Cognos to Power BI: Accelerating Timelines & Business Value

If you have Cognos and are moving to (or thinking about moving to) Power BI, you’ll find yourself asking many questions, such as: 

  • Which reports should we migrate? 
  • How big a project is it?  
  • How can we get running on Power BI most efficiently and successfully? 

View this on-demand webinar to learn how you can significantly shorten the Cognos migration timeline and expedite the time to realizing business value with Power BI and the Microsoft BI ecosystem. You will get a practical understanding of what it takes to successfully roll off Cognos and roll out Power BI.  

  • The challenges of migrating from Cognos to a new platform  
  • Migration approaches: manual vs. automated, pros and cons 
  • Demos of Senturus migration accelerators 
  • Key considerations when publishing and distributing migrated content in Power BI 

Presenters

Steve Reed Pitman
Director of Enterprise Architecture and Engineering
Senturus, Inc. 

Steve is adept across many facets of analytics including data architecture in physical, virtual and cloud environments. With a client list that spans the Fortune 500 to Inc. 5000, he transitions easily from the server room to the boardroom, speaking the language and understanding the priorities, risks and complexity that accompany the selection, implementation and operation of technology in fast-moving enterprises. 

Arturo Ayala
Lead Software Developer, Migration Accelerators
Senturus, Inc.

Devon Reddick
Analytics Architect
Senturus, Inc.

Machine transcript

0:11
Hello everyone and welcome today’s Senturus webinar on migrating from Cognos Power BI, accelerating timelines and business value.

0:21
Thanks as always for joining us and quick overview of today’s agenda.

0:26
We’ll do some quick introductions of the presenters.

0:29
It’s not just going to be me today.

0:30
I’m joined by a couple of colleagues.

0:32
So we’ll do some quick introductions, talk a little bit about the challenges of migration in general and then we’ll talk about some of the pros and cons of doing a migration manually versus doing an accelerator assisted migration.

0:45
And from there, we’ll do a demo of our migration Assistant tool and the report Instant Migrator component that comes with Migration Assistant.

0:55
We’ll wrap up with an overview of Senturus and some links to additional resources on our website.

1:01
And then as I said, we’ll do some live Q&A at the end to address some of your specific questions.

1:09
Quick introductions, I’m Steve Reed Pittman, Director of Enterprise Architecture and Engineering here at Senturus.

1:15
You’ve probably heard me here before.

1:16
I do a lot of our webinars or I should say I am see a lot of our webinars.

1:20
But I’m actually presenting some of the material here today and I am joined today by Arturo Ayala.

1:27
Arturo is our lead software development for our migration accelerators and Arturo will be driving all of the demos today.

1:34
So Arturo, thanks for being here.

1:38
And we’re also joined by Devin Reddick.

1:41
Devin is an analytics architect here at Senturus and Devin is going to be speaking here and there today.

1:47
Just about some of the considerations when you go to Power BI and some of the kind of big picture, you know, issues that come up when you’re doing a migration.

1:56
So Devin, thanks for joining us.

1:58
Thank you.

2:02
All right, before we get into the details of the presentation, I want to run a couple of quick polls.

2:07
So the first poll here was just what is your best guess of the number of reports you have in your Cognos environment?

2:16
So I’ve opened up the poll here and I’ll just leave it open maybe for 30 or 45 seconds.

2:21
So the question is how many reports do you think you have?

2:24
And of course, that can be a tricky question to answer sometimes, but most Cognos admins at least have a sense of what’s out there.

2:33
Especially in team content.

2:34
Often it’s hard to know what’s in users, my folders, or my content.

2:39
So I’m going to go ahead and close out the poll here and share those results for a moment, just so everybody can see.

2:47
So it’s like about 1/4 of you have relatively small environments, less than 500 reports, a little bigger group of you in that 500 to 1000 range and a little bit of spread at the at the higher levels.

3:02
So I’m going to stop sharing that and do one more quick poll before we move on.

3:10
And this is just the question is what are your future plans for Cognos?

3:14
Do you plan to keep Cognos long term?

3:16
We find some customers plan to keep Cognos and another platform indefinitely.

3:23
Are you looking to migrate off of Cognos completely over the next couple of years, looking to migrate off of Cognos in the next 12 months or are you already in that process and we find folks you know at all stages of migrations here and we can help you know in all of these phases.

3:40
So but it’s always nice to know just kind of where you are.

3:43
So I’m going to go ahead and end that poll, share out those results for a minute so everybody can see.

3:54
And as I said, it looks like actually almost 60% of you are planning to keep Cognos for the long term.

4:00
So a lot of plans to kind of hold on to your Cognos environment.

4:05
And then .40% total looking to start a migration sometime in the next year or two.

4:11
So let’s go ahead and stop sharing that, and I’m going to go ahead and launch into some of our detailed presentation here.

4:21
So first, I want to talk a little bit about just the general challenges of migrations.

4:25
Anybody who’s faced A migration before or is facing a migration today knows that migrations can be big, hairy, scary projects.

4:35
So the first question of migration is where do I even begin?

4:38
And in in the world of Cognos, that tends to start with, well, how many reports are there, right?

4:44
How many reports do we have in Team Content?

4:47
How many reports are hiding inside user’s individual My Content folders?

4:51
And there’s often a lot of reports scrawl inside the My Content folders.

4:57
How do I figure out what doesn’t need to be migrated?

5:00
You know, there’s a lot of stuff that can just be left behind in a migration, and it’s really, really important to identify that stuff upfront because you don’t want to waste time and resources moving content that simply is not needed.

5:14
And beyond that, even once you know what does need to migrate, how do you prioritize it, right?

5:18
How do you decide what is the most important you know?

5:22
And that might be, you know, a function of what’s easiest.

5:24
It might be a function of what is most valuable to the executive team that you know.

5:29
There are lots of ways to think about prioritization, but it’s something you really need to do up front to make sure you’re doing your migration in the most efficient, effective way possible.

5:41
And what question that often comes up is, would I be better off just starting from scratch?

5:46
Should I even try to migrate my legacy platform to a new platform or should we just rebuild from the ground up?

