what they need when it’s needed.
Over time Cognos Analytics has evolved scheduling and the options available for that have expanded significantly. But for Cognos administrators that have to manage these in the aggregate, if not always individually, this can present a challenge when problems arise. Simply even knowing what objects are scheduled across the environment can be can be a problem.
Some of the more obvious questions that Cognos administrators frequently have:
- Which reports have schedules applied to them?
- What is the frequency of the schedules?
- Who is the schedule owner of each of the reports?
- Who are the recipients of scheduled reports?
- What triggers are used to initiate scheduled reports? What is the frequency with which a given trigger is used?
- Which reports have no recipients assigned to them?
- Are the reports actually being used?
While Cognos makes it possible to see details on upcoming scheduled reports these are presented simply as a list of upcoming scheduled objects. And while you can open up each one in the admin console, you have to drill down through multi-level menus to get any needed information. The point here is that within Cognos there is no possibility of being able to look across your profile of scheduled objects and analyze them in any way.
Using Envisn’s NetVisn tool we see in figure 1 below a sample of all scheduled reports in our Cognos environment grouped by schedule type. There’s a lot of detail here but that’s often true of scheduled reports in any environment and we need access to that detail.
Here in figure 2 below we see essentially the same schedule data but grouped by location instead of schedule type.
We also have the option of grouping this same schedule data by schedule owner. That way if there is a problem with a scheduled report we could simply notify the schedule owner that it needs to be fixed.
A key message here is that as the options within Cognos Analytics keep expanding so does the need for administrators to have the right tools to manage their environment. For example, we might want to address more than just having the right schedule data that we have shown here. A good place to start would be the last two items on the list of questions shown above. Looking at those scheduled reports that have no recipients assigned to them should probably cause us to think about cancelling those reports. And looking at the actual usage data of report recipients is another area worth exploring. These things are all possible with easy access to the right data.
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