25+ Cognos Interview Questions and Answers [BEST & NEW]-2020
Cognos Interview Questions and Answers

25+ Cognos Interview Questions and Answers [BEST & NEW]

Last updated on 03rd Jul 2020, Blog, Interview Questions

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Cognos, developed by IBM, stands as a comprehensive business intelligence and performance management software suite designed to empower organizations with the tools they need to leverage their data effectively. At its core, Cognos offers robust reporting and analytics features, allowing users to craft visually compelling reports and dashboards that convey data-driven insights. With seamless integration capabilities across a spectrum of data sources, including databases and data warehouses, Cognos ensures data accuracy and consistency. Furthermore, it supports ad hoc querying, granting business users the autonomy to explore data and glean valuable insights without the need for IT intervention. Cognos goes beyond mere reporting, facilitating performance management through the establishment of key performance indicators (KPIs) and the monitoring of strategic objectives. For those seeking predictive analytics, Cognos effortlessly integrates with IBM Watson Studio, equipping users with the ability to incorporate predictive modeling into their decision-making processes, ultimately enabling data-driven and informed choices within organizations.

1. What is IBM Cognos?

Ans:

IBM Cognos: With the help of the powerful IBM Cognos suite of business intelligence and performance management tools, businesses can access, process, and present data to aid in decision-making.

2. Explain the components of the Cognos Business Intelligence suite.

Ans:

Cognos BI Components: The Cognos Business Intelligence suite includes components like Cognos Connection (portal), Report Studio (reporting tool), Query Studio (ad hoc queries), Analysis Studio (multidimensional analysis), and Framework Manager (metadata modeling).

3. What are the data sources available with TI?

Ans:

Cognos BI vs. Cognos TM1: Cognos BI focuses on reporting and analytics, while Cognos TM1 is a separate product for planning, budgeting, and forecasting.

4. Describe the architecture of Cognos BI.

Ans:

Cognos BI Architecture: Cognos BI follows a three-tier architecture with a web-based user interface, application tier for processing and scheduling, and data sources connected through a gateway.

5. What are the various data sources that Cognos supports?

Ans:

Data Sources: Cognos supports various data sources, including relational databases (e.g., SQL Server, Oracle), multidimensional data (e.g., OLAP), spreadsheets, and web services.

6. How does Cognos integrate with different databases?

Ans:

Database Integration: Cognos integrates with databases through native connectors, ODBC, JDBC, and other industry-standard interfaces.

7. Explain the Cognos Report Studio and its purpose.

Ans:

Cognos Report Studio: It’s a powerful report authoring tool in Cognos used for creating, customizing, and formatting reports, dashboards, and scorecards.

8. What is the Cognos Framework Manager used for?

Ans:

Cognos Framework Manager: Framework Manager is used for creating and managing metadata models that define how data is structured and presented in Cognos reports.

9. What are the different versions of Cognos?

Ans:

Cognos Versions: Cognos has various versions and releases, including Cognos Analytics, Cognos BI, and earlier versions like Cognos 10, each offering different features and enhancements for business intelligence and reporting.

10. How do you deploy Cognos BI reports?

Ans:

Cognos BI reports can be deployed by publishing them to the Cognos Connection portal. Users with appropriate permissions can access and run these reports through the web interface.

11. Explain the difference between a list report and a crosstab report in Cognos.

Ans:

A list report displays data in a tabular format, presenting records one after another. A crosstab report, on the other hand, organizes data into rows and columns, allowing users to view summarized data in a grid format with row and column headers.

12. What is the Cognos Configuration tool, and what is its role?

Ans:

The Cognos Configuration tool is used for configuring and managing various settings in the Cognos BI environment. It allows administrators to define data sources, authentication providers, and other configurations essential for system operation.

13. Explain the purpose of the IBM Cognos Administration Console.

Ans:

The IBM Cognos Administration Console provides a web-based interface for managing Cognos BI servers, security, and system settings. It allows administrators to perform tasks like user management, configuration, monitoring, and troubleshooting.

14. How do you secure Cognos BI content?

Ans:

Cognos BI content can be secured through role-based permissions, access controls, and data-level security. Administrators can define who can access, view, or modify reports, folders, and data based on user roles and security policies. 

