IBM Cognos C7 – Formerly Clarity 7

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IBM Cognos C7 – Formerly Clarity 7 2017-03-22T18:38:57+00:00

Clear Insight, as an Advanced IBM Business Partner, is fully qualified with many experienced resources to handle all of your Clarity needs as you would note from our Clarity Tips & Tricks.

Clear Insight has an excellent relationship at the executive levels in IBM and has the support and backing of IBM in order to service and resolve any issues you might have with your Clarity environment.

Our services and solutions include:

  • Detailed Assessment of Your Existing Solution
  • Upgrade Path/Options Evaluation
  • Strategic Planning Assistance
  • Solutions Roadmap Review
  • Solutions Architecture/Design Review
  • Testing
  • Project/Solution Documentation

Clear Insight is currently assisting many Clarity clients with service, upgrade, support and conversion needs across North America and around the world.

Our consultants have many years of experience with the product having worked for both Clarity and IBM in the past.

We are aware some organizations prefer to have their contracts with IBM and be invoiced by IBM but to have their services performed by a business partner. Clear Insight is an Approved Partner and we would be happy to service you through IBM if that is your organization’s preference.

If you have any questions or concerns with your current products and/or service we would be happy to arrange for you, IBM and Clear Insight to get together and discuss different solutions and the choices that you have available.

Tips & Tricks Corner

One of the biggest advantages in upgrading from IBM Clarity 6.x to 7 is having access to the new IBM Clarity Studio application. This desktop tool has been built from the ground up and provides the user with a new and innovative report and template building tool. It is a revolutionary design that moves away from the traditional Clarity Excel add-in and more towards the common Microsoft look and feel interface.

Advanced CodingOne of the more powerful features of Clarity Studio has to do with bringing what traditionally was considered “back end” or advanced coding to the front providing more functionality to the average user. These additional functions allow the user to interface with external events, such as Scripts, VB code and even stored procedures.

By default, these advanced features are not visible in the user interface as part of the base install. However, it can be enabled quite easily. Once visible, the user is then able to take advantage of these features in a nicely arranged section of the interface. This is a far cry from previous versions where there would be significant coding in the XML file in order to get these functions working.

Advanced Tab In Navigation Section

To enable the Advanced tab in the navigation section, click on the File tab in the menu bar. Choose the Options selection. A new window will open up in the middle of the application. Select the second item on the list named Advanced, and click on the checkbox for Show Advanced Pane (Script, Jobs, Events). Click OK to save the selection. You will notice that an additional tab has appeared at the bottom of the navigation pane with the title Advanced. If this has been enabled before opening an existing or new document, it will be greyed out. But once a document has been opened, you will have access to the additional functions of IBM Clarity 7.

Advanced Tab Display

Similar to the other navigation tabs, the new Advanced tab displays the options in a similar tree layout as the other three existing tabs. It has three main nodes: Scripts, Jobs and Events. We won’t go into the details of each node in this article here is a basic rundown of what each section is.

The Scripts node tells the Clarity engine where the external file containing the custom VBS script files will go. Although the system will always look in the web/custom/scripts directory, you may want to organize your scripts in separate files for better function management. The Jobs node contains sub nodes of different job types. It is organized into Server Jobs (external batch files, stored procedures, calculation scripts), Browser Jobs (VB or Javascript) and Excel Jobs (Macro or Add-Ins). The jobs basically are the instructions that tell the Clarity engine what to do. The Events node contains a list of pre-defined application activities or events. When a specific event is enabled, the user can define one or more jobs to be executed in a particular order. Events are categorized into 4 different groups. Server Events contain activities that are related to server functions and thus to that effect, it has limited activities. Browser Events refer to user initiated functions that are usually invoked from the browser interface such as a double click action. Excel Events only has one option and that is On Export. The Tool Events are currently not available. This may be a feature that will be activated in future releases of the tool.

For those users that have taken advantage of events and scripting in previous versions, this new interface provides a cleaner and more organized method of using this hidden feature. For users new to this concept, it should open up a whole new area to explore and perhaps improve current and/or new templates and reports.

Thank you for your interest in our Upgrading Your IBM Clarity 7 Webinar Series!
Clear Insight FPM Inc.

Webinar 1: Upgrading to IBM Clarity 7

Click here to play the webinar from February 27th, 2013.

Webinar 2:  Options To IBM Clarity 7 – IBM Cognos TM1 and IBM Cognos Express

 Click here to play the webinar from March 7, 2013.

Looking for benefits, options and best demonstrated practices as you plan your upgrade from Clarity v5 or v6 up to the latest version?

An in-depth look at the key issues and benefits you should be considering as you plan your IBM Clarity upgrade.

