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Create Data Visualizations in Cognos BI with Sage 50 UK Data

Access Sage 50 UK data as an ODBC data source in Cognos Business Intelligence and create data visualizations in Cognos Report Studio.

You can use the CData ODBC driver for Sage 50 UK to integrate Sage 50 UK data with the drag-and-drop style of Cognos Report Studio. This article describes both a graphical approach to create data visualizations, with no SQL required, as well as how to execute any SQL query supported by Sage 50 UK.

Configure and Publish the Data Source

If you have not already, first specify connection properties in an ODBC DSN (data source name). This is the last step of the driver installation. You can use the Microsoft ODBC Data Source Administrator to create and configure ODBC DSNs.

Note: Only Sage 50 UK 2012 and above are supported.

The User and Password properties, under the Connection section, must be set to valid Sage 50 UK user credentials. These values will be the same used to log in to the Sage 50 UK software.

Additionally, the URL property, under the Connection section, will need to be set to the address of the company dataset desired. To obtain the address, do the following:

  1. If you have not already done so, open the Sage 50 UK software.
  2. Click Tools -> Internet Options.
  3. Select the SData Settings tab.
  4. Click the Details button next to Sage 50 Accounts. A window is displayed containing a list of company names along with the address to their corresponding datasets.
  5. Set the URL property to the value in the address field next to the company desired.

When you configure the DSN, you may also want to set the Max Rows connection property. This will limit the number of rows returned, which is especially helpful for improving performance when designing reports and visualizations.

If you are running Cognos from a 64-bit machine and want to modify the DSN or create other Sage 50 UK DSNs, you must use a system DSN. You will also need to open the 32-bit ODBC Data Source Administrator. You can open it with the following command:

C:\Windows\sysWOW64\odbcad32.exe

After creating a DSN, you can then publish the data source:

  1. Open Cognos Administration and click Data Source Connections to add a new data source:
  2. Select the ODBC option and enter the DSN, CData Sage50UK Sys, and a user-friendly name.

  3. Click Retrieve Objects and choose the CData Sage 50 UK database object.

Add Data Visualizations to a Report

You can now create reports on Sage 50 UK data in Cognos Report Studio by dragging and dropping table columns from the Source Explorer onto report objects. The sections below show how to create a simple report with a chart that shows up-to-date data.

As you build the report, Cognos Report Studio will generate SQL queries and rely on the driver to execute them. The driver will convert queries into requests to the Sage 50 UK API. To execute queries to the live Sage 50 UK data, the driver depends on the capabilities of the underlying API.

Create a Chart Based on an Aggregate

You can populate almost any report object in Cognos with Sage 50 UK data by simply dragging and dropping columns from the Source Explorer onto the dimensions of the object. The column in the Series dimension of the chart is automatically grouped.

Additionally, Cognos sets a logical default aggregate function for the measure dimension based on the data type. For this example, override the default by clicking the FinanceBalance column in the Data Items tab and set the Aggregate Function property to Not Applicable. The Rollup Aggregate Function property must be set to Automatic.

Convert a Query Object to SQL

When you know the query you need, or if you want to adjust the generated query, convert a query object into an SQL statement. After a query has been converted to SQL, the UI controls are not available for the query object. Follow the procedure below to populate a chart with user-defined SQL.

Cognos will rely on the driver to execute the user-defined query. Using the driver's SQL engine ensures that queries will always return up-to-date results, as there is no cached copy of the data.

  1. Hover over the Query Explorer and click the Queries folder to display the query objects in your report.
  2. If you want to edit the autogenerated query, click the button in the Generated SQL property for the query object. In the resulting dialog, click Convert.

    If you want to enter a new SQL statement, drop an SQL object in-line with the query object.

  3. Modify the properties for the SQL object: Select the Sage 50 UK data source in the SQL properties and set the SQL Syntax property to Native.
  4. Click the button in the SQL property and enter the SQL query in the resulting dialog. This example uses the query below:

    SELECT Name, FinanceBalance FROM TradingAccounts
  5. Modify the properties for the query object: Set the Processing property to "Limited Local". This value is required to convert a query object to SQL.

Fill a Chart with the Results of a Query

You can now access the results of the SQL query as objects in the Data Items tab. Follow the procedure below to create a chart with the results; for example, the FinanceBalance for each Name from the TradingAccounts table.

  1. Return to the page by hovering over the Page Explorer and then clicking the page object.
  2. Drag a pie chart from the toolbox onto the workspace.
  3. In the properties for the chart, set the Query property to the name of the query you created above.
  4. Click the Data Items tab and drag columns onto the x- and y-axes. In this example, drag the Name column to the Series (pie slices) box and the FinanceBalance column to the Default Measure box.
  5. Modify the default properties for the Default Measure (the FinanceBalance values): In the Aggregate Function box, select the Total option.

Run the report to add the results of the query.