Review: IBM Cognos Insight

While I’ve got a bit of experience working with the various Cognos studios, I haven’t had much chance to play with Insight. Fortunately I have IBM Cognos Insight, by Sanjeev Datta.

As a in depth study, it is a bit lacking. The book doesn’t get into serious detail about the inner workings, effects on the server, nor does it go into detail about every single available function. That is fine however, as the book is not targeted at administrators. The only load balancing the readers of this book need to deal with are in the laundry.

This book is very well suited for analysts – people who need to actually play with the data, and who need to learn about the tools available to them. As an example, I have a friend who is an internal auditor at a very large port. His days are spent pulling data from different sources into Access and running queries on them. He is not very technically inclined, and has only a rudimentary understanding of SQL. This would be a perfect guide for him.

As a guide, it is split logically in sections. What is BI and how does it help, installing, configuring, importing the data, and the various ways of manipulating the data. It walks the through each step clearing and succinctly, with screenshots to guide the way. (One small complaint though, I read the book on my black and white Kindle, and there was at least one instance referring to text highlighted in color that I couldn’t see.)

The meat of the book is where it describes how to design and use your cube. From building the hierarchy to writing custom members, it touches on each area. It shows how you can build TurboIntegrator scripts, and why you would, but unfortunately doesn’t go into detail. Ultimately this book shows a user how to go from raw data to a complex dashboard that meets the user’s needs.

To the seasoned veteran of Insight, this book won’t be so useful. To everyone else, this book is invaluable and will get them to the seasoned part. When working with Insight, keep this book open and you won’t go wrong.

IBM Cognos Insight was written by Sanjeev Datta, and published by Packt Publishing.

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