What are metrics?

The Metrics application in IBM® Connections provides a comprehensive set of quantitative and qualitative metrics that help measure the business value of IBM® Connections in your organization.

IBM® Connections uses IBM® Cognos® Business Intelligence to collect and maintain metrics, and to generate reports that users can view directly in IBM® Connections. Metrics reports can be presented as tables or charts that you refine by selecting options such as the time period to report on, a particular application to focus on, or how to group users in the results.

Note: Statistics that are related to the Search application are not collected or reported by the Metrics application. For information on search statistics, see the Viewing and collecting Search metrics topic.

IBM® Connections provides metrics on two levels: Global and Community. A Global metrics report is generated every time that the user clicks it; however, the report data is updated on a daily basis. Refreshes are typically scheduled during off-peak hours to avoid degrading system performance.

Community metrics reports focus on a particular community. For example, the number of people who logged in to the Sales community last week. Community metrics are generated on demand and are then cached until a new report is requested. Requests are place into a queue and are processed in order. After community owners submit requests, they can work in other areas of the application until the report is ready for viewing.

The IBM® Connections administrator has implicit access to all metrics reports. Community owners can view metrics for their own community, but cannot view global metrics. Other users who require the information can be authorized to view global metrics; for example, managers might require access to metrics for business purposes even if they do not manage a community.

The Metrics application comprises the following components.

Event tracker
The event tracker records user actions in IBM® Connections. For example, an event is created every time that a user reads a blog entry, creates a To do item in an activity, updates a wiki page, or follows a community. These events are then used to calculate various metrics.
Event data is stored in database tables and includes information about each event, such as the user, the data, the date, and the IBM® Connections application that was affected. IBM® Connections requires two databases for managing metrics data:
The Cognos® Content Store database
Contains data for managing the Cognos® Business Intelligence components that provide the metrics collection and reporting tools.
The Metrics database
Contains the raw event-related data.
Cognos® Business Intelligence uses a cube to store metrics information for analysis. A cube is a data structure in which data is stored across multiple categories, or dimensions. The Metrics PowerCube is generated by the Cognos® Transformer application. The PowerCube uses OLAP (online analytical processing) techniques for quickly analyzing a measure across multiple dimensions; for example, to count user logins across multiple IBM® Connections applications during a specified time. Pre-aggregating the data for each measure across the available dimensions enables the PowerCube to respond quickly to queries so that reports can be produced in a timely manner.

The PowerCube is based on the metrics model, which is a business-oriented representation of the information in the metrics cube data source, including the dimensional metadata and measures. The metrics cube data source is a Cognos® package that defines the queries that retrieve data from the PowerCube.

A report is a summary of the data that is provided by the PowerCube in response to a particular query. Reports can be scheduled to run automatically at specified times, and are presented to the user as tables, charts, or other types of graphs. When you deploy IBM® Connections, a predefined set of reports is immediately available for use. You can create custom reports to suit your organization's needs.
Reports are designed with three standard filters that categorize data in the displays:
  • The applications filter groups data for a specific application scope, either across IBM® Connections or within a particular community; for example, to view only blogs that are owned by the Customer Support community.
  • The time range filter allows a report to focus on a particular period by including only data for one of the following predefined intervals:
    1. Last seven days
    2. Last four weeks
    3. Last quarter
    4. Last 12 months
    5. All years
  • The user attribute filter groups data about people, based on predefined user profile attributes (geography, department, and role). For information on customizing the user attribute filter for your organization's reports, see the Mapping Metrics report dimensions to user profile attributes topic.
User interface
IBM® Connections provides a user interface for displaying metrics reports. When authorized users view reports, they can apply filters to collect and categorize data, drill down on data points to see more detail, and save a copy of the report.

The Metrics event-tracking component captures events from IBM® Connections, such as viewing a blog entry, replying to a forum topic, uploading a file, or updating a wiki page. Events are stored in the Metrics database. A scheduled job runs the Cognos® Transformer application to retrieve data from the Metrics database and generate the PowerCube. When a user accesses the Metrics user interface in IBM® Connections, the Cognos® Business Intelligence application generates metrics reports by querying the PowerCube.