Groupings: A New Module Created for the IBM Cognos Space

Posted by Corey Mendelsohn on October 16,2022

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Corey Mendelsohn, President at NewIntelligence recently noticed a manual task in the reporting activities of one of his clients, and after considering how time consuming it was, sought out a creative solution to change their reporting and dashboarding into a simple automated grouping capability within the IBM Cognos space that would save them time, effort, and even reduce their workload.

The need: A client wanted to analyze the activities of Sales Managers and the assigned Sales Agents that reported to them. They also needed to analyze the Territories related to their multiple office locations.

The problem: Because there were often updates, changes and job reassignments in the business, multiple areas of the reporting process were affected whenever an updated needed to be submitted. A person would have to remember all the reports and/or places that needed to be updated since the reports were not in sync with one another.  It was therefore easy to accidentally overlook where an update needed to be made, which resulted in errors in the way information was organized on the final reports.

The solution: NewIntelligence created an automated solution for data that was grouped together, referred to as ‘Groupings’, where the above fields that were often fluctuating would be added into one manageable excel sheet, that once updated, would automatically update all relevant reports in the Cognos space based on the predefined Groupings.

Corey Mendelsohn shares what lead to the vital update in the Cognos space during a conversation with one of his clients in the Transportation industry after a report was not correctly showing the required information.

Limitations of Groupings in the Cognos Space

A lot of reporting systems have the ability to correlate certain fields to a certain degree, but they may not necessarily have the concept that you and I have in the way those fields relate to one another. For example, how a sales manager relates to a sales agent, or territory – we can easily grasp how these groups interact with one another to hold a business together, but it is simply not within the capacity of most operational systems. This means if a company wants to create a report on these, the majority of steps are taken manually.

When the client was limited to the manual functionality of the groupings, NewIntelligence came in to find a solution using our suggested grouping capability that would help automate their data and reports.

We created an Excel spreadsheet leveraged by Cognos, which allowed the client to manage the particular grouping as needed. Once ready, Cognos pulled the data automatically.

So when a salesperson is reassigned, this client can then go into the Excel spreadsheet and add the new record with the relevant grouping. They can organise the grouping hierarchy as they see fit and no longer have to worry about the report being out of sync.

Every single report from here on in is going to get modified and updated automatically.

Any one who makes these updates can freely interact in the Cognos environment and build their reports the way they want to with more simplicity and ease.

Sample of Grouping Displays (IBM Cognos & Excel)

Samples of Groupings within IBM Cognos and as prepared on excel sheets

Testimonial from our client

When asked how the creation of the groupings has affected their experience working in the Cognos environment, the Business Intelligence Analyst shared with us the following:

The creation of the groupings has been great because it enables me to see which sales agent belongs to which territory and also prevents missing a sales rep in any report. It made reporting easier because I’m finally able to filter on the territory group instead of manually hardcoding the names in the filter criteria. Overall, it has saved me a lot of time.


At NewIntelligence we like to come up with creative solutions when any of our clients face a particular challenge, especially in the reduction of manual work. Automation and removing redundancy are key in the way we do business. The recent client challenge provided insight into the ways some of our clients work and the extra steps they were taking. Once we understood what was holding them back, we were able to quickly adjust their processes.

If you have a hierarchal grouping that you would like to setup into a similar automated capacity, contact NewIntelligence, and we will get you started.