I’ve been asked a few times lately to advise folks on how to get a simple data dump out of Deltek Cobra. So I figured I share a couple of simple tricks with you all showing how to do this.
This article looks at a couple of ideas for getting a quick dump of data into the ubiquitous Microsoft Excel, so that y’all can pivot your way to glory in the next project meeting.
Deltek Cobra Reports
One technique I can offer is really simple. Have you noticed that when you run a Deltek Cobra report, there are some additional tabs in the workbook? One of these is marked ‘Data’.
In this example, we ran a basic Time-phased report to extract some budget hours for the project’s work packages. The standard time-phased report that appears in the ‘Reports’ tab has various grouping criteria that naturally create blank rows and indents in the spreadsheet. This is fine for the report itself, but not so cool if you had some pivot tables you needed to produce.
So let’s take a look at the Tab marked ‘Data’. This is a data dump of sorts and lends itself very well to pivot table operations in Microsoft Excel. Notice how it lacks any formatting or indenting. It just contains flat columns that can be pivoted however you need.
In this next example you can see how a Pivot Table has been defined based upon our Time-phased report’s Data tab. You can click on this image to enlarge it.
SQL Command Utility
If you want to get a little more sophisticated, you can always opt for writing simple SQL statements in Cobra’s SQL Commend Utility; available from the Tools menu.
Once you’ve run a SQL statement, Cobra puts up a dialog of columns and rows with the SQL Query results displayed. If you right-click on this, you can dump it out to a spreadsheet using the Save As… option in the resulting menu. This writes the content of the Results dialog to an XLS formatted file.
From here you can swivel the data however you want in Microsoft Excel. The only slight drawback with this is method is the rather raw formatting of the data. For example, dates have a lot of timestamp info that you need to strip out in Excel before it will treat the values as something other than text. Apart from that, this can become a powerful secondary reporting tool for those who enjoy cutting more sophisticated SQL queries.
When doing SQL data dumps, you can make excellent use of the data schema to see what tables and fields you have available to you and how they can be linked. The data schema is published as a .JPG file called Cobra 5.1 ERD.jpg and can be found in the following location on your system if you have a standard standalone copy. If you’re using a server version, you may need to approach your IT department to get a copy of this file.
C:\Program Files (x86)\Deltek\Cobra 5\Help\DataDictionary
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