15. What is the Cognos Content Store?

Ans:

The Cognos Content Store is a centralized repository that stores Cognos BI content, such as reports, queries, and metadata models. It provides a secure and organized storage environment for business intelligence assets.

16. Describe the Cognos Security Model.

Ans:

The Cognos Security Model is role-based and consists of various layers, including namespace-level security, object-level security, and data-level security. It controls user access, permissions, and capabilities within the Cognos environment.

17. How do you manage users and roles in Cognos?

Ans:

Users and roles are managed through the IBM Cognos Administration Console. Administrators can create and configure users, assign them to roles, and define role-based permissions to control access to reports and data.

18. What are Cognos namespaces?

Ans:

Cognos namespaces are logical containers that segregate users and groups, allowing organizations to manage and secure access to resources independently. Common namespaces include LDAP, database, and Cognos namespaces.

19. What is Single Sign-On (SSO) in Cognos, and how is it configured?

Ans:

Auditing and monitoring in Cognos can be configured using the Cognos Administration Console. You can define auditing levels, select audit events, and specify audit data storage options to track user activities and system performance.

20. What is a Cognos package, and how is it created?

Ans:

A Cognos package is a metadata layer that defines the structure, relationships, and access to data for reporting. It’s created using Cognos Framework Manager, where data sources are imported, tables are modeled, and relationships are defined to create a logical view for report authors.

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    21. How do you create drill-through reports in Cognos?

    Ans:

    Drill-through reports are created by defining drill-through actions in the report. Users can click on specific data points, and Cognos will navigate to a detailed report or another related report containing additional information based on the selected data.

    22. What are report prompts in Cognos, and how are they used?

    Ans:

    Report prompts are user inputs that allow report consumers to filter, customize, or parameterize the data in a report interactively. Report authors can create prompts to enhance user interactivity and tailor report results.

    23. What is conditional formatting in Cognos reports?

    Ans:

    Conditional formatting allows report authors to apply formatting rules based on specified conditions or criteria. This feature lets you change the appearance of report data dynamically, such as highlighting specific values or changing text colors.

    24. How do you schedule and burst reports in Cognos?

    Ans:

    Reports can be scheduled for automatic generation and distribution using the Cognos scheduling feature. Bursting allows reports to be sent to different recipients based on predefined bursting keys, such as department or region.

    25. Which studio is used to create reports?

    Ans:

    Reports can be scheduled for automatic generation and distribution using the Cognos scheduling feature. Bursting allows reports to be sent to different recipients based on predefined bursting keys, such as department or region.

    26. Describe the various chart types available in Cognos.

    Ans:

    Cognos offers a range of chart types, including bar charts, pie charts, line charts, scatter plots, heat maps, and more. Each chart type is suited for different data visualization needs and helps convey insights effectively.

    27. What is a dashboard in Cognos, and how is it created?

    Ans:

    A dashboard in Cognos is a collection of visualizations, reports, and data components displayed on a single screen. Dashboards are created by assembling and arranging report objects and visualizations using Cognos Workspace or Dashboard Studio.

    28. How do you create calculated columns and items in Cognos?

    Ans:

    Calculated columns and items are created within a report by defining expressions or formulas using functions and operators. These calculated elements allow you to perform calculations and manipulate data in reports.

    29. Explain the purpose of the Cognos Query Studio.

    Ans:

    Cognos Query Studio is a simplified report authoring tool that allows non-technical users to create ad-hoc queries and simple reports. It provides a user-friendly interface for data exploration and report creation.

    30. How can you create reports using multiple data sources in Cognos?

    Ans:

    Cognos allows you to create reports using multiple data sources by defining relationships and queries in Framework Manager and then combining and blending data from those sources within a report in Cognos Report Studio.

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    31. What is a metadata model in Cognos Framework Manager?

    Ans:

    A metadata model in Cognos Framework Manager is a structured representation of the organization’s data sources, defining how data is organized, related, and presented to report authors. It acts as a logical layer that abstracts and simplifies data complexities for report development.

    32. How do you import metadata from different data sources in Framework Manager?

    Ans:

    Metadata is imported from different data sources in Framework Manager by creating data source connections. These connections allow you to import tables, views, and other objects from databases, OLAP cubes, or flat files, making them available for modeling in the metadata layer.

