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Cubes

User Manual

2006 by TRU Institutional Research and Planning


www.tru.ca/irp/
Cognos Documentation

Table of Content
General Powerplay Information ................................................................................................. 2
Terminology......................................................................................................................... 2
Business Intelligence............................................................................................................. 2
Cube ...................................................................................................................................... 2
Measures............................................................................................................................... 3
Dimensions and Levels ......................................................................................................... 3
Connecting to the PowerPlay web server ......................................................................... 3
Changing how the Measure is displayed .......................................................................... 4
Sorting Rows and Columns ............................................................................................... 4
Changing the number of rows and columns .................................................................... 5
Exception Highlighting ....................................................................................................... 7
Zero Suppression................................................................................................................ 8
80/20 Suppression............................................................................................................... 8
Hiding/Showing columns/rows .......................................................................................... 9
Nesting of Categories ....................................................................................................... 10
Export ................................................................................................................................. 12
Excel File ............................................................................................................................. 12
CSV File .............................................................................................................................. 14
PDF ..................................................................................................................................... 15
Chart.................................................................................................................................... 15
Icons ................................................................................................................................... 16
Changing the Password ................................................................................................... 17
Existing Cubes .......................................................................................................................... 19
The Enrolment Cube ......................................................................................................... 19
Default Settings of the Enrolment Cube .............................................................................. 19
Common User Questions ......................................................................................................... 20
Enrolment Cube................................................................................................................. 20
Registration numbers for a course ...................................................................................... 20
Grade Distribution for a Program......................................................................................... 23
Notes .......................................................................................................................................... 28

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General Powerplay Information


Terminology
Business Intelligence
Powerplay Web from Cognos is a business intelligence tool. Business intelligence is a
broad category of application programs and technology used to gather, store, analyze,
and provide access to data.

With business intelligence software you can:

create an information infrastructure that supports nimble decision-making to


maximize the success of your organization
look inside the data to investigate and analyze
take action based on the information discovered to make better decisions

Cube
A cube is a structure that stores summarized data multidimensionally and provides:

secure data access and


fast retrieval of data.

Division
/School
Summer
Winter Time
Fall
Registrations

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Measures
Included as part of a cube, measures address questions related primarily to numeric
issues of the key performance indicator, such as how much and how many. Measures
are the actual numbers that you see in your report. The enrolment has two measures:

1. Course registrations and Credit Transfers


2. Headcount

Dimensions and Levels


A dimension is a broad group of descriptive data about the major aspects of our
University, such as students, registrations, and demographics and typically answer who,
what, where, and when.

Dimensions are made up of levels that represent the hierarchy established by the
organizational structures and data used by your organization. Each subordinate level
provides increasingly detailed data that relates to the dimension.

Data in a cube is organized into unique dimensions and stored in a hierarchy of levels.
The level hierarchy also determines the navigation paths available in PowerPlay Web.
For example, the Academic Year dimension contains the level terms.

Connecting to the PowerPlay web server


Access to the PowerPlay web server is restricted and you have to have a username and
password to access the cubes and reports. Access to the cubes at this time is limited to
the Executive, Deans, Directors, Managers and Chairs. You can get a username and
password by contacting the IT Services Helpdesk at 250.828.5320 or helpdesk@tru.ca.

Once you have your username and password you only need a web browser like
Microsoft Internet Explorer to access Cognos PowerPlay. Just type
http://smart.tru.ca/cognos/ into the address bar of your web browser and you will get to
the login screen.

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Just type in the User ID and Password and click on Log On. You can change the
password at any point in time (see Changing the Password in this manual).

Changing how the Measure is displayed


The Measure can either be displayed as values or as percentages in a number of
different ways. In the crosstab display right-click somewhere in the Measure cell and
select the option from the context menu you want.

Sorting Rows and Columns


You can sort any row or column either ascending or descending or remove the sort
again. To sort a column or row click on the column or row head of the column or row
that you want to sort so that the column or row is highlighted and the sort icons appear.

Another click on the sort icons opens the context menu and you can choose the desired
sorting option.

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A little symbol in the column head tells you which sorting currently applies.

Changing the number of rows and columns

The crosstab display can have a large number of rows and columns. It is possible to
change the number of rows and columns so that less or more content is displayed on
the screen.

Click on the icon and click on Options.

The Options screen opens and you can change the number of rows and columns. To
preview the change before closing the Options window click on Apply. To save the
changes and close the window click on OK.

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The system splits the display into a number of pages and adds arrows to navigate to the
first, previous, next or last page (see screenshot).

