IBM BI Audit & Best practices

Business Intelligence and Performance Management initiatives are by essence evolving over time. The requirements are changing, the amount of data stored and/or processed is growing, the numbers of users, applications or components running on it are increasing; all those changes require a frequent assessment of the platform used to check and validate that it can still fulfill the initial needs and serve new ones.

This kind of audit should be used as a way to prevent problems to occur and therefore should be done on a preventive and recurring basis but it can also be used to identify the root causes of a problem when a platform is not behaving as it should be.

The main purpose of the audit will be to assess if the IBM Cognos platform is configured and used according to the proven and commonly used best practices in order to deliver the best information possible in the best possible conditions. Therefore the audit will cover aspects such as :

  • Hardware architecture
  • Software architecture, installation and configuration
  • Usage of the different IBM Cognos components
  • Procedures to maintain the platform and to transfer the projects between the different environments
  • Integration of the different components with each other
  • Modeling techniques

element61 has extensive experience in how to successfully set-up and configure an IBM Cognos environment depending on its size and context. Therefore our consultants can assist you in auditing your IBM Cognos Business Intelligence and Performance Management platform in order to check it against proven practices and best practices. The result of this audit will be a list of recommended actions with an estimate of the costs and expected benefits attached to them to improve the platform and its usage in order to secure the investment made in it. Our consultants can also implement those remedies.

Many IBM Cognos Business Intelligence environments have started off as a small pilot project, and have grown bigger and bigger over time. In many cases, little attention has been given on how to design and implement the different components in an optimal way. This might have worked well during the pilot project, but the lack of a planned architecture and implementation standards soon becomes a problem when the environment grows over time.

These problems can be very different in nature:

  • Performance problems
  • Maintaining the security of the IBM Cognos BI environment has become very complex
  • Maintaining the models of the IBM Cognos BI environment has become very complex
  • Difficulty to shield the impact of the development work on the existing reports that are in use by the end-users
  • Reports built on the framework packages and/or cubes produce incorrect results
  • The framework packages and/or cubes are too difficult to use by the end-users

element61 has a lot of experience on how to successfully set-up and configure an IBM Cognos BI environment, whether it's a small environment using only a few components, or a large full-blown IBM Cognos BI environment. Therefore element61 can assist in best practices on the different aspects of the set-up and configuration of an IBM Cognos BI environment, tailored to the needs of any company.

In case an IBM Cognos BI environment is already in place, element61 can audit this environment. This can be a focused audit to solve some specific problems with the application, or it can be a full audit to make sure that the local BI team will be best positioned to face any future Business Intelligence challenges.

The best practices as well as the audit can cover all of the below aspects:

  • Hardware architecture: how many servers are needed, which type of server is needed, how to split between web servers, application servers, transformer servers,
  • Software installation architecture: configuration of web server, the IBM Cognos gateway, the IBM Cognos application server
  • Choice of security provider, integration with existing company LDAP or set-up of new LDAP specific for the IBM Cognos BI environment
  • Set-up of a class hierarchy within the LDAP to ensure efficient security maintenance
  • Different IBM Cognos BI environments for controlled release management: Development, Acceptance, Test, Production, Training,
  • Procedures to transfer IBM Cognos content from one environment to another
  • How have the frameworks been modeled, how many frameworks exist next to each other, has the correct security been applied within the framework model ?
  • How have the cube transformer models been modeled, has the correct security been applied within the transformer model ?
  • Is scheduling and bursting used where it is useful ?

element61 also has experience with environments where IBM Cognos BI, IBM Cognos Planning, IBM TM1 or IBM Cognos Controller are combined within the same environment, maximizing the possible synergies between the BI suite and the financial modules of the IBM CPM Cognos suite.

Contact us to learn more about our IBM Cognos Audit and Best Practices Service Offering!