How to be done with Cognos Access Manager (In 4 Steps!)

Cognos Access Manager to Active Directory Several long-time Cognos customers in Western Canada are still using Access Manager to manage security for their IBM Cognos BI environment. (You’re not alone!) It was a great tool that has some handy advantages for administrators, however it is outdated and there are many reasons to move over to Active Directory to manage security going forward. This includes compliance with other server upgrades. We’ve been able to successfully help our customers in Calgary and Victoria make the transition to Active Directory smoothly and easily. Here are the steps we followed and some rough timeframes in case this is on your to-do list in the near future.   Steps to Migrate
  • Purchase and install Avnet BSP Lifecycle SMSS software (we can help)
  • Recreate Access Manager security structure in Active Directory
  • Validate accounts and mapping between AD and Access Manager
  • Migrate each environment (typically Dev, Test, and Production)
  • Basic functionality and user access needs to be tested. However the most important part of testing is to ensure all My Folder objects are available under the new security model.
  • Who should test depends on the environment but it is recommended that each user logs in and checks that their My Folders objects exist in the migrated environment
Keys to Success
  • Minimize changes to accounts
  • Freeze changes to Access Manager so account validation only occurs once
  • Key user involvement for testing and sign-off
  • Timing
  • There are several factors in the timeframe of this type of project, including how many other changes are being made at the same time, however if this is the only project and the basic security structure will stay the same then we can say moving one environment with an average number of objects will take 2-5 days, increasing the number of objects means an increase in the overall duration project. Testing can also increase the overall duration as it may take several days and even weeks before all users have approved the change and confirmed their My Folders objects exist and nothing is missing.
  • It can be so much easier than you think to move over to Active Directory and shut down the old server that’s supporting Access Manager. Ask us how we can help. We can even do this remotely – we can help you wherever you are, not just Calgary, Alberta Canada. (That means US too, and with the Canadian dollar exchange rate we can make this very easy price wise too.)

We would be misleading you to suggest that this method is the only option for moving over to Active Directory – there are other software options and there is a manual approach, however this is the one that we recommend and can back up with happy customers.

Manually moving over accounts introduces greater risks of missing objects, missing scheduled tasks, etc., in addition the time it takes would quickly add up to the equivalent cost of the software purchase unless there are so few users and My folders objects that it wouldn’t be a significant amount of work or lost objects anyway

Other software options are available and should be considered however we like the Avnet BSP Lifecycle SMSS tool for the simplicity of moving all account objects directly over to the new Active Directory accounts. Other options provide an extra layer of mapping between the old and new accounts – this works well but again, we like the simplicity of running this once and being completely transitioned over to Active Directory.



Are you ready to move your Cognos security over to Active Directory? Give us a call and we can set up a meeting to review your environment and come up with some guidelines for making this move. We can meet locally in our Calgary downtown office, in your office or via a conference call.
Data Scientist Data Analyst

So You’re Not a Data Scientist… So What!

You’re not a Data Scientist – You Don’t Need to Be!IBM Cognos Report So you’re not a data scientist but you need more information to do your job. We can help. We have helped many customers just like you in Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, Saskatoon and Regina. Customers that have needed access to information and fast, needed to write a report without going to IT, or needed to make critical business decisions with up to date and accurate information. Even customers that had an idea to improve company performance but needed to show the numbers to prove it. This is what we live and breath…. bringing data together to show real answers, timely, and accurately. IBM Cognos Analytics We use IBM Cognos BI to set up systems for user self service. You no longer need to be a data scientist or an IT guru to get the answers you need. With IBM Cognos you can create your own report and have the answers at your fingertips. DashboardYou can also start with a dashboard to see your department and then drill into more detail. This helps you answer the questions you didn’t know to ask. Why is this area outperforming the other areas? Why is this manager underperforming? Then you can get to how you can help all areas increase their performance. If you know the data is available and you want access at your fingertips we can help. The original Business Intelligence offerings were great options that allowed for clicking and drilling down to discover more detailed information. These quickly hit limits with data volumes, performance, and availability. Years of waiting to provide easier access to business users and true self-service capabilities has paid off. There are options now that we can set up systems and have business users accessing self service reporting options within weeks of starting the project. This enables users to get answers without needing an IT background and without being a data scientist. You can now do so much more than VLookups in Excel. You can drag and drop and create your own report within minutes and re-run it in seconds or schedule it to be delivered to your inbox on a schedule that works for you. These options are so easy now we hardly think to celebrate them. But, if you’re still having to call over to the local expert to run a report for you, or you’re re-creating the same report each month, or worse you can’t get the answers you need… this can change and it doesn’t take a University degree to change it. IBM Watson Analytics Even better than this self service report writing capability is the cognitive analysis available now through IBM Watson Analytics. This takes natural language questions and automatically responds with data displayed suited to the question asked. This is not just a step ahead of easy self-service acces – this is a leap and bound ahead. Simply entering “tell me what my department looks like” results in several graphical displays with different ways of looking at departments. If you like what you see you can see more of the same or click to filter the display in more detail. All of this without extensive setup times or expensive software costs. This really is Advanced Analytics made Easy. Watson Analytics   Watson Analytics  

Visit: IBM Watson Analytics – Take a look and then call us today.

Find out how to use IBM Watson Analytics and see how easy it is to do your job and use Advanced Analytics without being a data scientist. Call us for a demo  (587)-885-1090 or email us at It really can be that easy to make better decisions, quickly, and more accurately… today.    

