Creating Effective Dashboards
in Cognos 8
June 25th, 2009
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What are Dashboards?
Three rules of Dashboards
What to ask when creating Dashboards
Examples of Dashboards
Creating Dashboards with Cognos 8
What are Dashboards?
Currently two deﬁni/ons of a dashboard:
A single page display that is readable at a glance
A frequently updated analy/cal display that is clear and concise
A be;er Deﬁni/on:
A frequently updated, clear and concise page that is readable at a glance.
TIP: A dashboard reader should be able to get a “health check” in about 45 seconds
from the dashboard. Put important informa/on in the top leH corner.
Scorecards VS Dashboards?
The terms Scorecards and Dashboards are some/mes used interchangeably
Scorecards and Dashboards are not the same thing:
Dashboards are generally more dimensionally biased and usually have the ability
to add more dimensional context.
Dashboards are more opera/onal in nature and data is usually updated more
Dashboards usually answer one or just a few performance type ques/ons and
performance is quickly gleaned with just a glance.
Scorecards are very performance management centric…think accountability, goals
and performance improvement.
Scorecards are more strategic in nature and data is updated less frequently.
Scorecards are generally less graphic.
Dashboards may contain some scorecard elements.
3 Rules of Dashboards
Dashboards have to be accessible
TIP: Jus/fy the cost of a second monitor and place your dashboard webpage on
the second monitor.
TIP: S/ll using XP? Turn on Ac/ve Desktop and display your Dashboard on the
Dashboards have to be clear and concise
TIP: Place the most important ac/onable informa/on in the top leH corner.
TIP: Only use gauges if you have 4 or fewer needles
Keep the results simple and accurate.
If the data is suspect, don’t include it on the Dashboard
What to ask when creating dashboards
There are several key ques/ons that need to be asked when crea/ng dashboards:
What are the Key Metrics? (TIP: Keep metrics to 10 or less)
Is the informa/on ac/onable?
If not, don’t include it on the dashboard.
Does the dashboard contain context?
Can a reader quickly establish the source, freshness and quality of the data?
Cognos 8 Dashboards
Several ways to create Cognos 8 Dashboards:
A Report Studio Report containing several report objects
A Page Portal to organize mul/ple reports and other objects on one tab
Cognos 8.4 GO Dashboard
This webinar concentrates on crea/ng dashboards using Page Portals.
Dashboard design is as much an art as a science.
What will work in one organiza/on will be thrown out in another organiza/on.
Cognos 8 Page Portal Dashboards
Cognos connec/on can contain mul/ple tabs that contain dashboard portlets.
Portlets can contain Cognos viewer, HTML Items, RSS feeds, Search Portlets,
Naviga/on portlets, Images, customized portlets using WSRP and more
Cognos 8 Page Portal Portlets
A Cognos 8 Page Portal Dashboard is usually made up of Newsitems, Charts,
Maps, Naviga/on portlets to Popular reports, scorecards, lists and crosstabs
Newsitems are created using Event Studio
Great way to create alerts based on mul/ple criteria:
Sales drops by 10 percent
Invoice past due 30, 60, 90 days
Reminders to contact clients
There are many Charts to choose from in Cognos 8:
Column, Bar, Progressive, Pareto, Line, Pie, Area, Combina/on, Sca;er, Bubbles,
Radar, Guage, Ranges, Microcharts
TIP: Use a chart that tells the story in a simple and clean manner. Don’t just use a
Guage because it “looks cool”. If a pie chart works be;er, then use it!
Maps allow you tell a Geographic or loca/on story.
Several Maps are included with Cognos 8.4.
You can download updated ones from IBM Cognos website
Map Manager allows you to import maps that you may have created with an
mapping tool such as MapInfo
TIP: Think outside the box. MapInfo can create maps of anything: the human body,
Cars, Manufacturing equipment, etc.
Scorecards allow you to align your current performance with your company’s overall
Cognos Metric Portlets include: History Charts, Lists, Custom Diagrams and Impact
Naviga/on portlets allow for quick naviga/on to common or important reports or
TIP: Create a Page Portal that contains two columns. One with a couple of naviga/on
portlet and the other with a Cognos Viewer portlet. Have any report that is clicked
in the naviga/on portlet viewed in the Cognos Viewer portlet.
Use Event Studio to create Alerts that will appear in top leH Corner.
Use Event Studio to send emails about the cri/cal alerts.
Use Sparklines (microcharts) to add visual relevance to lists and crosstabs.
Create a report that references the last update date of the dashboard’s data.
Gauges should be limited to 4 or fewer needles.
Keep color schemes simple. Use the excel color scheme for visual acceptance.
Place the dashboard on an execu/ves desktop, if they use Windows XP.
Create a scheduled job to run all the reports for the dashboard and have that job
called by a trigger event – such as a db refresh.
Scorecards and Dashboards are diﬀerent. A Dashboard can contain Scorecards.
Dashboards are not sta/c – expect them to change and morph within the ﬁrst 18
Contact us for more informa/on about dashboards or your company’s BI needs:
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