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Exception Highlighting
Do you want to highlight very high, very low or a range of numbers? Exception
highlighting is the tool to do that. You can change the color of the text or even the color
of the cell based on rules that you setup. Click on the icon to open the exception
window. Click on Add to add an exception highlighting rule.

You now have to type in a name under Exception Name, the minimum number into
From and the maximum number into To and pick a color for the text and cell
background. You can setup up to five exceptions ranges in one exception rule. In this
example the system would display all value between 10,000 and 20,000 in a yellow cell
with green text. Click on OK to save it.

Before your rule is applied you have to select the columns, rows or measures that you
want to apply the rule to. Click on the column or row head or the measure cell if you
want the whole table to select the area. You can use the Ctrl key to select multiple rows
or columns. Then click on Apply to apply your rule to the selected area.

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Exception highlighting rules can be edited or deleted by clicking on the icon and
then on the Edit and Delete links in the Exceptions window.

Zero Suppression
Sometimes whole columns or rows only contain zeros. There is an easy way to hide
those columns and/or rows. Click on the arrow right of the icon and select which
option you want. You can apply zero suppression to the whole table or only to rows or
columns. This feature will simplify your view as only columns and/or rows containing
data will show.

To cancel the zero suppression click on the icon again.

80/20 Suppression
PowerPlay web also offers a feature that applies the Pareto Principle or 80-20 rule to the
data. You can suppress those values that do not contribute to the top 80% of the results

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by clicking on the icon. PowerPlay Web combines those values and displays them
together under Other.

Clicking on the icon again cancels the 80/20 suppression. The column and row
totals still include the suppressed 20 %. This feature only helps to reduce the number of
columns and/or rows but does not change the totals.

Hiding/Showing columns/rows
It is possible to hide columns or rows so that they are not displayed but their values are
still included in the totals. The easiest way to hide a column or row is to right-click in
the row or column head of the row or column you want to hide and select Hide
Selection from the context menu.

To show a hidden column or row right-click in any row head if you want to show a row
or column head if you want to show a column and select Hide/Show

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Select the Category you want to show again from the list on the right and click on the
green arrow pointing left in the middle. Repeat this step for every other category and
click on OK to save and apply the change.

Remember that the Hide feature does NOT show the selected data but DOES
include it in the totals! If you want to exclude the data from the totals too you
need to use the Custom Subset feature!

Nesting of Categories
Nesting allows you to drill down further into your data without losing the overview.
Nesting adds more dimensions to your cube. Nested columns appear below the current
column chosen, and nested rows appear to the right of the current row chosen.

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There are several ways to nest a category into a column or row. One way is to drag and
drop the dimension into the crosstab. Click on the dimension which you want to nest,
hold down the mouse key and drag it over to the rows or columns.

As an alternative you can also right-click on the dimension on the left and then
select Nest Rows or Nest Columns. A third way is to drag and drop the category
from the top of the screen.

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To delete a nested column or row click on the little cell left of the nested column or
row and click on the delete icon in the appearing context menu.

To change the order of nested columns or rows click on the little cell left of the
nested column or row and choose the icon to move it left or right.

Export
Cognos Powerplay offers several different ways to export the data displayed in the
crosstab or the chart that you created.

Excel File
The data displayed in the crosstab display or behind a chart can be easily exported as
an Excel file. Click on the little arrow right of the export icon and select
Export XLS from the context menu.

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In the next window you can choose to either Open or Save the file.

If you selected Save you can then choose the drive and folder where you want to save
the file as well as enter the file name. Click on Save to save the file.

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CSV File
If Microsoft Excel is not available then exporting it to a CSV (comma separated values)
file is a good choice. CSV files can be imported by a large number of applications and
databases. The process is very similar to the Export as XLS file.
The data displayed in the crosstab display or behind a chart can be easily exported as
an Excel file. Click on the little arrow right of the export icon and select
Export CSV from the context menu.

In the next window you can choose to either Open or Save the file.

If you selected Save you can then choose the drive and folder where you want to save
the file as well as enter the file name. Click on Save to save the file.

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PDF
The data displayed in the crosstab display or behind a chart can be easily exported as a
PDF file. Click on the little arrow right of the export icon and select Export
PDF from the context menu.

The Export PDF window opens and you can select the Orientation and Paper Size
before clicking on Export.

If you selected Save you can then choose the drive and folder where you want to save
the file as well as enter the file name. Click on Save to save the file.

