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Monday, February 4, 2008

Cognos PowerPlay Transformer - Models and Cubes

PowerPlay Transformer is a Cognos component used to define OLAP cubes structure and data (in PowerPlay models) and build the multidimensional analysis cubes called PowerCubes.
A PowerCube contains calculated, summarized data organized into dimensions and measures and can be viewed and analysed in the PowerPlay Web Explorer, PowerPlay client for Windows, PowerPlay for Excel or Cognos 8 BI. PowerCubes provide secure and fast data access.

Keep in mind that Cognos cubes are static and building a PowerCube is a repetitive process (cubes may be refreshed every day, every month or even once a year).

The PowerCubes can be accessed and used both on-line (PowerPlay Web & Cognos 8) and off-line (PowerPlay Client).

Main PowerPlay Transformer features:

· Advanced modelling capabilities

· Leverages aggregate and fact tables

· Intergation of the query data into the model

· The models are defined by dimension structures and measures which can be easily customized

· No custom programming required

· Time periods are handled in a specific way which makes data delivery easy

· High flexibilty and portability

PowerPlay cubes modelling & development process

The application development process in Cognos PowerPlay Transformer usually contains the following steps:

· Gather business users requirements

· Create a Model Plan which will include design and data requirements for the model and decide on the cube distribution methodology

· Select measures

· Plan dimensions and levels

· Design and develop the PowerPlay model in Transformer

· Create PowerPlay cubes and distribute them to the end users

· Analyze and explore the cube data using PowerPlay

A Transformer Model can be also created using a wizard with AutoDesign function or manually. We strongly recommend to avoid the AutoDesign function as in most cases it does not provide the results expected.

PowerPlay Transformer application

The default Cognos PowerPlay transformer window is composed of the following windows depicted on the the screenshots below.

Building a PowerPlay model involves designating columns in the source files as measures and dimensions&levels.

· Data Sources - a list of all connected data sources. Each source can be expanded and it lists all available columns. Users can browse the source data by using Data Source Viewer. Columns from a data source window can be dragged & dropped to the dimensions and measures windows accordingly.

· Dimension Map manages the dimensions and levels hierarchy in the data model. It allows creating new dimensions and modifying existing using an user-friendly graphical interface. Dimensions and underlaying Levels are created by moving columns from the Data Sources window to the corresponding dimension column.

· Measures - drag & drop columns to manage number figures (facts) in a PowerPlay model.

· PowerCubes - you can specify here a list of cubes created by the model.

· User Classes - define the security.

· Signons - datasource connection information.

Cognos Powerplay Transformer model for the palm nursery business scenario: