IBM Cognos Review

We have over 400+ reports going out every day based on different conditions.

What is most valuable?

Powerful Report Studio and Event Studio: We have stringent requirements for the reports that go to investors. Report Studio helps us to deliver pixel-perfect reports in both HTML and PDF formats. Event studio is such a powerful tool: We have over 400+ reports going out every day based on different conditions; a few are periodic, a few are based on availability of data, etc. Without Event Studio, it would be a nightmare to maintain these huge jobs.

What needs improvement?

Even though I identified Event Studio as one of the most valuable features, it still has room for improvement. Sometimes events get stuck; we need to restart Cognos services and do clean up in order to clear the queue. Error messages are not that straightforward.

The other area that needs improvement is Cognos Workspace. When we add multiple reports to the workspace, the performance is not up to the mark.

Another area of improvement is ‘interactivity’. Cognos is not even comparable from the interactivity perspective with other reporting tools such as Tableau.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used it for over 7+ years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I have not encountered any stability issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I have not encountered any scalability issues. Cognos is very scalable. We could have a distributed installation (which we are already using) with multiple content managers and application tier components; we have never faced scalability issues.

How are customer service and technical support?

I would say technical support is good, not great. We have contacted support for a number of issues. The main thing tech support needed was to replicate the issue at their end, which is not always possible. We still have issues that tech support is unable to address.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We were using Microsoft reporting services as our reporting solution.

How was the initial setup?

Initial setup was quite complex. We started with a single-server installation, and faced performance issues; then, we tried a distributed installation. A distributed installation is quite complex, especially when the requirements are high, such as AD integration, load balancer support, enabling single sign on, etc.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

It is a very good product. I feel the price is OK, as it is not just a tool but it is a reporting platform.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Before choosing this product, we did not evaluate other options. However, we did evaluate a few others recently for some other requirements. We figured out that MicroStrategy is also at par (or even on a bit higher side in some features), but considering the tradeoff between the features, price and effort to migrate, we felt it is better to go with Cognos.

What other advice do I have?

This is a best-in-class reporting platform. But keeping in mind the high price of this tool, it is better to evaluate it before going for it. You might not need all the features provided by this tool, in which case you end up paying more. Also, it might not be suitable for small firms.

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