It has the ability to model OLTP data sources with Framework Mgr. instead of building a data warehouse. Building a Framework metadata model takes weeks, while building a data warehouse takes 12-24 months.
The Framework model won't perform as fast as a properly designed and optimized DW, but it will give you accurate results with a much lower investment. Then, when your company is ready to invest in the DW, it can take the structure of the Framework model and map it to the DW tables, and all of your reports still work.
Improvements to My Organization:
We are a Cognos-only training and consulting company so our business depends on Cognos.
Room for Improvement:
The one that sticks out in my mind is the ability to search the relational data tree for query items (fields). I believe this functionality has been added in v11 (Cognos Analytics). The user interface in v10 is a little dated and not as tablet-friendly as some of the other viz tools. This has been greatly improved in v11.
Use of Solution:
I have used it for three years.
There are no stability issues as long as the image is properly built and fix packs are installed.
I have not encountered any scalability issues.
Over a few years, we have opened only a couple of tickets with IBM and all have been handled professionally and promptly.
We have always used Cognos. We recently demo'd trial versions of Microsoft and Tableau against Cognos v11 and we still think Cognos is the better product for medium and large enterprises.
Building the image for a new version takes several hours. Of course, IBM has cloud options that eliminate the need for keeping your own images.
Cost and Licensing Advice:
Like any enterprise software product, make sure you negotiate. IBM simplified the licensing in 2014, so I can't suggest any improvements there.
Other Solutions Considered:
Before choosing this product, I did not evaluate other options.
Make sure your CFO understands the investment required for a successful BI installation that will give you one version of the truth, whether it's Cognos or another vendor. The investment is not only in software and hardware, but in the people who use it.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.