5:55
So that becomes a question also.

5:59
So when you’re trying to get started, one of the first big challenges, and frankly one of the most tedious things in a migration is creating an inventory of what you’ve already got, right.

6:10
What do we have out there?

6:11
What do we actually use, what isn’t used, what’s redundant?

6:16
I mean, especially in Cognos, you find people making copies of copies of copies of reports and then making, you know, one small modification or just making a copy of a report without any modifications.

6:27
And you’ve got three people with three different reports that actually are identical reports.

6:33
So you want to figure out what’s redundant.

6:36
And creating a content inventory is typically a lot of grunt work beyond having an inventory.

6:45
You got to think about the broad plan of your migration.

6:48
And really we tend to think about that in two ways.

6:50
You’ve got your platform road map to consider and you’ve got your content road map to consider.

6:56
So for the platform side, you know, there’s a question of what do we do with our data platform.

7:01
You know, what do we do with the underlying databases that are feeding our BI tools versus the road map for the BI platform.

7:09
And we’re finding more and more that most organizations are not just trying to do ABI migration these days.

7:15
They’re also planning to modernize their data platform.

7:19
So then you’re faced with the question, do I migrate my data platform first to migrate both of them in parallel.

7:25
And those things can be driven by budgets, they can be driven by business concerns, but they’re both big challenges and you want to really think about them upfront.

7:37
Beyond the platform road map, you also want the content road map.

7:40
And this goes back to some of the stuff I was saying about your content inventory.

7:44
You really want to figure out upfront which things can we eliminate, which things can we consolidate?

7:50
Because often you’ll have many reports that are just it’s slightly different from each other and you can often take those and turn that into one consolidated report in the new environment.

8:01
And then you also want to think about what can be streamlined because there’s often a lot of old, you know, sort of craft in your existing environment.

8:09
There often are pieces of old Cognos packages that are no longer used, and a lot of that stuff can be simplified, you know, when you move to the new platform.

8:21
All right, so now you’ve planned your migration, you need to execute it.

8:25
How are you going to execute your migration?

8:27
Question number one, who’s going to do the work?

8:30
You know?

8:30
Do you have the internal resources to do that?

8:32
Do you have a team that you’re expecting to take care of all the migration?

8:37
Do you want to outsource it?

8:38
Do you want a combination?

8:40
So you just need to think about who your resources will be for doing the actual migration activities, and also what level of expertise do they need right for?

8:50
For Cognos to Power BI, of course you need to have experts in Cognos and you need to have experts in Power BI, so much the better If you have people who are experts in both, those are those sorts of unicorns are harder to find.

9:03
We have a couple of them, But you definitely need to have people who understand both sides of the equation when you’re doing this kind of migration.

9:13
You also need to figure out how long it’s going to take.

9:16
And this comes back to the question of prioritization and really figuring out what’s going to give you kind of the biggest bang for buck, bang for your buck in the least amount of time when you’re trying to migrate to your new platform.

9:31
And last but not least, you need to have a plan for how you’re going to track changes in utilization.

9:36
And this really applies across both your legacy platform and your new platform, right?

9:41
You want to, you want to see the people are that you want to see declining usage on your legacy platform as you’re moving through your migration, right.

9:49
And you want to see increased adoption of the new platform.

9:53
And that takes more than just the technical steps of moving the content, right.

10:00
I mean there’s a whole culture shift that happens when you move to a new reporting platform.

10:04
And so you want to be able to track, you know, what’s happening with adoption, the new platform and reduction in utilization of the old.

10:15
All right.

10:15
So I’m going to talk a little bit about manual migrations now, Manual migrations, I mean, anybody who’s dealt with the migration knows that to do a manual migration is a very heavy lift.

10:26
It’s expensive.

10:27
It’s time consuming.

10:29
There’s a lot of repetitive stuff that happens in a migration.

10:33
And so doing it manually takes a lot of effort.

10:36
You have to individually open and catalog everything in your old environment just to figure out what you’ve got.

10:42
Then, at least with Cognos, you can leverage the Cognos audit data to understand a little bit about usage, and you can see how frequently certain reports are used.

10:53
The downside of Cognos audit data alone is that you can’t see reports that haven’t been used at all, because the Cognos audit database only tracks actual execution, so it’s harder to find things that are that aren’t in use at all.

11:08
Once you’ve done all that, you have to decide what content you’re going to migrate and then you manually rebuild it, right?

11:14
You build everything from the ground up in Power BI.

11:17
So the pro of this approach is that your Power BI environment is all brand new and shiny.

11:24
And you know, if you’re building from scratch, you have the opportunity to really just kind of reinvent and rethink everything.

11:31
But again, it’s a lot of time, a lot of effort and it doesn’t take advantage of the fact that you have all of this time and energy invested from the past in developing your Cognos models.

11:43
And there’s so much business logic typically in a Cognos package that you really do want to be able to leverage that you know, that sort of institutional knowledge from the past.

11:53
Do you want to be able to bring that into your new environment?

11:58
All right.

11:58
So if we don’t do a manual list migration, what’s another option?

12:03
An option available today is an accelerator assisted migration.

12:08
Now today we’re going to talk a little bit about, or not a little bit.

12:11
We’re going to talk about the Senturus Migration Assistant with its Report Instant Migrator component.

12:17
And what these tools do is they do all that cataloging that I talked about earlier.

12:21
A migration assistant also captures everything in users, my content folders, which if you’re a Cognos admin, you know that’s not the easiest information to find.

12:32
So we catalog the entire content store.

12:35
The migration assistant actually includes a couple of preloaded Power BI workbooks that allow you to do ad hoc analysis of your content.

12:43
So it gives you a way to kind of slice and dice and view what’s in your content store.

12:48
So it gives you a lot of data for kind of seeing your content from different perspectives in order to support your migration planning.

12:58
And then the Insta Migrator component actually will automatically create Power BI project files for you based on your existing Cognos reports and packages.

13:07
So what the instant Migrator does is it takes the Cognos XML, transforms that to the degree that it’s able into Power BI structures and stores all of that in a GitHub repository.

13:21
And the GitHub repository allows you to do source control of your reports in the new environment.

