Cognos Storytelling Replacing Powerpoint Presentations?
Creating a “Story” object in Cognos was released last year in Cognos Analytics V11.0.4 and has been upgraded with every future releases. Cognos has assigned a dedicated product manager to this functionality and we expect to see more and more functionality with future releases.
What is storytelling?
Creating a “Story” allows you to create a set of slides or a presentation directly in Cognos. Think of each slide as a powerpoint slide. You can add text, directly embed Cognos Visualizations, use info graphics, have objects slide, and slide out etc. When you compile your slides together you ultimately have a story that you are trying to tell.
Included in this functionality is a timeline at the bottom of the story that allows you to time when objects are flowing in, flowing out, or to setup your story as a video allowing it to run and transition to each slide at specified times.
So how can this replace Microsoft Powerpoint?
Imagine you working for a manufacturing company and you are responsible for putting together a monthly presentation of the items being sold by your company for your Executive Management. What we typically see is users use their BI tool or Excel to create visualizations and then screenshot the image and paste it into Powerpoint.
Now imagine having a live link to sales reports and visualizations that you can embed directly into your story and update on the fly. As you go into each month the data in your story can be automatically updated with live numbers in your Cognos solution, no more copying and pasting and potential for putting incorrect values in your presentation. Your only responsibility would be analyzing the values and updating your analysis in the story.
While functionality to make a slide flashy isn’t yet as powerful as Powerpoint there is plenty of functionality for standard presentations which is what the majority of us put together.
Distribution of Cognos Stories?
The one downside with a Cognos Story is that it currently has to live in Cognos. You cannot email a Cognos Story like you can a Powerpoint presentation. If a majority of your users are on Cognos all you would need to do is save the Story in common location in Cognos, email people the link, and they can consume it directly in Cognos. IBM has functionality on their roadmap to allow people to export Stories as videos and possibly as other formats but we will see what happens with future releases.