Successfully Migrating from IBM Cognos Series 7 to IBM Cognos Analytics 11

You are nearing end of support for IBM Cognos Series 7 and you would like to get up to the latest and greatest IBM Cognos Analytics platform. However, the challenge is that the architecture on which IBM Cognos Series 7 is based is generations behind IBM Cognos Analytics 11. How would you go about planning for your migration from IBM Cognos Series 7 to IBM Cognos Analytics version 11?

Indeed, it takes careful planning and setting the right expectations for the migration. Since this is a broad and complex topic, the focus will be on the migration of IBM Cognos Series 7 reporting content based on the IBM Cognos Impromptu client tool.

The first order of business is to establish the size of your user community and segment users by type such as executives, IT/power users, business users, and so on. It doesn’t have to be complicated as you only need to get an idea of numbers as to who uses what tool as well as how the solution is used today and how users obtain their information. It’s a starting point for a migration conversation. This article should hopefully spark some ideas as to how to kickstart the migration roadmap.

Once the community sizing exercise has been completed, the next possible discussion could be centered around the reporting environment. Unless you only have a handful of reports and a few users, more likely than not you will have to discuss the possibility of excluding obsolete, infrequently used, archived, and/or duplicate reports. The opportunity of consolidating multiple reports via redesign is a usual discussion point. Another topic would be the top reports being consumed and establishing an ordered list by priority of importance, business impact, frequency of usage, complexity, and so on. It would be helpful if any auditing tools were installed and activated at the time. This may be a necessary exercise as it could quickly become infeasible to migrate thousands of reports.

Having an open conversation on what to expect the reporting environment to look like on the other side once the migration is deemed complete is crucial to success. The word “deemed” is used with emphasis to denote that many IBM Series 7 to IBM Cognos Analytics 11 migrations may never be truly complete and that a coaching & support or a training plan may need to be put in place to have continuity following migration to facilitate recreation of key reports in the new platform. A migration “completed” to expectations should provide an adequate starting point upon which self-service analytics can be performed and ROI can be achieved versus staying status quo on a legacy platform which may no longer be effectively supported.

Once the readiness assessment is completed the migration itself can begin. There are various levels of how far the migration can take you in terms of reconstituting the BI environment.

The Minimalist Migration

This involves installing IBM Cognos Analytics and simply creating the required connections to the data sources. The rest of the effort may be in building a metadata model from scratch, which could be just a partial one based on key business areas. Thereafter, training can be provided for completing the modeling and recreating some required reports in the new platform. The ideal scenario is to have both environments working in parallel to ease the transition to the new solution.

The Focused Migration

This requires more effort and troubleshooting to migrate some of the less complex key reports using tools such as the IBM Cognos Migration Assistant tool. This is more involved as it may require an upgrade to a recent version of IBM Cognos Impromptu to increase the chances of success. The IBM Cognos Migration Assistant tool under the right circumstances can be an effective time saver especially with Impromptu catalogs. These may then be imported into IBM Cognos Framework Manager automatically reconstructing the legacy catalog to a usable metadata model publishable to IBM Cognos Analytics. There will most likely be some rework necessary; however, it can provide some measure of savings. This can provide a starting point by taking the process further versus a “from scratch” minimalist scenario. Thereafter, key reports may be recreated from the migrated package. Finally, depending upon budget, requirements, and so forth, the process may finish off similarly to the minimalist migration with some coaching & support, or training.

The Full-Service Migration

Except in the rarest of cases with smaller, low complexity BI environments, this scenario may not be feasible without significant time and effort and a larger collaboration team with a bigger budget. The best-case scenario in reproducing a similar look and feel could be to employ the following combination of factors:

  • Clean up and consolidate reports prior to migration
  • Analyze and optimize the Impromptu catalog to increase the rate of success of migration with the assistant tool
  • In certain cases, staging the migration from IBM Cognos Series 7.5 to IBM Cognos 10.x then to IBM Cognos Analytics 11.0.x may be necessary. Although, rework or redesign may still be required, a staged approach could increase the chance of success
  • To facilitate reusability and user experience the need for model rework & redesign is always imminent
  • Although it is possible to use the IBM Cognos Migration Assistant tool for recreating the reporting environment, more likely than not, this will require significant rework. Thus, the recommendation is to rebuild reports in IBM Cognos Analytics. However, should you be lucky enough to have reports built on manual SQL code, then reconstruction in IBM Cognos Analytics by copying and pasting the SQL code from Impromptu should be a more straightforward exercise but is still not a magic pill solution.

Closing Remarks

Finally, here are some additional closing points on the technical side to consider when planning for a successful migration from IBM Cognos Series 7 to IBM Cognos Analytics 11:

  • Ensure that the parameter “Report Server Execution mode” is set to ‘32-bit’ in the IBM Cognos Configuration tool for IBM Cognos Analytics 11
  • Keep the IBM Cognos Framework Manager model in compatible query mode (CQM)
  • All data source connections in the IBM Cognos Administration web console should be using 32-bit non-JDBC.

In conclusion, planning a migration from IBM Series 7 to the latest IBM Cognos Analytics 11 platform not only takes technical expertise and experience, but also time, careful planning, establishment of a roadmap, and setting the right expectations resulting in higher satisfaction in a new self-service environment adapting to future requirements.

Are you planning for your IBM Series 7 to IBM Cognos Analytics 11 migration and require support or have questions?  Migrating your IBM Cognos BI version 10.x to Cognos Analytics version 11?  NewIntelligence can help. No matter what version you need to migrate from to the latest version of Cognos Analytics, you can book your migration with NewIntelligence by filling out the form on our migration offer or contact us at info@newintelligence.ca.

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