13:27
It gives you project tracking capabilities, the ability to integrate it into a DevOps pipeline, and it essentially gives you templates or skeleton structures of everything from your Cognos environment.

13:39
So it’s a real jump start for your migration to Power BI.

13:46
All right.

13:46
So I’m going to talk a little bit more in detail about Migration Assistant and then I’m going to turn it over to Arturo and he’s going to do a demo for us.

13:54
So the Migration Assistant really helps with migration planning and execution.

13:59
First off, as I said, it decodes, it inventories your Cognos reports and packages, stores all of that into a structured database.

14:07
And then we provide Power BI workbooks on top of that.

14:10
It’ll allow you to explore the data.

14:12
And what the migration system pulls out is not just, you know, kind of the high level information about your reports.

14:18
It actually pulls the entire structure of your Cognos reports.

14:22
It tracks the data sources.

14:24
It identifies all the query subjects, query items, containers within a report, and all of that information is available to your team so you can play on and execute your migration.

14:36
So it essentially gives you a blueprint of all of the reports in your Cognos environment, which is a great way to work on your migration, even if you’re doing a mostly manual migration.

14:48
The Migration Assistant gives you all of the context of your existing reports without having to individually go in and open up each report in the Congress reporting interface and look through there and figure out what the structure is.

15:00
You get all that stuff all in one place with the Migration Assistant.

15:09
All right, How Migration Assistant helps?

15:12
I’m just going to go around the circle here real quickly.

15:15
So we talked about migration planning and execution already.

15:17
It helps you identify the lowest hanging fruit for your migrations.

15:21
You can really identify quick wins.

15:24
When Arturo does his demo, he’ll show you our four quadrant representation of the packages in your Cognos content store.

15:32
But essentially it helps you figure out what is going to be kind of the least effort, highest reward pieces of your migration.

15:40
So you can help kind of decide on your prioritization based on that helps you identify unused and duplicate reports.

15:48
Again, those are things that you can just leave behind, so it’s important to find those beforehand so you’re not wasting time and money moving content that simply isn’t needed.

16:00
That also helps you identify reports that are similar to each other.

16:03
And these are all candidates for consolidation, right?

16:06
So as I said, you can have multiple reports that might have just a very minor difference between each one of them and often in the new environment you can implement that as a single report that integrates you know the minor differences in terms of streamlining.

16:22
Again, Migration Assistant helps you identify unreferenced portions of reports and packages.

16:27
So you can identify, again, these are pieces that can be eliminated in your new data model.

16:34
All right.

16:35
So with that, I’m going to turn it over to Arturo.

16:37
He’s going to do a demo of our migration system workbooks.

16:41
So Arturo, I’ll let you take it away.

16:46
Yep.

16:47
Hey, everyone.

16:49
Hopefully you guys can see my screen.

16:51
All right.

16:52
So let’s get into the migration assistant.

16:57
Like Steve alluded to, it’s a Java application that essentially is an ETL tool.

17:02
It extracts information from your Cognos content store and audit databases.

17:07
It transforms it into a model that we have thoroughly documented and it loads it into a SQL Server database.

17:14
This database you can think of as the one of the end results or products of the Migration Assistant tool and we leverage this database to create the reports in front of you and it serves as a foundation for the reporting as the migrator that we’ll demo in a bit.

17:32
So in front of you, you have two reports, the Migration Assessment and Migration Assistant report and these two are used in different phases of your migration planning.

17:44
We’ll start with the migration assessment because that really helps you figure out the scope of your migration and this really determine what it is that you’re going to migrate, right.

17:54
So here on the homepage you have a couple of different key metrics such as number of reports, models, users and schedules.

18:04
You can see that this Cognos instance has a 393 reports and the migration system actually breaks down all your different Cognos objects by type.

18:17
So you can see that here we’ve had, you know, 170 uploaded files, ten data modules, expirations and things of that nature.

18:27
Over here to the right we have the report executions.

18:31
So you can really see what reports are being utilized the most and that should give you some insight as to what you know what report you want to migrate over or at least start with.

18:44
We also breakdown reports by complexity.

18:48
You can see here that most of our reports are of low complexity, so these will probably be easy to migrate over and we only have a few that’s that are medium.

18:59
In your case you probably will have more that are that are more complex.

19:06
I want to go into the reports page, show some of the metrics that we pull for reports.

19:14
First.

19:14
You’ll get a list of all the reports and you’ll get the report path, so you can find those easily in your content store.

19:23
And one thing I want to focus on here is this report complexity score.

19:27
This is a customizable weighted score that takes into account things like, you know, amount of pages on your report, the different visualizations that you have, the amount of queries that make up the report and we add up.

19:44
Add all that up and it results in this complexity score that you can use to figure out what reports are more complex, which ones are simpler, and just kind of guide you through the selection of reports for your migration.

20:03
We also have a report comparison page that compares every report to every other report, so you can figure out.

20:13
Let’s say you selected.

20:15
This this report here this view reports by package and report.

20:19
You can see that there’s 26 other reports with matching namespaces, matching query subjects.

20:26
So you can kind of based on this report.

20:29
You can select other reports that share some of that underlying data and will make your migration effort a little easier.

20:38
We also have a custom sequel page.

20:43
You know, it’s usually bad practice to include custom sequel in your reports, but sometimes you can’t get around it.

20:48
And we break some of the breakdown some of that custom sequel by also giving it a complexity score that’s based on what the sequel contains.

20:57
So it’ll take into account you know, number of joins, any calculations, string manipulations that may exist in the sequel.

21:06
So just again it gives you insight into what your reports consist of and it gives you an idea of the lift, you know when it comes to migrating those reports.

21:20
I’m going to go back to the home page and visit the models page that first I mentioned the reports.

21:29
You know in case you want to take a report centric approach to your migration planning.

21:33
But you can also take a package or model centric approach and you know you figure out what model you want to migrate and then build reports on top of that.

21:43
So here in our model page we also breakdown reports by model complexity.

21:49
This score is again customizable and it’s a weighted score and it takes into account number of query subjects, database tables, query items, any calculated fields that you may have created to create that complexity score.

