Cognos dashboards

With dashboards, you can build sophisticated visualizations of your analytics results, and communicate the insights that you’ve discovered in your data on a dashboard.

Required service
Cognos Dashboard Embedded
Data format
CSV files
Data in tables in Db2 Warehouse on Cloud, Databases for PostgreSQL and Microsoft SQL Server on Cloud
Data size
Any; columns in CSV files can only be 128 characters long

For more information on choosing the right tool for your data and use case, see Choosing a tool.

The dashboard editor provides a graphical canvas for a line-of-business user to begin investigating data for patterns and insights. You don’t need to understand coding or SQL to explore the data and gain insights. You can share the results with other users both within your organization and externally through a URL link. Alternatively, you can hand off the dashboard to a data scientist for deeper analysis and predictive modeling.


Creating a Cognos Dashboard Embedded service

The analytics dashboard runs in a Cognos Dashboard Embedded service which you must provision and associate with your project before you can add an analytics dashboard to your project.

To create a Cognos Dashboard Embedded service in your project:

  1. Open your project in Watson Studio.
  2. On the Settings page from the Associated services section, click Add service and select Dashboard from the list.
  3. Select the pricing plan and create a service.

After you have provisioned a Cognos Dashboard Embedded service, you can see the service associated to your project on the Settings page for the project. Here is also where you can remove the associated service from the project.

Adding a dashboard to your project

Watch this short video to create a dashboard, view, and use data in customized visualizations, and save and share the dashboard.

To add a dashboard to your project:

  1. Click Add to project > Dashboard from the project toolbar, or click New dashboard from the Dashboards section on the project’s Assets page. You can create a blank dashboard or upload a dashboard file from your file system. The dashboard file must be a .json file.
  2. Type a name and description for your dashboard.
  3. Select a Cognos Dashboard Embedded service instance. If no Cognos Dashboard Embedded service is associated with the project, you can provision a new service instance or associate an existing instance directly from the New dashboard page. Save your settings.
  4. Select a template, or accept the default, and a new empty dashboard opens. Template dashboard
  5. Create visualizations of your source data by using the following options in the left-hand pane of the dashboard:
    • Sources: Enables selecting a data source connection. The data source must exist and have been added as a data asset on the Assets page of the project, see also Known issues for dashboards. The following data sources are supported:
      • CSV files (CSV files used in a dashboard must have the .csv extension)
      • Connection to or data from Db2 Warehouse on Cloud
      • Connection to or data from Databases for PostgreSQL
      • Connection to or data from Microsoft SQL Server on Cloud
    • Visualizations: Opens many different types of graphs that you can use to visualize the data from the selected data source connection. Drill down into your source connection and select the data segments you want to visualize.
    • Widgets: Enables adding widgets such as text, media, web pages, images, and shapes to the dashboard. You cannot add your own custom widgets to use in a dashboard. Dashboard with left pane open
  6. Click the Save icon to save your dashboard. The dashboard that you created is listed in the Dashboards section on the project’s Assets page.

Dashboard action bars

Project action bar in dashboards

From the project action bar, you can:

  • Download the dashboard to your file system as a JSON file.
  • Create a permanent URL to your saved dashboard which you can share with others.
  • Undo and redo actions to the dashboard.
  • Save your dashboard.
  • View your dashboard information. You can change the dashboard name and dashboard description or choose an alternate Cognos Dashboard Embedded service instance if multiple services are associated with the project.
  • Find resources in the community, for example, useful data sets.

Dashboard action bar

From the dashboard action bar, you can:

  • Add and remove widget connections, for example for text, media, web pages, images, and shapes.
  • Use filters to focus on areas of your data or to see the impact of particular columns.
  • Use fields to build and filter data.
  • Change dashboard properties, for example, colors.

The dashboards editor uses the dashboard functionality from IBM Cognos Analytics. You can learn more about how to use the dashboard in this documentation.

Actions on dashboards

All dashboards are listed in the Dashboards section on your project’s Assets page.

When you open a dashboard, you are notified if an associated data asset, for example a CSV file, or a connection, for example a Db2 on Cloud connection, is missing from your dashboard. You can select to skip the data asset or to relink it. Before you can relink the asset, you must add the missing asset to your project. Data assets associated with a dashboard might be missing if the data asset was removed from your project, or when you download a dashboard and create a new dashboard from the downloaded dashboard JSON file in a different project without the data assets it uses. If you do not relink the missing asset to the dashboard, the dashboard graphs will not render.

Note: If the name and the content of a data asset associated with a dashboard changes, it is found by the dashboard when it opens. However, the column names and column types in the data asset must be the same as those that were used in the dashboard graphs.

You can select the following actions from the Actions menu of a selected dashboard:

  • Share a dashboard with anybody else to view. Sharing a dashboard in read-only mode isn’t restricted to project collaborators. You can share your dashboard with anybody who has the link. You can stop sharing a dashboard at any time.
  • Duplicate a dashboard.
  • Publish a dashboard to a catalog so it can be added into other projects. When you select to publish a dashboard to the catalog, you can choose to add a preview of the dashboard with the dashboard file to the catalog. By taking screenshots of the dashboard, other users can see what the dashboard looks like before adding it into another project. Note: Only the dashboard file is published to the catalog. You will need to select or provision a Cognos Dashboard Embedded service and relink all missing data sources to use the dashboard in another project.
  • Remove a dashboard. You must have created the dashboard or have the Admin role in the project to remove a dashboard.

Supported Cognos Dashboards features

You can use the following Cognos Dashboards features in the dashboards you create:

  • Custom sorting
  • Table and crosstab null suppression
  • Bullet and KPI visualization

Learn more