Chart
A chart created in Cognos Powerplay can be copied to the clipboard and then inserted
into any other Windows program like Microsoft Word or PowerPoint. Just follow these
simple steps to copy the chart:

Right-click anywhere on the chart and select Copy to Clipboard from the context
menu.

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The chart has now been copied to the clipboard and is therefore available in many other
Windows programs. Open the program in which you want to use the chart (e.g. Word or
PowerPoint) or switch to it if it is already open. Open the file in which you want to use
the chart or open a new one. You can now insert the chart using any of the following
methods:

Ctrl + V OR
click on the Paste icon OR
choose Edit >> Paste from the menu.

Icons

Icons on the bottom


Change to crosstab display

Change to chart display

Display options

Swap rows and columns

Opens the hide/show window

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Opens the calculation window

Opens the rank window

Applies zero suppression

Applies 80/20 suppression

Opens the custom exception window

Opens custom subset window

Drill through

Agent

Export options

Help

Save

Save as

Return to the start page


Icons on the top
First dimension
Previous dimension
Next dimension
Last dimension
Reset
Wrapping on
Wrapping off

Changing the Password


To change the password return to the source page first if you are in the cube by clicking
on . The click on Personalize in the top right corner of the source page.

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Click on the User tab to access the change password link.

The link Change logon password can be found under Passwords.

Enter the current password under Current Password and the new password twice
under New password and Verify password. Click OK to change the password.

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Existing Cubes
The Enrolment Cube
You can access the TRU Enrolment cube from the NewsIndex page by clicking on the
link enrolments_tru (see screenshot). You can always return to the NewsIndex page
by clicking on the icon in the bottom right corner.

Default Settings of the Enrolment Cube

When you first open the cube the following default settings apply:

Academic year (starting with 1999/2000)


Divisions/Schools (all locations)

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Active & withdrawn registrations & credit transfers


(supporting sections are not counted)

Common User Questions


In this section of the manual examples will be used to show how to find the information
for typical questions. The question is marked with a and the answer follows right
underneath the question described in easy to follow step by step description.

Enrolment Cube
Registration numbers for a course

How many students registered for the English 110 course in Kamloops in
the Fall term of 2004/2005?

We know the following information:

9 The course was ENGL 110


9 ENGL 110 is offered by the Faculty of Arts and its department English and
Modern Languages
9 The course was in Kamloops
9 The academic year was 2004/2005
9 The term was Fall

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You can start by either picking the Division Faculty of Arts or the Academic Year
2004/2005 first. Lets pick Faculty of Arts first:

The next screen displays a list of all locations. Lets pick Kamloops by clicking on it:

The next screen shows the different departments of the Faculty of Arts. ENGL 110 is
offered by English & Modern Languages:

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The next screen shows all the courses offered by the English & Modern Languages
department in the Faculty of Arts. Click on ENGL 110 to see the details for this course:

This screen shows all the sections of ENGL 110 including reserved sections (starting
with R). Pick the Academic Year 2004/2005 to drill down further:

You are done! You can now see the registrations for ENGL 110 for the Fall term of
2004/2005.

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Grade Distribution for a Program

How did the grade distribution of Early Childhood Education look like for
2003/2004?

The first step is to analyze which information is already available:

9 Early Childhood Education is part of the School of Education


9 The academic year is 2003/2004
9 All grades issued are to be included

Lets start by drilling down to Early Childhood Education. Click on School of Education
first:

The next level shows all the locations and click Kamloops to restrict the data to
Kamloops only:

Now you need to create a custom subset with Early Childhood Education. Right-Click in
the row of Early Childhood Education and select Create Custom Subset from the
context menu:

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Now we can add the Final Letter Grades into the picture. Click on the Final Letter
Grade dimension on the left side and hold down the mouse button. Drag it over into
the Early Childhood Education cell until a small blue rectangle appears behind the
text.

Let go of the mouse button and the screen should look like this:

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Since we only want to see 2003/2004 we need to create another custom subset for this
academic year. Right-click in the cell 2003/2004 and select Create Custom Subset
from the context menu.

In the next step we will restrict our view to only grades that were issued. We can use the
zero suppression to achieve that. Click on the . icon to suppress all grades which
were not issued.

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Before we can graph it we need to swap the columns and rows by clicking on the
icon on the bottom of the screen.

The next step is to change the display from actual numbers to percentages. Right-click
in the Course Enrolment & Credit Transfers as values cell and select as % of row
total from the context menu.

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One last step and we will have a nice looking chart with the grade distribution. Click on
the arrow right of the chart icon and select Multiline from the options.

Ready! The following line chart clearly displays the grade distribution:

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Notes

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