    33. Explain the concept of a namespace in Framework Manager.

    Ans:

    A namespace in Framework Manager is a container that holds objects like tables, views, and folders. It helps organize and categorize objects, making it easier to manage metadata. Namespaces can represent different data sources, schemas, or logical groupings.

    34. What is a business view in Cognos Framework Manager?

    Ans:

    A business view in Framework Manager is a logical representation of data for report authors. It defines how tables are related, what calculations are available, and how data is presented, abstracting the underlying data source complexity.

    35. How do you define relationships between tables in a metadata model?

    Ans:

    Relationships between tables in a metadata model are defined by specifying foreign keys that link columns in one table to primary keys in another. These relationships are created in Framework Manager to enable report authors to navigate and join tables while creating reports.

    36. What is a model filter in Cognos Framework Manager?

    Ans:

    A model filter is a condition applied to data in a metadata model. It filters data at the metadata layer before it is used in reports. Model filters can restrict data based on criteria like date ranges, regions, or user groups, enhancing data security and report performance.

    37. Describe the purpose of a package in Framework Manager.

    Ans:

    A package in Framework Manager is a container for metadata objects, including queries, dimensions, measures, and relationships. Packages are published to Cognos Connection and serve as the foundation for report development. They provide a user-friendly interface to access and use metadata.

    38. How do you publish a package to Cognos Connection?

    Ans:

    To publish a package in Framework Manager, you can select the package, right-click, and choose the “Publish” option. This makes the package available in Cognos Connection for report authors and consumers to use.

    39. What is a star schema, and how is it used in Framework Manager?

    Ans:

    A star schema is a type of data modeling where fact tables containing measurable data are connected to dimension tables that provide context. In Framework Manager, star schemas are often used to create user-friendly, pre-joined data structures that simplify report development.

    40. How can you create and manage security in Framework Manager?

    Ans:

    Security in Framework Manager can be managed through security filters, data-level security, and package-level security settings. You can define user roles, assign permissions, and restrict access to data and objects based on user roles and requirements.

    41. What is Cognos Transformer, and how is it used?

    Ans:

    Cognos Transformer, also known as IBM Cognos Transformer, is a separate tool used for building and maintaining multidimensional data models called PowerCubes. These cubes provide fast and efficient access to aggregated data for reporting and analysis in Cognos BI.

    42. Explain the purpose of Cognos Event Studio.

    Ans:

    Cognos Event Studio is a tool designed for creating and managing alerts and notifications based on predefined business events and conditions. It helps users stay informed about critical changes in data and take timely actions.

    43. What is the difference between Cognos Report Studio and Cognos Workspace Advanced?

    Ans:

      Aspect Cognos Report Studio Cognos Workspace Advanced
    User Interface

    Provides a classic, full-featured report authoring environment.

    in drive

    Offers a modern, web-based interface with interactive dashboards.
    Report Creation Primarily used for creating traditional, paginated reports. Designed for creating interactive, web-based reports and dashboards.
    Report Types Supports a wide range of report types, including lists, crosstabs, charts, and more. Focused on creating interactive visualizations, charts, and dashboards.
    Complexity

    Ideal for complex, pixel-perfect reports with advanced formatting and layouts.

    Suited for creating intuitive, self-service reports and dashboards.

    44. Describe the role of Cognos Dynamic Cubes.

    Ans:

    Cognos Dynamic Cubes are in-memory OLAP cubes that provide accelerated query performance for complex and frequently changing data. They serve as a high-performance data source for Cognos reports and allow real-time analysis of large datasets.

    45. Define Drill Through.

    Ans:

    Cognos Dynamic Cubes are in-memory OLAP cubes that provide accelerated query performance for complex and frequently changing data. They serve as a high-performance data source for Cognos reports and allow real-time analysis of large datasets.

    46. How do you integrate Cognos with other BI tools or applications?

    Ans:

    Cognos can be integrated with other BI tools and applications through APIs, connectors, and web services. This integration allows for data exchange, embedding reports in external applications, or using Cognos data in conjunction with other BI solutions.

