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IBM Cognos Review
It has the ability to model OLTP data sources with Framework Mgr. in weeks instead of building a data warehouse over a year or two.


Valuable Features

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.

Stability Issues

There are no stability issues as long as the image is properly built and fix packs are installed.

Scalability Issues

I have not encountered any scalability issues.

Customer Service and Technical Support

Over a few years, we have opened only a couple of tickets with IBM and all have been handled professionally and promptly.

Previous Solutions

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.

Initial Setup

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.

Pricing, Setup Cost and Licensing

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.

Other Advice

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.

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