Calgary Cognos User Group – May 29th Event

Join us for another event hosted by the Calgary Cognos User Group (CCUG) which brings together industry professionals in the business intelligence and analytics space for a fun evening of drinks and networking with friends.

This is an open event for anyone in the local technology community in Calgary, not just Cognos enthusiasts. Everyone is welcome, so bring a friend and come mingle with some local techies.

May 29, 2014 | 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm

@ Craft Beer Market

(345 10 Ave SW)

Sponsored By

Calgary Cognos User Group – April 3rd 2014 Event

Calgary’s Cognos User Group will be hosting an event this April that brings together industry professionals in the business intelligence space.


April 3rd, 2014 Write this down in you agenda & Invite your colleagues! (Door prizes, Food & Drinks)

The IBM Building 227 11 Ave SW


5:00 pm – Welcome to the CCUG

5:10 pm – The Power of Location Analytic by ESRI Canada

5:55 pm – Q & A

6:00 pm – Break | Food | Drinks

6:10 pm – 3D Facial Recognition – Marketing by nVisio

6:55 pm – Q & A

7:00 pm – Data for Good

7:30 pm – Q & A

7:35 pm – Networking

Everyone is welcome! Be sure to RSVP and check out our Invitation. – Bow River Solutions Inc  @ If you have any questions, please contact Oscar Cruz at Call at  (587)-885-1090
Report Studio versus Analysis Studio

Which Studio is the Right Studio? Report Studio vs. Query Studio vs. Analysis Studio

Here a studio, there a studio, everywhere a studio!
IBM Cognos Business Intelligence has a Studio for every job and using the right tool or Studio is the best way to have a smooth experience with Cognos Business Intelligence suite. Some reporting and information gathering can be done in any of the Studios so the choice typically is the Studio that one knows the best – when you have a hammer all the data looks like nails. But for all of the nuts and bolts of the information out there it is helpful to know which tool is the right tool.

Report Studio

Report Studio is the top level tool with all of the bells and whistles. Reports can be made against dimensional data sources or relational data sources and all sorts of complex functions and multiple lists, charts and crosstabs can be used within one report. This Studio is typically used by the developers creating standard reports where formatting requirements are specific or complex reports with multiple pages and complex formatting. This is the tool of choice for the developer creating one standard report for multiple users.
Once you get past the complex reports or the very specific formatting that’s needed in Report Studio the determining factor for tool choice is based on the process of either ‘Query then Analyze’ or ‘Analyze then Query’. Do you know what information you need so you can Query the data and then Analyze it to find what you need? Or will it be a process of you need to find out what’s going on and then you’ll know the right question to ask in an Analyze then Query fashion?

Query Studio

If you know what you are looking for and the importance is in getting the data quickly then turn to Query Studio. This is where you know what you want to report on and you just need the information without worrying about exactly how it will fit to a printed page or how many lines exactly will show up on each page. Query Studio is great at answering these quick questions, but only one question at a time. The complexities can be left to Report Studio while the quickness is in Query Studio. This is typically the studio that business users will be using to the point where they’ll be so comfortable here that they’ll know more about it than most of the developers. Query Studio is the tool for Query then Analyze functionality. The greatness and the downfall of Query Studio lies in it’s simplicity. It’s easy to pick up with a quick tutorial you can be off and running for all of the queries you have, but when it comes to moving beyond simplicity into areas such as creating an ‘IF’ statement within the report this has to be done in Report Studio, or if it’s a standard IF statement then it can be put into the Framework Manager model and used as any other data item.

Analysis Studio

Analysis Studio doesn’t solve the issue with IF statements but it is the tool of choice for the alternative: Analyze then Query type of process. This is, to put it simply, for Analysis. When users are analyzing their business and looking for more information, they don’t have the query already formed in their mind but they want to be on top of whatever is happening then Analysis Studio is the place to go. Here is where you start off by seeing the big picture, with all of the numbers summarized so you can see sales for all regions or inventory for all regions or maybe the total headcount of all employees across the organization, but you start with that big picture. Then in a fashion of ‘Analyze then Query’ you have the ability to drill down into more information. If the numbers look particularly high or low for a given time period or a given region you can click and drill down on that area and find out all the details about this number and what’s necessary to take the next step of action. Beyond the method of working with the information the data sources are also important when choosing a tool. The Analyze then Query functionality is only available with dimensionally modeled data sources where the data is easily summed up along hierarchies and then can be drilled down to see more detail. When the data is not organized in nice hierarchies but is relational then Analysis Studio cannot be used. This is easy to determine as Analysis Studio will only give you the option of opening dimensionally modeled data sources.
So which studio is the right one: to put it generally Report Studio for complex reports, Query Studio for quick answers to queries already in mind and Analysis Studio for quick analysis and further digging. Having said that, my tool of choice is still Analysis Studio, this is the one that really puts the Performance in Performance Management and the Intelligence in Business Intelligence (BI). The other Studios have a lot of value in their areas, but this is the real power of BI; finding the information that business users were not expecting and being able to further query that data to find out more about it.
 We’re always happy to set up a conversation and discuss Cognos and Business Intelligence: helping with examples to show the tools and all their features. We can also discuss the overall vision of BI with examples of how value has been delivered with many business intelligence projects. Send us an email at or call us at  (587)-885-1090  for further information. We’re happy to meet with you at our office in downtown Calgary or at your location in Calgary or western Canada.