Monday, May 6, 2013

What is new in TCR 3.1?

As you know, IBM released a new version of Tivoli Common Reporting as part of Jazz for Service Management 1.1 offering.   This article discusses some of the new features of Tivoli Common Reporting 3.1 release.   Read on to learn more.

Cognos 10 Business Intelligence

TCR 3.1 comes with a major version upgrade to Cognos Business Intelligence. It comes with Cognos 10.2 as opposed to Cognos 8.4 in TCR 2.1.1. This major version upgrade brings lot of newer functionality to reporting. Some of them are,

New Report Design Tools

Cognos 10 BI bundles  the new Workspace Advanced design tool that is much more powerful than Query Studio but less complex than Report Studio.

This tool can be used to build quick reports, end-user analytics and even for "reasonably complex" professional looking reports. However, to include advanced reporting features such as prompts, formulas, etc, you will have to rely on Report Studio.   Good news is that report designs can be opened both in Report Studio and Workspace Advanced without loss of information. So when you need the advanced features you can "insert" them in Report Studio and come back to Workspace advanced and continue the design.

Active Reports for offline interactive reports

Active Reports are HTML only reports that can be used for offline-viewing and interactive reports. With Active Reports, the output file will be in mutli-part HTML format (.mht) with the data is self-contained in the .mht file.

Mobile Support

Cognos 10 includes improved support mobile devices specifically iPad, Android and Blackberry.   There is a IBM Cognos mobile app available for iPad as well. The app can connect to your TCR server (over wireless network of course) and run the reports.   Dan Krissel of IBM showed a great example of this app back in Pulse.

64 Bit Java based reporting engine with JDBC Support

The default C++ based 32-bit Cognos engine doesn't support JDBC drivers.  Cognos 10 now also includes a 64-bit Java based engine (in addition to the 32-bit one) that supports JDBC.  Remember that the Java based engine is still new and you need to specifically enable this engine to use its features.

More powerful multi-datasource Workspace designer

You can easily design a dashboard (NOTE: this is different from reports)  by dragging-dropping elements such as charts, tables from various reports into a single workspace.  These data sources can be fetched from different Cognos packages.  E.g. You can fetch information from ITM OS agents reports, Netcool Omnibus reports and TBSM reports and present them in a single workspace. Very powerful and works great.

Event Studio for event-driven report delivery

The Event Studio tool is now bundled as part of TCR.  Even though this tool was available in older Cognos as well, it was not shipped with TCR 2.1.1. Using this tool, you can specify rules for report delivery.

WebSphere 8.5

TCR 3.1 ships with WebSphere 8.5 that provides tons of new features including support for Java 7, new serviceability tools and better mobile support.  For in-depth look at new features, please take a link below.

Jazz for Service Management Integration

TCR 3.1 is also one of the very first products that features Jazz for Service Management 1.1 integration.  This integration brings several features for interaction. We will discuss about Jazz for Service Management in a separate article, but some of the benefits of this offering are listed below.

  • OSLC Specification compliant - Now application data can be consumed in a standard based way rather than having to rely on application specific API calls/database queries.
  • Easier integration with other Tivoli and non-Tivoli products.
  • Linked data - meaning data can be fetched from the source instead of storing it in intermediate repository.   This eliminates problems such as data being out-of-date.

There are tons of other features including UI changes that I didn't mention here. Let us know if you have any questions related to all this features, we will be happy to help.