Ten easy steps to using external information to analyze target sales in IBM Cognos Analytics

IBM Cognos Analytics empowers business users to bring in any external data together with Cognos managed data for greater insight and agility.  A common business use case would be to bring in your monthly sales targets for each sales person.

Here is the scenario – You would like to create a simple Sales versus Targets report by salesperson, however, you do not have your sales targets data in your system.  Sales targets are only available in an Excel file.  Here is your desired result:

sales vs targets desired result

The following steps in IBM Cognos Analytics would accomplish this:

Step 1:  Upload your Sales Targets file into IBM Cognos Analytics per below:

step 1 targets filestep 1 file upload

Step 2: Inspect your uploaded data and ensure it is coming in as expected:

step 2 uploaded targets

Step 3: Create a new Data Module:

step 3 data module

Step 4: Add your uploaded targets file source to make it available in the new Data Module:

step 4 targets file source

Step 5: Add your existing package to make it available in the new Data Module:

step 5 package to data module

Step 6: Drag and drop both the Sales Targets and your current package source to your new Data Module:

step 6 drag and drop

Step 7: Select one of your sources and select “Join” to create a relationship between sources:

step 7 join

Step 8: Select the columns which will be used to relate your sales targets and your current package. This usually means selecting related key columns common to both sources representing identical data. Select the appropriate cardinality or talk to your DBA and/or business analyst if unsure:

step 8 select columns

Step 9: After the joins are established between your data sources, save your new Data Module

step 9 save data module

Step 10: Create a new report against your new Data Module now containing your sales targets. You now can analyze both your sales and your targets in the same report:

step 10 create report

IBM Cognos Analytics enables the business user to bring in their own source data into the mix without IT intervention and to create their own scenario, as an example, for analyzing targets and actuals in the same environment.  That’s the power of self-service BI.

What Data Modules have you created and made use of to analyze external versus managed data in Cognos Analytics that has brought you greater insight and agility?  Comment with your use cases below – we want to hear from you!













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