Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

What is a data warehouse in general terms?

A data warehouse is a place where data is stored. It can be comprised of data from a wide range of sources or even a single system. The advantages of a data warehouse include:

  • Elimination of user access to source systems for reporting, improving source system performance
  • Data formatting and presentation can be standardized to make it easier to understand for users
  • Reporting systems utilizing a warehouse will have better performance
  • A warehouse can retain decades of transactions that source systems might not
  • Co-located data is easier to backup and secure
  • Complex analytical data can be created and combined with other data in a warehouse without impacting source systems

The University now has two data warehouses: the old data warehouse (accessed via BI/Query tools) and the new one (called the IDR Data Warehouse) that is in the process of being developed (accessed via Cognos tools). The old data warehouse will be phased out as we add more data to the new data warehouse.

How far back does the data go in the IDR data warehouse?

  • Payroll data: Start date is roughly 1998/1999.
  • HR data: No hard start date, but all Banner HR data is copied to the IDR warehouse.
  • Financial data: Start date is fiscal year 2008 (July 1, 2007) for transaction history, and 1994 for operating ledger.
  • Student data: No hard start date, but all Banner student data is copied to the IDR warehouse.

When will the existing BI/Query data warehouse be taken off-line? 

There are no plans to decommission the BI/Query data warehouse until the processes to populate Banner data in the new IDR data warehouse have been set up and validated. Programmers in the departments and schools who have set up automatic processes that pull data from the BI/Query data warehouse will, as long as their processes comply with policy and the technology framework and they have been granted the appropriate data access, still be able to create processes although the methods will likely be different.

IDR Data Warehouse Processes

Please see the following links for information on adding data and requesting reports:

Gain Access

How do I get access to the IDR data warehouse (Cognos)?

See Getting Access

How do I know what capabilities each IDR role can do in Cognos?

Please refer to IDR Role Descriptions

Will access to the data warehouse, other than via Cognos, be provided? (e.g., web services)

The Steering Committee sets the priorities for the implementation. The first priority is to get Banner data in the IDR data warehouse so that users in the departments can write reports. After that, we will be looking at how to manage external data sources, web services and an ODS upgrade. For up to date information, please refer to the timeline (timeline) which will reflect any changes in dates and priorities as different phases of the project wrap up.

How are Cognos Report licenses being handled?

The IDR Steering Committee oversees the purchase and distribution of licenses. There are three types: Report User, Report Writer and Advanced Report Writer. More information on these licenses and how to request one can be found here.

If my department purchases a Cognos license for me, will I be able to use it on the IDR data warehouse?

The IDR Steering Committee provides oversight for all Cognos licenses since they are responsible for license compliance and for knowing where the data goes and how it is being used.

Technical Questions

Getting Started

How do I log into IDR/Cognos?

Use your browser to access the Cognos portal and log in using your Duck ID/password.

What browser should I be using? 

Windows users should use IE9, 10 or 11; and Mac users should use Mac OS X: Firefox. Windows users using Chrome or Firefox may encounter formatting issues and some features are not available.

Do I have to install anything on my computer to use Cognos?

No -- you just use a browser to get to the portal ("Cognos Connection").

Can I save/export Cognos report data to PDF or Excel report? 

Please refer to the "Tips and Tricks" document: link coming soon

Where should I be storing my reports? 

You can use "My Folders" within Cognos for personal reports and ad hoc queries.

Where shall I test my reports? 

It is good practice for everyone to run their reports in test first and then in production, once they look good and run well. This is *particularly* important for those with Advanced Report Writer licenses, since these users have a much greater chance of negatively impacting performance in production. 

What data is available now in the IDR data warehouse?

Finance data is available now in the IDR data warehouse. The IDR team is now working on Human Resources data. You can track our progress with populating the IDR data warehouse here (timeline).

How often is the data refreshed?

Data is refreshed nightly, 7 nights a week, so it is always as of end of business the day before.

Will Foundation data be available in the IDR data warehouse? 