22:06
So the higher the complexity score, the more complex your package and the harder it should be to migrate over to your target technology.

22:15
Something real useful on this model page is that it gives you the number of report references that each package contains.

22:25
So we can see if we sort by report references that are.

22:29
Migration Assistant is used by 75 different reports and that’s the most reports that any package uses.

22:36
So this tells me that hey, Migration Assistant package is probably a good candidate for that initial migration.

22:46
Steve mentioned the Model 4 quadrant.

22:49
Here it is.

22:50
It breaks down models by complexity and usage.

22:53
We really want to focus over here on the top right, the low complexity, high usage portion because this is the low hanging fruit that Steve mentioned.

23:02
These are models that are fairly simple.

23:06
So it’s an easy win and it gives you the most, most bang for your buck, you know the most business value because like we saw earlier that migration assistant package powers 75 reports.

23:18
So once you get your package converted over to your target technology building reports, it’s a little easier.

23:28
I want to go over to the 11 Object summary page.

23:34
There is a couple of new Cognos objects introduced in version eleven, such as data sets, Data Modules, Expirations, and Jupiter notebooks.

23:44
Here we have a breakdown of all those, just to help you figure out what it is that your Cognos environment consists of and to figure out what pieces you want to move during your migration.

23:58
I think I hit all the pages here.

24:02
All right, let me go to our user page.

24:05
Here we break down all the users in your environment and the number of times they’ve executed a report.

24:12
So we can see that here.

24:14
Our Todd Schumann has executed a lot of reports.

24:19
So we can go todd and say, hey, you know, what reports are you using?

24:23
What’s important to you to figure out that initial migration, right?

24:29
Figure out what it is that we need to move over and then also want to go into the schedule summary.

24:38
So you may have scheduled jobs, scheduled reports that we break down here.

24:44
You can see that we’ll detail if it’s a job or a report, the frequency with which the report runs and even how those reports of jobs may be bursted.

24:57
You know, a lot of reports are broken down and sent to different parts of the organization, maybe the executive team, the sales team, whatever it may be.

25:06
But this gives you a clear insight into how those reports are being bursted and how they’re being distributed.

25:16
So that was the Migration assessment report and like I said, this is the meant to figure out the what you’re going to migrate over.

25:25
Once you’ve decided what you’re going to migrate and you started implementing that migration, the Migration Assistant workbook comes in.

25:34
This is really meant for the developer, you know, whoever is creating whoever’s taking care of that migration.

25:41
Here on the overview page again you see a list of reports and last day they were run count.

25:50
But once you’ve identified a report, you go ahead and select it and you can see over here on the right side the underlying data sources used and the tables that are used.

26:01
So this gives you a quick way to figure out what pieces are needed to rebuild a certain report.

26:06
I’m going to go down into the reports page and this page gives you a look at to as to what the report looks like.

26:22
Over here on the left side you can see that this report is made-up of three different queries.

26:26
It consists of two pages and there’s a three list containers for the report so you can you can kind of determine that it’s a.

26:39
It’s a fairly simple report and it also gives you some insight as to the different query items used, any filters that may be on the report, and again the underlying tables that are powering that report.

26:56
So I want to go into the executions page here.

27:02
This is kind of like the users page on the migration assessment, but with a bit more information.

27:07
It breaks down all the users and how many reports they’ve run and also the reports by run so you can figure out what report is being used the most.

27:21
It’s already filtered by most friends so you can see that this advanced order info report is used a lot and maybe you’re determined that hey, these two users are important users and we need to make this report part of our initial migration.

27:37
I’m going to the relationships page and this gives you gives you insight to your package, your model.

27:47
We this is basically kind of like what Framework Manager does without all the, the, the, the, I guess the nuances, the complications that come with Framework Manager.

28:00
You don’t really need to know how to use the tool, but you get information about your model and how different tables or query subjects relate to other query subjects.

28:12
Lastly we have our schedules and jobs page which again just breaks down any reports, any jobs into a bit of you know finer grain detail.

28:22
So here we can actually see the bursted destinations.

28:27
So you can see that in total we’re sending our report to this, to this user and that we’re bursting or dividing our reports results by these properties.

28:46
Yeah.

28:46
And like I said, the migration assistance report is really useful when you’re implementing the your migration And yeah, that is all I have for the migration assistance and assessment reports.

29:06
And Steve, I’ll send it back to you.

29:08
All right.

29:10
Thanks Arturo.

29:11
Let me take over the screen share here again.

29:16
All right.

29:17
So that’s the Migration Assistant, which is really our kind of upfront tool for helping scope your migration plan and execute as Arturo said.

29:26
And just to kind of recap, the Migration Assistant does come with both of those Power BI workbooks and the assessment workbook is really most useful during your planning phase.

29:36
And the Assistant workbook really has all of that extra detail that’s really valuable and useful for your developers when you’re actually in the thick of doing your migration.

29:47
So I’m going to talk a little bit about the Instant migrator component here, and then Arturo’s going to do another demo for us.

29:53
The instant migrator helps you accelerate your migration with some automation and the ability to do source control.

29:58
So again, this is a way to reduce some of the tedium that is a part of your migration.

30:04
So what does it do #1?

30:07
It does batch migration of Cognos XML into Power BI report formats, so it generates the Power BI structures based on your existing Cognos reports and packages.

30:18
That leverages the relatively new Power BI project file format to help support agile development.

30:25
If you’ve been in the Power BI world for long, you probably know that the Power BI, the PBIX files used to be a closed format and then you could kind of hack away at them and get in there and see the underlying code.

30:38
But there wasn’t an easy way to manage them.

30:42
Whereas in Cognos, right, Cognos report structures have always been XML, so you can always open up the Cognos report and see the raw XML.

30:50
Well, now with the introduction of Power BI project files in the last year, you have something similar on the Power BI side.

30:57
And so there’s a whole Jason based format under the hood which has made it possible for us to do some transformations from Cognos XML into the Power BI structures.

31:09
And that’s only really become possible because of the Power BI project file format.

31:15
Reportance to Migrator creates a GitHub repository for you, populates that with the things that’s converted.

