3 March 2017

Do more with your Information – Expand & Drill Data using IBM Cognos Workspace


IBM Cognos Workspace enables users to assemble and explore all types of data in any time horizon through a dynamic, highly personalized interface. Cognos Workspace is a web product for creating interactive workspaces using IBM Cognos content, as well as external data sources, according to your specific information needs.

This guide provides step-by-step procedure in order to enable users to assemble and explore data in depth, recurring to expand and drill capabilities that will enrich your dashboards ability to help organization drive alignment and build consensus for more agile and responsive decision-making.

With this guide, you can:

· Get to know and add into your dashboards two powerful analytic proficiencies that everyone can use to answer key questions

· Provide easy-to-use features that consumers can use to discover insights and gain alignment

· Enable actionable analytics that empower users to respond rapidly to changing business conditions


In order to use this guide, you should have experience using a web browser, writing reports and basic IBM Cognos concepts as the aim of this document is to provide a path to improve the dashboards that you already developed or aim to develop in the future.

Please be advised that if you opt to follow this guide using your own IBM Cognos Workspace product the appearance of the user interface, the features that are available to you, and the functions that you are able to perform, depend on a capability that is set for you.
A user with the capability to assemble a workspace can create workspaces and add widgets, whereas a user with the capability to consume a workspace does not see these features.

Expand and Collapse Feature

One of the most requested features in Cognos is the ability to expand and collapse data. There’s a JS solution that has been around that works for the rows but requires all of the information preloaded. If your data contains tons of members the report will run slow, breaking its performance. At the moment we can expand members in Workspace. When it was made available, the general user feedback wasn’t good as it was a slow and generally difficult feature to use. Nowadays, I can say that it is working very well.

Enabling Expand and Collapse icons for column and row headings in a crosstab

First of all, this task must be carried out by an administrator who has the permissions to change your IBM Cognos Business Intelligence app in IBM Cognos Administration.

Enabling this feature will grant you the possibility to, in a crosstab, expand a column or row heading in order to view the details that make up your data. You can do this by following the procedure bellow:

1. In Cognos Administration, on the configuration tab, click Dispatchers and Services

2. Click Set Properties – Configuration

3. Click the Settings tab. In the Environment Category, find the Advanced Settings configuration setting and click Edit

4. On the “Set Advanced Settings” Configuration page, create a parameter that is called VIEWER_JS_EXPAND_COLLAPSE_CONTROLS_DEFAULT

5. Set the parameter’s value as required:

5.1 If you want the Enable expand and collapse controls property to be visible for widgets and the Expand and Collapse icons to be enabled by default for all crosstabs, set the parameter's value to on.

5.2 If you want the Enable expand and collapse controls property to be visible for widgets but do not want the Expand and Collapse icons to be enabled by default for all crosstabs, set the parameter's value to off.

5.3 To remove the ability to use the Expand and Collapse icons, delete the parameter's value.

6. Click OK, and then click OK again.

You should now be able to expand and collapse your columns or row headings in order to view the details of your data:


Drill Feature

IBM Cognos Workspace supports various drill operations so that you can view related report data. You can perform drill operations in lists, crosstabs, and charts.

¹ Drilling in a multidimensional representation of data, basically means that you’re accessing information by starting with a general category and moving up or downwards through the hierarchy of information, for example from years to quarters to months (drill down) or from months to quarters to years (drill up).

² Another way of drilling information is by navigating from a report object to another target report (drill through).

You can drill up or drill down within a report or report part. In IBM Cognos Workspace, for lists and crosstabs, drillable items are identified by hyperlinks when the pointer pauses over the data item. In charts, the pointer changes to a hand when you pause it over a drillable item, and a tooltip indicates what you are drilling on.

One thing you must take in consideration is that in Cognos Workspace, you can only drill with dimensionally structured data.

Furthermore, in Cognos Workspace version 10.2.1 and later, dashboards retain their formatting and nesting characteristics when you drill in workspaces.
To use the drilling method used in previous releases, your IBM Cognos Administrator must create an advanced setting parameter called VIEWER_CW_BACKWARDS_COMPATIBLE_DRILL and set its value to true. For creating this advanced setting you can follow the same steps used in the previous chapter (“Expand and Collapse Feature”).

¹ Drill Down & Up

There’s two different ways to apply drill up and (or) down to a specific report widget:

Before you begin, in the report, the report author must ensure that drill-up, drill-down, or both, are enabled and must specify that columns titles use member captions.


1.1) Add a report or report part to the workspace.

1.2) Right-click the report item that you want to drill and click the “Drill Up” Or “Drill Down” icon.

2) Automatic synchronization of drill up and drill down.

If two report widgets listen to each other, are based on the same dimensionally-modelled data source, and the report contains items from the same hierarchy, drilling in one report widget affects a drill in the other report widget.

For example, when you drill down on the item “Lisbon” in one report widget, the data from the city “Lisbon” appears in all reports. This happens because, by default, the communication between the report widgets is enabled. You can turn off the communication between all the report widgets that doesn’t matter and let the one that you want to represent the drill on.

² Drill-Through
As stated before, navigating from a report object to another target report is also a way of drilling into more detailed information.

For example, if you are consuming a dashboard about the performance of your company you might want to access a more detailed view of the data that doesn’t fit into a summary dashboard. By using this feature, you can jump from this dashboard to another one that has information about the departments that compose the company. If you happen to need more insights, let us say, about the employees that are on those departments, you can drill through to another report that has more detailed information about the workers, and so on.

It’s possible to navigate from a report object to the following targets:

· IBM Cognos Query Studio report

· IBM Cognos Report Studio report

· IBM Cognos Analysis Studio analysis

· IBM Cognos Series 7 report

· Microsoft Analysis Services report

Before you can go to another target, a drill-through definition must be created in the package, however, by default, drilling through from a package is enabled.


1) Add a report or report part to the workspace.

2) Right-click the report item from which you want to navigate and click “Go To”

If there is only one possible target for the column, it appears in the studio where the drill is authorized to go.

If there is more than one possible target for the column, the “Go To” page appears, showing the available targets.

3) Click the target you want to navigate to. The target appears in IBM Cognos Viewer.

      Rui Gonçalves