    47. What are Cognos SDK and Cognos Mashup Services?

    Ans:

    Cognos SDK (Software Development Kit) provides a set of programming interfaces and libraries for customizing and extending Cognos functionality. Cognos Mashup Services allow developers to embed Cognos reports, dashboards, and visualizations into external web applications using JavaScript and RESTful APIs.

    48. How can you optimize performance in Cognos reports and queries?

    Ans:

    Performance optimization in Cognos involves various strategies, including efficient SQL generation, proper indexing in data sources, caching, query optimization, and tuning hardware resources to ensure faster report rendering and data retrieval.

    49. What is the Cognos Analysis Studio, and when is it used?

    Ans:

    Cognos Analysis Studio is an ad-hoc analysis tool that allows users to explore data, create custom calculations, and build pivot tables for in-depth analysis. It is used when users need to perform exploratory data analysis without requiring advanced report design skills.

    50. Explain the role of Cognos Business Insight.

    Ans:

    Cognos Business Insight is a web-based reporting and analysis tool that provides self-service capabilities for business users.It allows users to make interactive charts, reports, and dashboards, facilitating data exploration and decision-making.

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    51. What is SQL, and why is it important in Cognos?

    Ans:

    A standard language for managing and obtaining data from relational databases is called SQL (Structured Query Language). In Cognos, SQL is important because it is used to generate database queries for report data retrieval, making it a crucial component of report development.

    52. How do you write SQL queries in Cognos to retrieve data?

    Ans:

    SQL queries in Cognos are automatically generated by the tool based on report requirements. Report authors use a user-friendly interface to design reports, and Cognos translates their selections and filters into SQL queries behind the scenes.

    53. Describe the SQL functions available in Cognos.

    Ans:

    Cognos supports various SQL functions for data manipulation, including aggregation functions (SUM, AVG), mathematical functions (ROUND, ABS), string functions (CONCAT, SUBSTRING), date functions (DATEADD, DATEDIFF), and conditional functions (CASE).

    54. What is data modeling, and how is it relevant to Cognos?

    Ans:

    Data modeling is the process of structuring and organizing data in a way that reflects business requirements and relationships. In Cognos, data modeling is relevant as it defines how data sources are represented in the metadata layer, ensuring data consistency and usability for report development.

    55. Explain the concepts of normalization and denormalization in data modeling.

    Ans:

    Data organization through normalization reduces duplication and ensures data integrity. Denormalization, on the other hand, involves adding redundancy to optimize query performance. Data modelers choose between these approaches based on reporting needs.

    56. What is a primary key, and how is it used in data modeling?

    Ans:

    Each record in a database table has a primary key that uniquely identifies it. It is used in data modeling to ensure data integrity and establish relationships between tables. Primary keys serve as the basis for defining foreign keys in related tables.

    57. How do you create relationships between tables in a database?

    Ans:

    Relationships between tables in a database are created by defining foreign keys in child tables that reference the primary keys in parent tables. This establishes links between related data and allows for data retrieval through joins.

    58. What is a foreign key, and how does it relate to data modeling?

    Ans:

    Each record in a database table has a primary key that uniquely identifies it. In data modeling, foreign keys define relationships between tables, facilitating data retrieval and maintaining data integrity in a relational database.

    59. Describe the different types of joins in SQL.

    Ans:

    SQL supports various types of joins, including INNER JOIN (returns matching rows from both tables), LEFT JOIN (returns all rows from the left table and matching rows from the right table), RIGHT JOIN (opposite of LEFT JOIN), and FULL OUTER JOIN (returns all rows from both tables). These joins are used to combine data from multiple tables based on specified conditions.

    60. What are some common performance issues in Cognos, and how can they be addressed?

    Ans:

    Common performance issues in Cognos include slow report rendering, long query execution times, and high server resource utilization. They can be addressed by optimizing reports, improving query performance, and allocating adequate server resources.

    61. How can you optimize SQL queries in Cognos for better performance?

    Ans:

    SQL query optimization in Cognos involves techniques like using filters, reducing unnecessary joins, limiting the result set, optimizing data source indexes, and utilizing aggregates. It’s important to design efficient queries to improve report retrieval speed.

    62. What is Query studio?

    Ans:

    SQL query optimization in Cognos involves techniques like using filters, reducing unnecessary joins, limiting the result set, optimizing data source indexes, and utilizing aggregates. It’s important to design efficient queries to improve report retrieval speed.