31:21
It also creates GitHub issues which are like trouble tickets.

31:25
And so essentially it logs any issue, any problems that had trying to convert things.

31:30
Because of course conversion is an imperfect science.

31:33
And so it not only creates the base structures for you and converts the pieces that it’s able to, it also creates GitHub issues that show you here are the things that still need to be looked at.

31:44
So it gives your developers a real jump start on figuring out, OK, what do we need to tackle for this particular report in order to get it across the finish line.

31:56
So how does it help?

31:57
Well, one, it helps shorten the migration timeline, right?

31:59
Because it automates pieces that are able to be automated and just saves your team the time and trouble of doing these kind of tedious manual activities.

32:11
So it helps shorten your migration timeline, provide source control.

32:14
Again it also helps you do progress tracking, right.

32:17
So you can kind of track the burn down in your migration project and really be able to tell you know how far along are we, right, how, how much further do we have to go and in all of that because it’s in GitHub, you can be adding additional basically like annotations as your team is working on development to understand what the challenges have been and what still needs to be done.

32:42
All right, So that’s my quick overview of Insta Migrator.

32:45
I’m going to turn it over to Arturo and he’s going to give us another demo.

32:49
So Arturo, you can take it away again.

32:52
Yep.

32:53
OK, Hey again, guys.

32:56
So before I show the reports to Migrator, I just want to show you what we’re going to be migrating over in Cognos.

33:03
So here I have our record with this record package selected.

33:07
You can see it’s consist of one query subject.

33:10
So it’s pretty simple and I’m going to show you the reports that will be converting.

33:16
So we have this simple record report which is basically just the data dump of that package.

33:23
We have some album information here and we also have the two page record report which is slightly more complex.

33:32
You can see that there’s two visuals on the page here, one list that has album name and another list with artist information.

33:40
And then on the second page we have genre information.

33:47
So the this is what we’ll be converting using the report Instant Migrator.

33:51
Let me bring that up here.

33:53
So the database that the Migration Assistant tool generates is really the foundation for the reporting to Migrator.

34:03
So one of the first things that the reporting to Migrator does is connect to that database.

34:08
So let’s connect to it and it gives you a list of all the records in your Cognizant environment.

34:14
We’re going to select that record package I showed you earlier, hit continue.

34:20
Then we get a list of all the reports.

34:22
So we’re going to select the simple record report and the two page record report and hit continue.

34:30
As you can see here we get a summary of what we’ll be converting.

34:33
We have one package and two reports selected.

34:37
You can see this output path like Steve referenced.

34:42
The reason why the report is the migrator is possible is because Microsoft opened up the Power BI file structure.

34:51
So using that Power BI project file structure, we convert everything from your Cognos model and report to its Power BI counterpart.

35:04
And the output is these files.

35:08
So you can see it’s pretty quick.

35:10
Let’s take a look at the generated files.

35:14
We break down the conversions by models or data sets and reports.

35:19
So let’s look at our data set first.

35:21
So here we have our record package and I’m going to open up this project file here and we’ll see how our Cognos package was converted to a Power BI semantic model once this opens up.

35:45
Alright, perfect.

35:50
Yeah, so these warnings are expected.

35:57
There’s no it just didn’t know how to wed a data source to use.

36:01
So once we hit refresh, it pulls in that information and we’ll see our album package here.

36:10
So you can see that we have all our different columns that we saw in Cognos and one thing I want to stress to you guys is our model viewing.

36:20
So if you’re a framework manager warrior, you’re probably familiar with the three tier approach or three level approach to modeling.

36:30
So we have our physical layer which is basically just our database tables.

36:36
Then we have our business layer where any and all business logic lives and then we have our presentation layer and that’s what the end user interacts with, right.

36:46
Our record package is no different.

36:47
We I should have Framework Manager up to show you guys, but we still follow that three tier approach and we reconstructed over here on the Power BI side.

36:57
So you can see that these Physical, Genre, Album, Artist tables, these are the underlying data source tables.

37:03
Then we have a new table which is our business layer and then we have our final album layer, our Album table which is the presentation layer.

37:12
And you can see over here on the right side in the data pane is that the business and physical layers have been hidden just how they are in in Cognos.

37:22
And the only thing that the user can interact with is our album table, which was our album query subject.

37:32
So what I’m going to do here is actually, I’m going to publish this semantic model up to the Power BI service so we can use it to power our reports.

37:43
So I’m going to just publish it to my workspace.

37:49
And while that is going on, I’m going to open up one of our reports.

37:54
We’re going to start with the simple record report.

37:59
All right, perfect.

38:00
And our model was successfully published close out of this and all right, so we get an error.

38:15
This is also expected because our report doesn’t know where to pull data from.

38:20
So let’s give it some help and point it to our semantic model.

38:25
So here let’s do it.

38:29
And here we have the record package that I just published.

38:32
So hit connect and once this finish this loading you can see here we have our data dump, you know right this is the whole album table just in in a table that’s a table.

38:52
So let’s publish this to our Power BI service so we can see it working in the cloud.

38:58
And while this is publishing, I’m going to open up our other report, our two page record report, so you guys can see that.

39:06
All right.

39:06
So our simple record report was successfully published and it should look the same here in the Power BI service.

39:17
And there you are the benefit of if it being in the Power BI services now you can share it with anyone in your organization.

39:25
And since that semantic model is also published, someone can go in and start using it and start building something right away.

39:33
So let’s go back to the two page record report and again we get this error because it doesn’t know what data to use.

39:39
So let’s point it to our freshly published semantic model.

39:47
And once it refreshes, we should see two different lists on this first page.

39:52
So you can see album information, artist information, just how we had in Cognos and we have our second page down here with genre information.

40:05
So you may be asking yourself what?

40:06
What’s going on?

40:07
You know what?

40:08
What’s the magic sauce, right.

40:09
So the report is the migrator literally takes everything that Cognos does and it converts it over to a.

40:16
So that’s Power BI counterpart.

40:19
Not everything that that exists in Cognos exists in Power BI.

40:23
So there’s some things that the tool can’t migrate or just doesn’t know how to migrate yet and we actually detail that.

