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IBM Cognos Review
Transformer enables consolidating millions of rows of detailed data into multi-dimensional cubes. It requires IT to model unstructured data, and has limited features for charts and graphs.


Valuable Features:

The most valuable feature is the ability to quickly build cubes with Cognos Transformer. Transformer has enabled us to consolidate millions of rows of detailed data into multi-dimensional cubes. It enable business users to drill down, and slice and dice data by key business dimensions, such as product, region, customer, and time.

Improvements to My Organization:

It has provided visibility into our customers; specifically, it has given us insight into high-value customers.

Room for Improvement:

The Cognos Suite needs improvement in a number of areas. First, the products must be made more user friendly for casual users. Next, business users need the ability to quickly pull in data from non-structured sources without the need for IT to model the data. Another area for improvement is advanced charting and graphical elements that you can use in reports and dashboards.

Use of Solution:

I have been using IBM Cognos since 2012.

Scalability Issues:

PowerCubes has limits and thresholds. Developers need to be aware of these when designing a cube, and take into consideration the cube performance versus the physical size. 

Report Studio for operational reporting against relational data sources is very dependent on the underlying database performance and the design of your metadata model in Framework Manager. Report designers and modelers must analyze the generated SQL and tune the Framework Model and reports.

Technical Support:

The technical support is good.

Previous Solutions:

I did not use any other solution previously.

Initial Setup:

Setup for a multi-server environment is of average complexity. Tuning the environment takes time.

Cost and Licensing Advice:

Negotiate on licensing and support costs.

Other Solutions Considered:

We have often reviewed the BI landscape. For Enterprise BI, we have looked at Cognos, SAP Business Objects and MicroStrategy. These tools are very similar and leapfrog each other with each release. Newer tools such as QlikView, Tableau, and Spotfire have gained momentum and taken market share from the enterprise BI vendors. You need to analyze your needs and determine whether an enterprise BI suite is right for you, or if you need multiple tools for different capabilities.

Other Advice:

Plan your reporting strategy. Do you intended to implement self-service reporting so that end users are creating reports? Do you need structured operational and management reporting? Cognos often requires IT resources for metadata modelling. Will you have the bandwidth and time to move at the speed your business requires?

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

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