Webinar 1 deals with the issues and looks specifically at the value of the latest version of IBM Clarity 7.

Perhaps you are already on IBM Clarity v7, we also have some insight for you about the latest version and what is coming.

A special Webinar, specifically to share all the “in’s and out’s” that you need to know before you begin your IBM Clarity upgrade.

Some topic items for the webinar include:

  • Features & Benefits you should be leveraging as you move from v5 or v6 up to the latest v7
  • Key challenges and watch-outs during the upgrade
  • Effort, timing and expense you should expect and budget
  • Demo of IBM Clarity 7
  • Latest and planned future versions
  • Alternative considerations
  • Open Q&A for your specific questions

The second webinar in this series looks more specifically at IBM endorsed alternatives including IBM Cognos TM1 and IBM Cognos Express/Enterprise.

  • Why you need to consider an upgrade path from IBM Clarity v5 or v6
  • Why IBM Cognos TM1 and IBM Cognos Express are viable alternatives for IBM Clarity clients
  • Features & Benefits of these best in class Budgeting, Planning and Forecasting alternatives
  • Demo of IBM Cognos TM1 and IBM Cognos Express
  • Key considerations that help determine the best option for you and your company
  • Open Q&A for your specific questions

What is Hierarchy Security in IBM Clarity?

In IBM Clarity, hierarchy security is the security layer that controls who can see which dimension elements in a particular cube. Hierarchy security is just one component of the security profile. Here are some key definitions we need before discussing this further.

  • Users – These are the individual users or logins for the IBM Clarity application
  • Roles – This is a group of users. A user can be a member of multiple roles. Roles can be members of other roles.
  • Menu Items – The folders and items that users can see when they each login. This can be very different from one user to the next, because of security.
  • Hierarchy Security – When running a report or template, which options are visible and/or selectable for a user.
  • Workflow – The sequential process of who enters numbers and who approves them for each entity.

What is Hierarchy Security and why is it important?

Let’s use an example. Say we have a sales forecasting tool and each sales manager goes in to update their forecasts. Should all sales managers see everyone’s information? Should they be able to update everyone’s information? The most common scenario is that each sales manager can only see or update their own numbers. Regional managers can see a more broad area of the business, but they may not be able to update the numbers. Hierarchy security lets administrators set these boundaries. They only need to build one template, but since each person has different security, they are still limited to only what they should be able to see.

What if I Don’t Set It Up?

Setting up hierarchy security is not required for Clarity to work. Clarity will work fine without it, but there will be no ability to filter options depending on the particular user running the template or report.

When Should I Use It?

The most challenging part of security is getting the business teams to decide on security groups and permissions. Once those permissions are decided upon, implementing it is quick. To facilitate the security discussion, I often use the attached Excel file. Using just Excel, we start with a list of all users and then discover roles, menu security settings and hierarchy security settings. Once documented, setting it up is easy.

Writing Advanced Snippets When Building Templates

Both IBM Clarity and IBM Cognos TM1 support the MultiDimension eXpression (MDX) query language through snippets. Snippets are single MDX phrases that can be evaluated as part of an MDX query. At first glance, it can seem intimidating, but starting with a few key functions, it’s easier to start using it to put together advanced snippets.
Let’s go through an example. Let’s say we have the following cube.

Cube-shot

Our dimensions are:

  • Year
  • Time
  • Entity
  • Account
  • Measures

When building a template in ClarityStudio, I can select Member, Children, IChildren, Descendants, IDescendants and BottomLevelDescendants by right-clicking on an element in a dimension hierarchy. Let’s start by explaining how these ones map to MDX expressions, using the Full Year member from the Time dimension.

Clarity Function Description MDX Function MDX Snippet Members Included
Member Show just the one element I picked from the list None [Time].[Full Year] Full Year
Children Show just the elements directly below the one I selected .Children [Time].[Full Year].Children Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4
IChildren Show the elements directly below the one I selected, plus the one I selected .Children {[Time].[Full Year].Children, [Time].[Full Year]} Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4, Full Year
Descendants Show all elements anywhere below the one I selected, regardless of distance Descendants Descendants([Time].[Full Year]) Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4, Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec
IDescendants Show all elements anywhere below the one I selected, regardless of distance, including the one I selected Descendants {Descendants([Time].[Full Year]) , [Time].[Full Year]} Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4, Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec, Full Year
Bottom Level Descendants Show only the elements that have no children below the one I selected. These are also known as leaf elements. Descendants Descendants([Time].[Full Year] ,,LEAVES) Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec
Now that you’ve seen how the ones you already know map to MDX expressions, you can play with other MDX expressions to help get exactly the sets you want for your template.