40:32
Let me go back to the Recordings to Migrator tool here in this in these this warnings here.

40:41
So it’s just a text file that shows everything that the tool couldn’t migrate.

40:46
So here we have a query item expression called Album count that it didn’t know how to migrate.

40:53
This is a fairly simple example that we could easily implement, but just for demonstration purposes we have it here.

40:59
So this is a distinct count.

41:01
You may be familiar with it.

41:02
So right now the tool it doesn’t know what how do I convert it cause this would eventually result in a in a DAX expression right in the Power BI world, since the tool doesn’t know what to do with it, it details it here and it tells you, hey, you need to go in and create a DAX expression manually to get this album count column.

41:24
So it’s just the way that the report Insta Migrator just you know kind of details everything that’s going on and the things it can do and it can’t do.

41:34
Lastly we here since we see this migration as a real software endeavour and one thing that a software projects can’t live without is a versioning system.

41:44
So this is where we integrate GitHub to your migration.

41:48
So here you would publish your, your, this, this, these projects that have been converted and published into GitHub.

41:59
I have the GitHub open already wrong Firefox and here we have a repository and I’ll look at.

42:15
Take a look at these issues and you can see how these issues map to each part that we converted.

42:22
Here we have this first one which is our record package.

42:26
And then up here we have our reports, the simple record report and the two page record report.

42:32
And the power for behind GitHub is that once you start your migration project, you can see all right, what progress have we made, what is still left to do and most importantly, you can see what was done.

42:46
So you can revert anything that you know didn’t work and you know just all the benefits of a versioning system.

42:53
So with that said, that concludes the reporting to Migrator Demo and back to you, Steve.

43:01
All right, thanks, Arturo.

43:03
And just a quick note for everybody.

43:05
You may have already noticed that our Events team has posted in the chat window a link that you can click on to grab time on our calendar if you’d like to talk more about accelerating your migration.

43:18
So just check in the chat window and you’ll see that link.

43:22
I’m going to take the share back here, back to my deck.

43:28
Here we go.

43:28
All right.

43:29
So the last thing I want to talk about is that it takes more than tools, right?

43:34
We’ve talked a lot about tools here in the last, you know, 20-30 minutes.

43:38
And tools are great.

43:39
Tools reduce a bunch of the tedious, repetitive grunt work.

43:42
They help accelerate your migration.

43:45
They help reduce the cost, the risk, the time to get to the other side.

43:50
But the simple truth is, it takes more than tools.

43:53
And this is where I’m going to pull Devin in Devin’s been sitting there very patiently in the background and we just want to talk a little bit about, you know, the people side of it.

44:02
Because the reality is tools, tools help with the process, but you’re really reimagining the future when you’re doing migration, right?

44:10
You’re not just, you know, at least hopefully you’re not just trying to do a lift and shift of your reports.

44:16
There’s a lot to be thought about.

44:18
And the reality is a new platform is not just a new sexier version of the old thing.

44:24
A new platform has new capabilities, your requirements, you know different interfaces.

44:30
So there’s a whole lot that goes into the sum.

44:33
So, so Devin, one of the things I wanted to ask you to talk about here today, it, it was kind of what, you know, beyond just the obvious things of, oh, we need to move our, you know, we need to convert our reports, we need to figure out how to recreate this thing over here.

44:49
I know one of your big pet peeves is the focus on reports versus models and people are a part of that discussion.

44:56
Right.

44:57
So we need to talk a little bit about that.

44:59
Yeah.

44:59
I think, yeah, they called me out.

45:02
I’m a pet peeves.

45:02
I appreciate that one.

45:04
No, that’s true though.

45:05
I mean that’s I think oftentimes we see migrations as being very transactional, but we’re kind of moving people’s cheese and that’s culturally can be kind of scary for folks.

45:18
And so one of the challenges of migrations is that often we end up with our strongest engineers that are just stuck doing grunt work.

45:24
And sometimes it’s not even grunt work that’s impactful.

45:26
It’s just moving things 90 mph.

45:29
So one of the targets usually is trying to figure out how do we get those really strong people who are our best developers, how do we get that burden off their shoulders and then get them to help start changing culture and building those champions.

45:42
And Power BIs always preaching that it’s really easy to get into the tool, really easy.

45:46
It’s really user friendly.

45:47
If somebody is comfortable in Excel, they can pick up decks, they can jump into the front end reporting interface and start building those things out quickly.

45:55
But there’s a really low barrier of entry, but there’s a really high like skill ceiling that you can get to.

46:02
And where we end up seeing a big struggle is folks that should be at the front of that charge leading and building out those champions like our strongest internal engineers.

46:11
We end up finding that they end up getting buried and they get buried behind all of the this wall of just things that they have to move very transactionally.

46:18
So one of the things I really want to focus on overall is that people undervalue the concept of data modeling within Power BI Itself.

46:27
There’s particular schemas that it really loves to have, and very quickly that can get away from you.

46:33
When you’ve got people, they’re getting into a new tool, they’re unfamiliar with it, they’re bringing in, you know, their data to extend out these data models in ways that they’re really not familiar with and they really don’t know how it impacts the environment.

46:44
So having any sort of leg up where you can have your best engineers ahead of the game is pretty big.

46:52
I mean I think that’s where we come in often times is we help folks reimagine what the future looks like.

46:57
It’s different, it’s a different tool and there’s different functionalities and it’s really hard often for the folks that are the engineers that are supporting the legacy, sometimes even building in legacy as well.

47:10
You know, they’re building in legacy while they’re migrating it, but they’re also having to build in the new platform and skill up in the new platform.

47:18
So there’s it can be a little unfair to ask folks to be great at all of those things.

47:24
Yeah, the modeling part is usually where my PREACH comes in, so I’ll kill it on that one.

47:29
But yeah, I think there’s a real big undervalue on the importance of reusable, scalable data models in helping folks understand how what they build out reporting wise impacts the ecosystem.

47:41
For Power BI, it’s really easy for people to kind of go sideways without some guidance.

47:46
And that part of that is when you’re making these migrations happen, going through that process of reimagining what these reports could be and understanding that functionality and what can they get now instead of just the same old thing they’ve always been getting.

