What is Cognos Analytics?

Willeke van der Linden explores the benefits of Cognos, and how MACS can assist you to improve your organisation.
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Cognos Analytics

Cognos Analytics is an easy to use interactive business intelligence platform with AI functionalities. At MACS we have developed interactive dashboards and report templates for IBM Control Desk in Cognos Analytics. In this blog we’ll discuss the benefits of using Cognos Analytics

What is Cognos Analytics?

Cognos Analytics is a business intelligence (BI) platform. Because it’s AI-fuelled, it actively identifies possible issues and anomalies in your data, so you can explore your data more effectively. It even has predictive capabilities, so you can plan your resources more accurately based on those predictions. It supports the full cycle of analytics, from exploration to operation. With Cognos Analytics, you can easily visualise and analyse your data. Quickly share your insights with anyone in your organisation so the right person can take action. Create dashboards and reports, or tweak existing ones to perfectly fulfil your needs.

What MACS offer

At MACS, we can deploy Cognos Analytics for Control Desk for you. We install Pentaho Data Integration ETL-Tool Spoon​, Cognos Framework Manager​, and Cognos Analytics​. As a result, you get Ready to use Pentaho ETL Jobs and Transformations​, Cognos Framework Manager Packages​, and Report and Dashboard Templates​.

In addition, we offer interactive dashboards and reports for service requests, incidents, problems, and service catalogue. With MACS Cognos Analytics, you can easily drill down between these dashboards and reports. This will help you gain insight and discover the causes of irregularities or problems.

Besides, Cognos allows you to reuse our dashboards and reports and modify them to fit your exact needs. Or build reports and dashboards in just five simple steps:

  1. Select a template
  2. Select a source
  3. Select a visualisation
  4. Select the fields
  5. Get your results

It’s as easy as that. In just a few clicks you can build your own visualisations and then share them within your organisation. If you prefer solutions tailored to fit your business needs, our consultants can assist or create reports and dashboards for you.

Benefits of MACS Cognos Analytics

  • Cost neutral: included in IBM Control Desk 7.6.1 and IBM Maximo
  • Easy to use
  • Fast and Flexible
  • Ready to use visualisations of your service desk performance
  • Detect problems at a glance
  • Ready to use reports of your service desk performance
  • In Time Reports and Dashboards via Mail

MACS Cognos Dashboards for Control Desk

Cognos Analytics is an easy to use interactive business intelligence platform with AI functionalities. At MACS we have developed interactive dashboards and report templates for Control Desk in Cognos Analytics. With our dashboards and reports, you can easily and quickly gain insights into your Service Requests, Incidents, Problems and Service Catalogue.

Dashboards for service requests

Our MACS Dashboards for Control Desk include a dashboard for service requests, incidents, problems, and service catalogue. As an example, we’ll discuss the service request dashboard. Its goal is to provide insight into your service desk performance with visualisations that are easy to interpret. The dashboard consists of three tabs, one for service request health, one for service request operations. The dashboards in this blog are based on demo data, which we’ve attempted to make as representative of an actual service desk as possible.

Service Request Health
Service Request Health

Service request health

In the upper part of the dashboard, four numbers are displayed.

The first number from the left displays the number of open service requests. The next number indicates the service requests that were opened today. The aim is to have low numbers for both. Then we see the number of service requests that were closed by service desk agents – as opposed to service requests that were closed by someone in the second line. The goal is to have high percentages here.

In the lower half of the dashboard are four charts. In the pie chart on the left, you can see the number of open requests for each status. This helps you to see if too many requests stay open in a certain status for example. In the next chart, you can see only the requests that were opened today, and how long ago they were created. In this example, the requests were all created more than one hour ago, so we only see the lower bar.

The next pie chart shows you the open requests by resolver group. Each resolver group normally translates to a different department in your organisation. As such, this pie chart helps you to understand the workloads for the different groups or departments. The final chart displays the SLA compliance. In our example, there are six requests due today, one is due tomorrow and finally, eight more requests need to be solved within the next week to comply with their SLA. This helps you to estimate the amount of work based on service requests for the upcoming week.

Dive deeper into your data

Besides displaying this information in basic visualisations, Cognos allows you to dive deeper into the data. If you click on one of the segments of a pie chart, the entire dashboard will be filtered on just the data in that segment. In the example below, we’ve clicked on the segment for ‘QUEUED’ in the Open SR by status pie chart. Instantly, the entire dashboard is filtered to only include the ten requests with status queued. This helps you to quickly understand your data on deeper levels.

Service Request Health 2
Service Request Health 2

Service request operations

Service Desk Operations
Service Desk Operations

The second tab in this dashboard provides information about service desk operations. We can easily see that all service requests in our demo service desk have an SLA applied. However, only very few have a solution applied, nor do they use a service catalogue. It appears this demo service desk doesn’t use ICD solutions or service catalogue to its fullest potential!

Further, we can see that on average a request is reassigned 1.226 times. This value should ideally lie between 1 and 2, so this looks good. We see another number of graphs, which help you see who resolves requests individually and per group, provide information about classifications and whether the service requests are resolved timely.  In the final chart, we see service requests which were not assigned. We’ll use this graph to explain how we can use Cognos Analytics Insights.

If we click on the looking glass icon in the top right of the graph, the Insights box opens. The Insights functionality can be toggled on or off. When we turn it on, the average is calculated, and Cognos Analytics looks for meaningful differences. In this case, 1 meaningful difference is found.

SR not assigned insights
SR not assigned insights
Service Request not assigned
Service Request not assigned

When we hover over the one difference that is found, the difference is briefly explained. The ticket count is unusually high when #NotAssignedDays is 0. Since this graph should display when tickets when they are not assigned, it makes sense to exclude the tickets which were never unassigned for more than one day.

Now that we’ve turned on Insights, we go back to the graph. If we right click on the bar for 0 Not Assigned Days, the following information is displayed:

Ticket Count
Ticket Count

Again, we are notified that this value has an unusually high ticket count at the 95% confidence level. With the buttons below, we can instantly filter, keep or exclude this value. We choose for the exclude option on the right. Cognos will now exclude all tickets with value 0 for Not Assigned Days for this graph. Now, we can see more clearly that in our demo service desk some tickets have not been assigned for far too long. Further exploration of why these tickets have not been assigned for so long may be necessary. Of course, this is based on demo data, so these exceptions are more common than in a productive environment.

SR Not assigned (in days)
SR Not assigned (in days)

Service requests – other visualisations

The last tab page we have in our MACS service request dashboard is called other visualisations. Here we find two visualisations. First, there is a graph of the amount of tickets per month for the last five years. We can see a trend where we normally have a busy month in January, which decreases in February, only to increase again around March and April.

The second graph shows the ticket count per day, for March through half may. In this example, Cognos is set to make a prediction for the next ten days, and as such we have a forecast of how many service requests can be expected.

Service Requests other visualisations
Service Requests other visualisations

Other dashboards

Besides the dashboard for service requests, MACS has created dashboards for incidents, problems, and service catalogue. If you have questions or would like to see more, contact us, and we’ll be happy to answer your questions or show you a demo of our other MACS Cognos dashboards – info@macs.eu

Alternatively, to see an example of how a general Cognos dashboard works and how you can interact with it, we recommend you explore the IBM covid-19 dashboard.