Cognos 11.1.6 New Features Demo

April 23, 2020

Cognos Analytics (v11), End User Self Service, Metadata Modeling, Report Authoring

Q&A with IBM Offering Manager

Cognos Analytics 11.1.6 was released in April 2020. IBM Offering Manager Michael Peter demos the new features and answers questions.


The new enhancements discussed

  • Expand/collapse in cross tabs in dashboard
  • New data table in report
  • Categorical color in maps
  • Measure groups and drill up/down for visualizations
  • Watson Knowledge Catalog integration
  • Enhanced unit formatting
  • AI Learning
  • Jupyter notebook R support
  • Learn panel

Even though this was a dot release, Cognos 11.1.6 is chock full of goodies. It was worth the wait!


Michael Peter
Sr. Offering Manager

With over 20 years of technical sales experience with Cognos and IBM, Michael has a deep understanding of the BI marketplace. Building on his varied roles as a field seller, competitive analyst, demo designer and new product evangelist, he now focuses on strengthening IBM’s partner ecosystem for the entire analytics portfolio.



  • New data table with interactive features
    • Expand/collapse on grouped items
    • Resize column width in authoring and consumption mode
    • Filter on column headers
    • Freeze column headers
    • Custom indicators to represent values
    • Leverage browser caching for performance
  • Visualization
    • Comparing multiple measures—available on column and bar charts
    • Drill up/down using dimensional data source


  • Crosstab: expand/collapse members (OLAP only)
    • Dashboard users can traverse their OLAP hierarchies in the crosstab visualization by clicking the +/- button to view various levels of their cubes
  • Authoring improvements: UI
    • Docked toolbar
      • Authors can expect a consistent toolbar along the top of their dashboard, contextual based on their selection
    • Authoring pane
      • Authors can make changes to data mappings using an authoring pane invoked from the toolbar
      • No longer need to open focus mode to make simultaneous changes to visualizations
    • Authoring improvements: unit formatting
      • Authors can define custom unit labels for measures
    • Use improvements
      • Focus mode
        • A shifted focus for consumers, focus mode becomes a method to maximize the size of a visualization to quickly review chart content before returning to their dashboard

Geospacial mapping

  • Categorical color support in maps
    • Dashboard and report authors can now define categorical color palettes for non-continuous data fields

Jupyter notebooks—R support in Jupyter notebooks (on-premise)

Data module

  • Easily add or update columns due to database changes in an existing data module
    • Add individual columns directly from the source view to a data module, useful for
      • Adding a column back that you initially removed
      • Adding a new column from your database
      • Updating your model after a name change in the database
      • Reloading the schema metadata directly from a data module—as long as you have the capability to do so
    • Watson Knowledge Catalog integration
      • Phase 1 – One source of definition/reuse of data server connections defined in WKC
      • Define your database connections once in WKC and use it in Cognos along with multiple other products without having to define them in silos everywhere
        • Enables users to visualize their data using Cognos based on their connections defined in WKC
      • Example: the database admin can define 100+ connections in WKC and when new CA user joins the company, they can access the connections based on the governance set on their WKC credentials without having to ask the database admin—user no longer needs to setup all the 100+ connections manually
      • Cognos Analytics will only import connection details that correspond to data sources that Cognos Analytics supports today
      • WKC demo

AI and Advanced Analytics

  • AI learning
    • Your use and preferences are used in subsequent AI recommendations to provide a more personalized experience
    • Example, Cognos Analytics may recommend a packed bubble chart; by changing the recommended visualization to Word cloud, and saving your selection, AI learns from your use and may recommend the Word cloud chart next time
    • Enabled by default, but can be changed from your advanced preferences settings under the Personal menu, you must have the AI > Learning capability to use this feature
  • Guided dashboard creation
    • From the AI Assistant, you can generate a dashboard based on specified fields of interest. For example:
      • Create a dashboard to show profit in 2019
      • Generate a dashboard for top 10 products by profit
      • Create a dashboard for products by profit in Florida
    • Stand-alone calculations in AI and Advanced Analytics
      • Stand-alone calculations arefully supported with AI and advanced analytics features, including the AI assistant, relationship diagram in Exploreand the decision tree, spiral and driver analysis visualizations
      • Example: in Explore, the relationship diagram is displayed when a stand-alone calculation is used as a field of interest


Learn panel

  • Ask for help in the cognitive Learn panel
  • Get answers tailored to your context with the cognitive search
  • Recommends content for you to learn from
  • Results are shown inline, rather than in a new browser tab
  • Surfaces answers from several channels: documentation, videos, blogs, community forum, What’s New
  • Licensing
    • Updated license terms to allow Analytics users to be able to use Explore without needing an Analytics Explorer License
    • Customers on the 11.1 version of Cognos can give the Explore capability to Analytics users and above