    63. What is query optimization, and why is it important?

    Ans:

    Query optimization is the process of improving the efficiency and performance of database queries. It’s crucial in Cognos to ensure reports and queries execute quickly, reducing user wait times and server resource usage.

    64. How do you troubleshoot report rendering issues in Cognos?

    Ans:

    Troubleshooting report rendering issues in Cognos involves checking report design, verifying data sources, examining report properties, and reviewing server logs. It’s essential to identify and address issues like large result sets, complex layouts, or rendering errors.

    65. Explain the steps to identify and resolve data source connection problems.

    Ans:

    To identify and resolve data source connection problems in Cognos, check database server availability, verify connection settings, review firewall and network configurations, and test connections using Cognos tools. Ensure credentials are up-to-date and permissions are correctly assigned.

    66. What are the best practices for improving report performance in Cognos?

    Ans:

    Best practices for report performance improvement in Cognos include designing efficient queries, limiting the data retrieved, using caching, optimizing report layouts, avoiding unnecessary calculations, and minimizing the use of complex expressions.

    67. Describe the role of caching in Cognos and its impact on performance.

    Ans:

    Caching in Cognos stores frequently used report data or query results in memory to reduce the load on data sources and improve report rendering speed. Proper caching strategies can significantly enhance performance by serving cached data when applicable.

    68. How do you monitor and analyze performance metrics in Cognos?

    Ans:

    Performance metrics in Cognos can be monitored through the Cognos Administration Console and tools like IBM Cognos Audit, which track user activity and server performance. Analysis involves reviewing logs, reports, and metrics to identify bottlenecks and areas for improvement.

    69. What are the tools and techniques for troubleshooting Cognos server issues?

    Ans:

    Troubleshooting Cognos server issues involves using server logs, performance monitoring tools, and server configuration settings. Techniques include analyzing error messages, checking server resource utilization, and adjusting server configurations to resolve issues.

    70. How can you handle memory and resource management in Cognos?

    Ans:

    Memory and resource management in Cognos can be handled by allocating sufficient hardware resources, tuning server configurations, optimizing report design, and using caching effectively. Regular monitoring and performance analysis are essential to ensure efficient resource utilization.

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    71. What is Cognos security, and why is it necessary?

    Ans:

    Cognos security refers to the mechanisms and policies in place to protect data, reports, and system resources from unauthorized access or misuse. It is necessary to ensure that sensitive information is only accessible to authorized users, maintain data integrity, and comply with regulatory requirements.

    72. Explain the differences between object-level security and data-level security in Cognos.

    Ans:

    Aspect Object-Level Security Data-Level Security
    Scope of Control

    Controls access to Cognos objects such as reports, folders, and dashboards.

    in drive

    Controls access to specific data within reports or data sources.
    Access Control Granularity Controls who can view or modify Cognos objects as a whole. Controls which data rows or columns users can see or interact with.
    Use Cases Used to secure and restrict access to folders, reports, and dashboards. Used to restrict access to sensitive or confidential data within reports.
    Control Mechanisms

    Typically managed through roles and permissions assigned to users or groups.

    Implemented using data-level filtering, row-level security, or security predicates.

    73. How do you implement role-based security in Cognos?

    Ans:

    Role-based security in Cognos involves defining roles (e.g., report authors, administrators) and associating permissions with these roles. Users are assigned to roles, and their access is determined by the permissions assigned to those roles.

    74. Describe the authentication methods supported by Cognos.

    Ans:

    Cognos supports various authentication methods, including Cognos Namespace, LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol), Active Directory, Single Sign-On (SSO), and custom authentication providers. These methods verify user identities during login.

    75. What is LDAP authentication, and how is it configured in Cognos?

    Ans:

    LDAP authentication in Cognos involves using an LDAP server to authenticate users. Configuration includes specifying LDAP server details, like hostname and port, and mapping LDAP attributes to Cognos user properties for user synchronization.

    76. How can you enforce row-level security in Cognos reports?

    Ans:

    Row-level security in Cognos is enforced by defining security filters within a package. Security filters restrict data retrieval based on user attributes (e.g., department) or user group membership, ensuring users only access authorized data rows.

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