This is unknown at this time. Many people have asked that it be provided in the IDR data warehouse but there are a number of policy issues that have to be addressed outside of this project and remains under discussion.

For the techies out there: See Here

Questions About the Transition

I currently extract data out of the old data warehouse using a tool other than BI/Query.  How will I get this data in the IDR data warehouse

You will have access to data via Cognos. Exactly what data depends on which Cognos packages you request, and whether your request is approved.

Known Issues / Troubleshooting

Scheduled reports that have run previously have now failed to run. What has happened?

Have you recently changed your DUCK ID password? If so, the problem is probably that authentication in Cognos has not automatically updated to your new password. Your Cognos authentication will update automatically after your password is changed if you log in; if you have not logged in prior to the scheduled report run time, Cognos will not be aware of your new password and the schedule will fail. You can manually update Cognos to recognize your new password: Go to the human shaped icon (My Area Options) on the top menu bar in Cognos and use the drop-down to go to 'My Preferences'. In 'My Preferences' choose the 'Personal' tab. Under 'Credentials' click the 'Update Credentials' link. You should now be able to use the scheduler.

Why wait until all data has been loaded?  Why can’t the process of investigating and then providing web services for FIS be started now and be done in parallel with other tasks since Finance data exists and the security model has been put in place?

Getting Banner data into the data warehouse has been identified as a top priority by the IDR Steering Committee, as the completion of that project will enable people to write their own reports. Providing web services is not as critical an endeavor, and would mean drawing resources away from the data migration project, so it is deferred until the data migration is complete. During the transition, the BI/Query data warehouse is still available (and will be for the forseeable future).

Why is it taking so long to populate the IDR data warehouse – can’t you just copy data from Banner? 

It is more complicated than that. The database tables that Cognos uses are not part of the Cognos product. We purchased the Operational Data Store (ODS) and the Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW) from Ellucian, which is also the company that sells Banner. The ODS and EDW were delivered with generic database tables and procedures for extracting data from our Banner database. Since the tables and procedures are generic, each must be modified to the extent that Banner has been modified here at the UO.

I can see the report list but get a blank screen when I run a report -- I am using Internet Explorer 10 on Windows 7.  What do I do? 

This is just a minor problem with the user’s IE 10.0 settings. If Cognos.uoregon.edu is not viewed in compatibility mode then the screens are blank. If compatibility mode is viewed then there are no problems. There are a couple ways to remedy this:

 1) Navigate to Cognos.uoregon.edu and

  • Click the Broken Page icon next to the padlock on the command bar
  • or
  • From the Tools menu item, click “Compatibility View”

 2) Change the compatibility view settings

  • From the tools menu item, click on Compatibility View Settings
  • “uoregon.edu” will appear in the “Add this website:” textbox. Click the Add button.
  •  or
  • From the tools menu item, click on Compatibility View Settings
  • Check either the “Display all websites in Compatibility View” or “Display intranet sites in Compatibility View”.
  • If the latter is chosen, the user must ensure that uoregon.edu is in the list of intranet sites.

Note:  In the Windows Update service, IE 10 is an important update to Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008, so it gets installed automatically if the user does not uncheck the checkbox. Once IE10 is uninstalled (as your user did), it becomes an optional update. IE 10 is a more secure and faster browser. Microsoft recommends it be used instead of IE 8 or 9.

After the upgrade to Cognos 10.2 in February 2014, when I run a report I see a blank screen instead of the report parameters.  What do I do?

This is just a minor problem with the browser. First be sure you are using Internet Explorer 9 or Internet Explorer 10 (Mac users may use Firefox).  Settings and cookies from the prior version of Cognos 10.1 are still saved in the browser. Clearing the browser cache will correct this. This document will walk you through the steps to clear cache: IDR FAQ - Clearing Browsing History.  

Additional Help

Where can I get additional information?

Send your question/feedback in the UO Service Portal.

Still have questions?

Feel free to email or call Noreen Hogan (noreenh@uoregon.edu, x61727).