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IBM Cognos Review
We use it for customized reports. It has features we are constantly learning how to use.


Valuable Features:

It is used for customized reports. It is the only tool supported by our IT group for user reports.

Customized reports are valuable because you can probably create any report you could imagine with it. It has features we are constantly learning how to use. It does allow the users to pull their own data, provided they are given a good framework/datasource that has been created with the options they need to use.

Improvements to My Organization:

Currently, we just use it for user-requested reports. It has more features that, if we had the manpower, we could better set up the tool so users could do their own reporting. IT here are just getting around to letting users do their own reporting.

Room for Improvement:

More flexibility for joining data sources within reports would be nice. It seems to be a feature IBM is slowly developing.

We have several framework/packages created. For example, we have one for sales, one for shipping, one for manufacturing, etc. You go to create a report in sales, but the one table that you need is defined in the manufacturing package. You can’t join the two packages in Cognos. Someone has to create the table on the sales package in Framework; then, it can be used in the report.

Use of Solution:

I have used it for three years.

Stability Issues:

I have not encountered any stability issues.

Scalability Issues:

I have not encountered any scalability issues.

Technical Support:

We purchase support from a vendor because support from IBM is more complicated and seems to take longer. Our vendor knows us and can respond faster.

Previous Solutions:

My company was using this software at least 10 years prior to me joining.

Initial Setup:

I wasn’t at my company for initial setup. We have consultants do the upgrades, because they do tend to be complex and we are short on manpower.

Cost and Licensing Advice:

It is very expensive… You have to determine if the complexity of software you are getting is worth the price you are paying; how many bells and whistles do you need for what price. And if you don’t have the manpower to implement all the features, is it worth the cost?

Other Solutions Considered:

I wasn’t at my company when they chose it, but I think it might be beneficial to re-evaluate the options.

Other Advice:

Make sure you realize the scope of the product. It is not easily maintained by one or two people. It involves more than just Cognos for report writing; you also need to use Framework to create the data models/packages to use with it. I have done IT for 30 years; it is one of the more complex report writing tools I have used.

Also, make sure you are in it for the long haul with the costs that are associated with maintaining the software.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.

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