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Automating Cognos BI Usage Monitoring

Posted by Matt Caton on Dec 20, 2016 10:17:45 AM

Why Monitoring the Cognos BI Usage Makes Sense.

By:  Matt Caton

At the heart of a strong BI practice is the automation of repetitive tasks, freeing up time to focus on deeper analytics and more advantageous architectures. Cognos BI equips architects with a number of tools for automating report delivery which is often overlooked and done manually. Below are a number of advantages to proactively monitor usage of your Cognos BI reporting system:

  • Staying ahead of audits and ensuring software license compliance
  • Saving pricey license seats for users who are actually taking advantage of (using) the system
  • Having a list of active users to help plan system updates and down-times
  • Providing colleagues and managers with important system usage feedback
  • System monitoring without even having to log into the system


Fortunately, as an administrator or power user, with appropriate access to the Cognos Audit package, it is a pretty straight-forward exercise to set up a Usage report and then schedule it to arrive in your inbox every morning, week or month.  Below are two sets of steps beginning first with how to build the usage report, followed by steps on how to schedule report delivery.

Building the Cognos BI Usage Report

1)      As mentioned, you’ll need access to the ‘Audit’ package, which by default will install within the root of ‘Public Folders’. If you don’t have access to this package work with an ‘Administrator’ to expose it to your user group or to be placed in the appropriate group

2)      Open Report Studio, sourcing the ‘Audit’ package

3)      Under the ‘User Logins’ Query Subject select the first Query Item, ‘User Name’

4)      Go into the ‘Query Explorer’ section of Report Studio and drag a second ‘Data Item’ onto the ‘Data Items’ palette

5)      Within the ‘Expression Definition’ for this ‘Data Item’ use the following: running_count([User Name]) so as to obtain a quick count of total users upon report delivery

6)      Next, you’ll want to add a ‘Detail Filter’ to limit the time frame of usage. I found it helpful to monitor and view usage on a daily basis for the last 10 days. Add a ‘Filter’ into the ‘Detail Filters’ section of the ‘Query Explorer’ palette

7)      Depending upon how many days of usage you’d like to track add the following expression: [Audit].[User Logins].[Login time] > _add_days(current_date, -10) whereas the 10 can be swapped for any number of days (most likely dependent on how frequent you’d like to view the report)

8)      Save the report and give it an appropriate name

Scheduling Delivery of the Cognos BI Usage Report

9)      Once you’ve exited ‘Report Studio’, find your report and click the ‘Schedule’ icon under the associated ‘Actions’ section

10)   Assuming your Cognos email client has been accurately configured, setting up email delivery of a report is fairly intuitive starting with selecting the frequency desired

11)   Next, make sure the box for ‘Override the default value’ is clicked, and select a delivery format. I prefer HTML so that I don’t have to open an additional file (such as PDF or Excel)

12)   Then, also under ‘Options’, check the box for ‘Send the report by email’ and click the hyperlink for ‘Edit the options..’

13)   Within the ‘Set the email options’ you can search for yourself and additional users to send the report to or manually type in email addresses. Further, it’s recommended that you add a ‘Subject’ to the email (i.e. ‘Report: Cognos usage in the last 10 days’) and then add any additional commentary to the ‘Body’ of the email

14)   Also, if you’d like the HTML based report to appear in the ‘Body’ of the email select the checkbox for ‘Attach the Report’ and un-check the box for ‘Include a link to the report’ if so desired

15)   Click ‘OK’ and then ‘OK’ once again to exit the ‘Schedule’ properties and report scheduling is complete

By following these steps, you'll be able to quickly and easily setup an automated Cognos BI usage report.

For more information about Business Intelligence, Enterprise Information Management or how to implement Cognos BI with your company, contact us.

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Topics: Business Intelligence, Cognos, Blog, BI Automation

Written by Matt Caton