IBM Cognos and Motio Best Practices Blog

Cognos Cleanup: Leveraging the Audit Database with MotioPI

Posted by Lisa Zavetz on Tue, Jul 18, 2017 @ 08:20 AM
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As you use Cognos throughout the years, your environments tend to get cluttered. These extra reports cause Cognos to lag, and become less efficient. MotioPI, the free tool from Motio, can help get your Cognos environment back to running efficiently. MotioPI will not only help you to eliminate extraneous reports, but in this blog post, we will help you to identify the questions you may ask to ensure you are cleaning properly.

Now, where to start on your journey to declutter Cognos? Is deleting the reports that take the longest to run the best way to clean up? How about deleting the reports that haven’t been run in 1 year? Do you have any reports that have never been viewed? What’s the point in keeping those?

Thinking about those questions will help you figure out which reports can go. And I wouldn’t be a good Motio employee if I didn’t tell you how, with a few simple clicks, MotioPI can help you. I will walk you through a couple use cases on how MotioPI communicates with the Audit Database in Cognos.

Login to MotioPI Professional, and configure the Audit integration:

  1. Upon logging into MotioPI, select “Edit Preferences” from the top right toolbar.
  2. Select “Audit information” from the Preferences box.
  3. Select the “Edit” button, and click on “Audit.”

Configure the Audit Integration
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Now that the Audit information is integrated, MotioPI allows you to query the following:

  • Last Run Time - Search for reports that haven’t been run in a year. It is probable that reports not run within a specified time are outdated, and only serve to clog up your Cognos environment. These reports not run in a specified time are a good candidate for deletion!
  • Last Run By- If somebody leaves the company, it’s likely that their reports no longer need to be run. If they are no longer necessary, delete those bad boys! Additionally, if you are trying to cleanup reports, you can check who last ran a report, and ask them why they ran it. If the report becomes a duplicate, set it free!
  • Last Run Duration- See the use case below:

Last Run Time and Last Run Duration
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In MotioPI, you may also filter by these audit criteria. That is, you can edit the filters to search by “last run duration.” In this example, we will be querying for reports whose last run duration was greater than 10 seconds.

Run Duration 10 Seconds
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If a report is taking too long to run (“too long” is determined by you, but in this situation, too long means over 10 seconds to run), it could imply an underlying issue. Deleting or altering these reports can save space in your Cognos environment!

Run Duration Results Seconds
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Another panel in MotioPI, the Output Panel, can help you determine which reports ought to be terminated. Where the aforementioned Content Panel brings in info from the Cognos Audit DB to shed information on report functionality, the Output Panel answers questions like: are these outputs being used? Can I clean up these large outputs that nobody is using? Which reports have never been viewed?

Use the Output Panel to see:

Who last viewed an output, and when- When was the last time somebody needed this output? If a report hasn’t been viewed in years, why are you keeping it around? You can see who last viewed an output, and ask that employee if they still need it. If they say no- delete, delete, delete!

Reports that have never been viewed- Reports that haven’t been viewed ever are a big candidate for deletion, because they aren’t being utilized. Perhaps a report author made them unnecessarily.

Last Viewed By
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(Note that all the information here is able to be downloaded to an Excel file.)

The final panel of MotioPI that integrates with data from the Audit database is the User Access panel. The User access panel answers the question: who is logging into Cognos (or not logging in) regularly?

You can run a query in the User Access panel of the Cognos login names. Pulling from the Cognos database, MotioPI displays the last login date of each user.

Last Login Date
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Now, there are many uses for the User Access panel. But keeping with the theme of cleaning up Cognos, we will use it for just that. The User Access panel will help you to determine which users are utilizing the software (and which are not.) If a user hasn’t logged in within a selected time frame, they may have left the company. Or perhaps their department moved away from Cognos. (And if they are using other BI tools, now is a good time to think about Theia.) At that point, you need to determine to keep their account active or not. But by deleting the “My Folders” of anybody who is not utilizing Cognos anymore, you continue to clean up the environment.

By the end of this blog post, you now know not only the proper questions to ask, but also how to find the answers using MotioPI’s integration with the Cognos data base.

You may Download MotioPI or Replay the Webinar that goes into more details.