THINK 2018 Thursday – and a quick recap

It’s been a hectic week for me, so my apologies for not posting this earlier.

Thursday was the last day of the conference, and had the absolute best session so far. While the sessions so far have been mostly introductory or soft, Thursday finally had a hard technical session.

Sadly I missed most of the morning sessions, so I only have two to report on.

Merck Pharmaceuticals upgraded to Cognos 11, Series 7 authentication to Active Directory. While this would normally be a nightmare-and-a-half, Merck brought in the IBM AVP group to help handle the migration. Apparently they have tools that will ease the process, and map from one auth source to the other. Sadly the cost of these tools are bundled with hiring AVP to come and help. It’s not something I can download and play with.

Baxter wins the best technical session of the week. Alex used the Cognos audit model, modified it to his needs, and then built a data set on top of it. In the presentation, which I’m helpfully providing a link to, he added a number of calculated fields to better group the data. Furthermore, he did a count distinct on the request ID. As the audit package stands, it counts the timestamp of the run, which changes for each prompt selection. Once that was done, he wrapped the entire model in a data set, giving tremendous improvements in speed and usability. The presentation can be found here:

Ultimately the conference was somewhat disappointing this year. The technical sessions were few and far between. The few Cognos sessions there were tended to emphasize the same, albeit good, lesson – “When upgrading Cognos, plan twice, implement once”. Due to the extreme number of attendees, coupled with the dearth of BA sessions, rooms were overcrowded, and occasionally impossible to enter. Several people I talked to had to choose between eating lunch, or staying in the room to make sure they could attend the next session.

The roadmap was good, as was the session with the designers. Wonderful news on that front, we’ll be able to “pin” the popover toolbar to the top. Basically we’re getting the toolbar back! I’m hoping to get early access, in some way or another, so I can write about the awesome new features.