Using PowerPlay Web with an Analysis Services Cube

Synopsis: Author Bill Pearson continues the Cognos Business Intelligence Collection with an introduction to using Cognos PowerPlay Web with an Analysis Services cube. In this article, we will set up connectivity with simple security, then overview using PowerPlay Web to report and analyze cube data.

Welcome to the Cognos Business Intelligence Collection. The primary focus of this column is the delivery of approaches and concepts to help you to meet real business needs using the Cognos Business Intelligence Suite. The majority of the articles in the Collection will be hands-on tutorials, centered, for the most part, on Cognos EP Series 7 and later releases (although many of the concepts can be extrapolated to earlier versions with minimal alterations). The mission of each article will be to introduce a business need, and then to present a straightforward approach to meeting the need, using the appropriate Cognos application(s).

This article presents another option for using Cognos PowerPlay with an Analysis Services cube: it focuses on using the PowerPlay Web components to report and analyze cube data. Much as we do in the Using PowerPlay for Windows with an Analysis Services Cube article, we first set up connectivity with simple security, then overview using PowerPlay Web to analyze and present our data, for our own purposes or for the needs other information consumers. Even though the initial establishment of connectivity is largely the same for the PowerPlay for Windows and PowerPlay Web options, both articles detail the full process so as to make each standalone for those wanting to pursue only one option, and to have a single, associated reference document for the choice of options that they have made.

As I mentioned in the sister article for PowerPlay Windows, the driver behind a desire to create the PowerPlay for Analysis Services Cubes documents is a question that I frequently hear from clients and readers alike: “How can I use Cognos PowerPlay to report from my Microsoft Analysis Services cubes?” As virtually anyone using PowerPlay is aware, in a “typical” implementation the application forms the reporting component of an end-to-end OLAP solution, whose proprietary OLAP data sources, “PowerCubes,” are created via another component called Transformer. Cognos began in recent versions to make PowerPlay work with other OLAP servers, including MSSQL Server Analysis Services (“Analysis Services”). As I have said many times before, the motivation is obvious: the ascendancy of the RDBMS-generated cube is, at this stage, both inevitable and irresistible.