47:58
It’s a great way to build out those champions and create those power users within the business.

48:04
It’s also a good way to build that influence with people that are potentially the squeaky wheels.

48:09
Yeah, I just think this is, it’s a good time, a good time when you got the opportunity.

48:12
And I think that’s what’s interesting about the tool piece of this is that if you can get yourself out from being behind, which is where we see a lot of people in migrations is behind a lot, and get yourself out of that, it puts you in front of the people you’re supporting a little bit faster.

48:26
Plus it’s good to get quick wins in migrations as well.

48:29
But.

48:30
Oh, that’s all I have.

48:31
Absolutely.

48:31
Yeah.

48:32
Thanks, Devin.

48:33
Hey, you know, I just want to call out one thing you said a moment ago about supporting the legacy environment.

48:38
You know, while migrating from the legacy environment and it really is, you know, it’s easy to think of a migration as, oh, here’s our old world, there’s our new world and one day we’re just going to like flip the switch, right, and then click over.

48:51
But the reality is it doesn’t typically go that way.

48:54
Right.

48:54
And we do often have the situation you described right, where you’ve got people who are deeply experienced in the legacy environment, who still need to support that might even need to do new development in that environment even as the new environment is being brought up.

49:10
And you know it’s a lot, right?

49:11
It’s a lot for a team to tackle.

49:13
And there is a whole culture shift that happens when you’re moving to a new tool and you know the effort of making that shift, you know, extends beyond just the technological side of the work.

49:25
So, always remember tools are great, but people get you really across the finish line and having both is the ideal right.

49:35
Of course to have to have the best of everything.

49:39
All right.

49:40
I’m going to go through just a couple more quick things here and then we’ll go into Q and AI know we’re getting close to the top of the hour here.

49:47
Number one, we do offer a migration assessment service with an automation evaluation.

49:52
This is a great way to get a jump start on your migration project.

49:56
What that migration assessment includes is a cataloging of your entire content store.

50:01
Using the Migration Assistant, we populate those workbooks that Arturo showed off to you so you can do ad hoc analysis and planning based on your actual content.

50:13
We use the Insta Migrator to generate foundational structures in a GitHub repository, and then we take all of that.

50:21
We create an assessment, findings, and recommendations report that’s customized to your environment instead of say.

50:28
Here’s what we see as the best path for you to pursue with your migration.

50:35
We take you on a guided walkthrough of all of those results, and at the end of the day, you keep that assessment report, you keep migration assistant workbooks, you keep the GitHub repository, and you’re able to use those throughout your migration process.

50:49
And if you’re interested in that assessment, you can again click one of the links that our events team has posted in chat.

50:56
If I get some time with us, we can talk a little bit more about the details of how that works, what the time frames are, what the costs are, all that.

51:06
All right, a little bit of wrap up stuff here before we go into Q&A.

51:10
If you would like some additional resources, go to Senturus.com/resources.

51:14
That’s where you’ll find the deck.

51:15
From today’s presentation, you’ll also find a wealth of other information.

51:20
We’ve been in this business for a long time and you know, love to share our knowledge.

51:26
So you’ll find tech tips, you’ll find demos, you’ll find blogs, go to Senturus.com resources, There’s tons of valuable free information out there.

51:37
We’ve got a few upcoming events we’d love to have you join us again.

51:41
On June 12th, we’re having a webinar on automation and AI evolving the Office of Finance.

51:48
June 26th, we’ll be doing a live Q&A session Microsoft Power Automate and How to use Power Automate to, you know, help simplify and automate your environments.

52:00
And then July 18th, Arturo and I will be back.

52:03
And then this July 18th, webinar really is mostly Arturos.

52:07
It will be about dragging and dropping Cognos data into Power BI or Tableau.

52:12
That webinar will focus on our analytics connector product, which is another way to work on a migration that’s often useful as a bridge for migrations and that actually allows you to pull Cognos data directly into Power BI rather than doing, you know, a complete model migration.

52:29
So if you’re interested in that, check that out on July 18th.

52:36
If you don’t know much about Senturus already, we are all about modern BI, you know, accelerated and accessible platforms.

52:45
We run the gamut in terms of development, enablement, performance.

52:50
We offer training on these platforms.

52:53
We can help you with governance and security.

52:55
You can find more information about all of this at Senturus.com.

53:00
As I said, we’ve been in this business for a long time, 23 years, over 1400 clients, over 3000 projects.

53:08
We’ve done a lot.

53:09
We’ve seen a lot.

53:11
We started out as a Cognos, you know, primarily A Cognos consultancy, in the early 2000s.

53:17
But today, we support Cognos as well as some of the more modern BI environments.

53:23
And with that, we don’t have too much time left here.

53:26
But I’m going to go into Q&A.

53:27
I’m just going to go through a few of the questions that we’ve got.

53:30
There have been a bunch of questions, so I apologize in advance, we’re not going to probably get through all of these.

53:37
But if we don’t answer your question here today, we will follow up with you after the webinar.

53:42
So no worries there.

53:45
So we’ve got, let’s start with the question from Alex and it looks like arterial, you’re already typing an answer, but I’m going to have you speak also one of the questions is, do we mean that all of the current team content in my content files can be migrated to Power BI and Bulk.

54:02
So this is a question about the instant migrator component.

54:06
So arterial, maybe you can just talk about the, the migration and the bulk capabilities.

54:11
Yeah, yeah.

54:12
The answer is theoretically yes.

54:14
As you saw in the demo, there are some things that can’t be converted.

54:17
So it does require a manual conversion component at this point.

54:22
But the report is to migrate is only getting better.

54:25
So in the future, we would like to say that yes, it can bulk convert everything in your current and your My Content and Team content stores.

54:36
Yes.

54:38
Great.

54:39
Thanks, Arturo.

54:41
Another question that came in specifically about the Insta migrator.

54:49
Christin asks how does the Insta migrator handle reports that contain a mix of both SQL queries and Report Studio queries?

54:58
So I assume the meaning there is custom SQL plus you know the kind of query items that get generated in the tool.

