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IBM Cognos Review
​The ability to quickly get an engaging view of my data, with no scripting or SQL knowledge is a winner.


Valuable Features:

This version of Cognos combines a new modern interface and intent-driven data discovery, with the scalable, governed and managed architecture for which it has always been valued. Also:

  • The ability to quickly get an engaging view of my data, with no scripting or SQL knowledge is a winner.
  • The true common modelling layer (Framework Manager) ensures that data objects are re-usable across the business, lineage is easy to track, and reports can be protected from back-end changes.
  • New releases are announced frequently, and it is constantly evolving.

Improvements to My Organization:

Cognos Analytics allows our business the freedom of movement and self-sufficiency we require, while keeping the IT team happy that information is secure and easily sharable. A light data modelling tool allows business users to source and analyse their own data in a managed environment. This is the only tool I know of that keeps both business and IT teams happy.

Room for Improvement:

As there are new releases every 3 months or so, enhancements to the new dashboards are regular being released. It would be useful though to be able to apply custom palettes, and change the spacing around each object, allowing dashboard objects to fit more snugly with each other.


Use of Solution:

We have used the solution since its launch in Dec 2015. I have been using previous versions of Cognos since 1996.

Stability Issues:

We have not encountered any stability issues.

Scalability Issues:

We have not encountered any scalability issues. The architecture is scalable via the use of separate gateways and dispatchers, and can be scaled to include many servers across multiple locations.

Technical Support:

The availability of the new Cognos Analytics community allows for global sharing of problem resolutions. As this version is evolving rapidly, finding in-depth training material can be challenging.

Previous Solutions:

We switched from ‘desktop data discovery’ tools to a more stable, scalable, enterprise ready solution, to allow for secured distribution to a broad and varied audience. Cognos Analytics provides a complete toolkit from quick discovery, endless visualisation options to enterprise-scale report delivery, through any medium (e.g. call-centre LCD screens, mobile, executive dashboards, financial reports etc).

Initial Setup:

The new installation is very simple. Wizard driven installation takes about an hour. It can get more complex to install a distributed architecture, but still not more than a day or two to install it.

Pricing, Setup Cost and Licensing:

The initial set-up price is higher than comparative tools, due to the base server component, but can be more cost-effective in the long run for a larger user base (> 100 users). Also, all features come standard, so add-ons are not required for printing, distribution etc.

Other Solutions Considered:

We evaluated Qlik, Tableau, Microsoft BI.

Other Advice:

Cognos Analytics allows for many ‘styles’ of deployment, and can be done simply ‘out-of-the-box’. To get the most from the product, explore the different features. Some creativity and thought should be applied on how to engage your audience in most interesting and intuitive ways.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: We are an IBM business partner.

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