55:06
So can you just talk a little bit about how those two pieces are converted?

55:10
Yeah, yeah.

55:11
So the, the Insta Migrator takes, you know, anything in the Cognos report and converts it to its Power BI counterpart and it’s powered by you can think of a library of conversions.

55:22
A custom SQL conversion doesn’t currently exist, but it’s something that we can build out and support.

55:31
Great.

55:31
Thanks, Arturo.

55:32
Christin also asks about licensing.

55:35
So this is a pretty common question.

55:36
We get our separate licenses needed in order to use these tools and so the answer is no.

55:41
So the migration tools you obviously need to have your Cognos licenses because we’re accessing your Cognos environment.

55:50
But you don’t have to purchase extra Cognos licensing in order to be able to use these tools.

55:55
Now, when you’re implementing Power BI, of course you need to figure out what your Power BI licensing needs are and whether your organization needs Power BI Premium or Fabric, or whether you’re going to use Premium per user and Pro licenses.

56:09
So there are considerations in terms of your Power BI deployment, but none of that is required in order to be able to use these tools.

56:20
All right, let’s see what else do we have here?

56:22
I know we’re running a little on time.

56:28
There is a question about dashboards, data modules and data sets.

56:33
So I’m going to ask Arturo to keep me honest here.

56:35
But I believe at the moment the instant migrator component is restricted only to migrating FM packages.

56:45
And report well what we called Report Studio in the past, but basically standard Cognos reports.

56:52
Can you just keep me off there, Arturo, I don’t think we can consider those modules.

56:56
OK.

56:56
Yeah.

56:56
Yeah, that’s right.

56:58
Thank you.

57:00
And oh, one minute to go.

57:02
Let’s see go through the questions here.

57:07
There is a question about, I don’t see it anymore, where did that go?

57:13
It got away from me.

57:14
There was a question about lists and crosstabs and just kind of the pieces that get converted.

57:21
And so just to be really clear, you know, because there’s so much, there really is a lot of difference, right, between what’s available in Cognos and what’s available in RBI.

57:31
The easiest conversions are list reports, because list reports are pretty straightforward structures and so instant migrator handles lists very well.

57:41
Visualizations are a lot harder to deal with because the structures are just so different between Cognos and power BI.

57:49
So you’ll find with instant migrator outputs that most of the most of that automation comes on the on the side of lists and kind of the underlying structure of the report.

58:01
So even though you may not get a full conversion of a report, because of course, if there was a way to click it, just instantly convert to Power BI, Microsoft would be selling that to you today and they’d be selling a lot more Power BI, right?

58:15
Because if you could just instantly switch over.

58:19
But the reality is you can get part of the way there and that’s what our tools help you do.

58:23
And then the rest of the way, of course you want people, right?

58:26
You want people who are experts and that could be your people and that could be folks from our team.

58:31
We’re always happy to do kind of, you know, ad hoc services to help support migrations.

58:37
So again, reach out to us if you have further questions.

58:41
And if we didn’t get to your question today, we will follow up with you afterwards.

58:46
And again, you can get time on our calendar just by using that link.

58:51
But the events team has posted, so I apologize, I’ve gone a little bit over here today.

58:57
So we’re going to go ahead and wrap up.

59:00
But thank you again everybody for attending.

59:02
It’s always great to have you here, so we hope to see you again on a future Senturus webinar.

59:09
And thanks to Arturo and to Devin for being here today to help me out.

59:14
Great to have everybody here and have a great afternoon everyone.

59:17
Hope to see you on our next webinar.

Questions log

Q: Many of the reports in our Cognos environment have lists and crosstabs. Does the Report InstaMigrator replicate the list and crosstab functionality seamlessly in Power BI? 
A: We have not tested this with more complex crosstabs. However, we are seeking clients that have complex crosstabs to beta test and improve the InstaMigrator. Please contact [email protected] if you’re interested in working with us. 

Q: Can we migrate all our Framework Manager data sources like SQL or DB2 using the Report InstaMigrator? Are there any sources that can’t be migrated?
A: Currently, SQL Server is the only supported data source with the InstaMigrator, but we are evaluating other data sources for future support.

Q: What percent of manual activities are still needed in the migration process when using the Report InstaMigrator? 
A:  The conversion percent can vary widely depending on the structure and complexity of your reports. Although simple reports can require little or no additional manual effort, complex reports can still require a significant amount of direct development work. For every report, the InstaMigrator logs the details of what it could and couldn’t convert, this makes it easier for developers to understand the scope of manual work that must be done.

Q: Is the Report InstaMigrator able to convert complex reports with visualizations?
A:  Currently, the  InstaMigrator handles list-based reports the most easily. Its conversion library is growing to support more complex use cases, but complex reports with visualizations will always require some level of additional manual effort.

Q: Can the Report InstaMigrator convert prompted reports?
A: Prompted reports are not currently supported. 

Q: As part of a migration, does the Report InstaMigrator make a new connection to the database from Power BI or is it bringing static data?
A: The InstaMigrator makes a new connection to the underlying data source. It completely removes Cognos. 

Q: Are the migration tools developed by Microsoft?
A: No, the Report InstaMigrator is Senturus software. 

Q: Rather than GitHub, can the Report InstaMigrator be integrated with a Git Repo in Azure DevOps?
A: Currently, only GitHub is supported but other platforms are possible. 

Q: What Cognos objects can the Report InstaMigrator convert? How much does the InstaMigrator cost?
A: Currently, the InstaMigrator only migrates reports. To learn more about pricing, schedule a time to speak with us at: https://calendly.com/kay-knowles/30-minute-meeting?month=2024-05 

Q: Can the Report InstaMigrator convert DMR packages?
A: Yes, the InstaMigrator supports DMR. 

Q: How are users identified with the Report InstaMigrator? 
A: All users are identified by the Senturus Migration Assistant, no matter if the users ran reports or not. 

Q: Are the relationships identified in the Report InstaMigrator relationships from all tables from Framework Manager packages or only from the reports that are migrating?
A: The relationships identified are in FM packages. 

Q: How can I view the recording of the presentation?
A: You can view the video on our website or on our YouTube channel. 

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