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IBM Cognos Review
Allows developers to manipulate data and create reporting applications.


Valuable Features:

One of the strong suits of Cognos is its reporting capability. Its flagship Report Studio allows developers to manipulate data and create pixel perfect reporting applications with relative ease.

Improvements to My Organization:

I have many clients using Cognos for their ad-hoc query and standardized reporting needs. It fits the category of an “enterprise” business intelligence platform very well. It also integrates seamlessly with IBM’s Cognos TM1 financial performance management solution for planning, budgeting, and forecasting needs.

Room for Improvement:

One key area for improvement is the need to improve the self-service nature and functionality of the product in terms of visual analytics. This is something IBM has recognized and addressed in order to more effectively compete with other leading visualization tools such as Qlik Sense and Tableau. IBM has made major improvements in their latest release of the Cognos v11 platform also being called “Cognos Analytics”. This version of the product has been redesigned with a more intuitive interface and offers complete guided and business self-service capabilities designed to quickly identify and gain insights from your data.

Use of Solution:

I’ve been working with the IBM Cognos suite of products for over eight years.

Stability Issues:

I have not experienced many issues in terms of stability. The product is fairly stable, especially if you are keeping up with the latest releases of upgrades and fix packs.

Scalability Issues:

With the proper end-user training and internal support, the product seems to scale well. As stated before, it fits the category/need of an “enterprise” business intelligence platform very well.

Technical Support:

If you pay for IBM software technical support and work with a “supported” version of the product, then support is usually very helpful. Depending on how business critical the case is, they are fast in their response times.

Previous Solutions:

I work with customers who use a hybrid of different BI technologies. I position Cognos where I see fit, utilizing the application for its strongest assets.

Initial Setup:

Depending on customer needs, complexity and size of the BI environment, the initial setup can be tailored to either being very straightforward or robust/complex.

Cost and Licensing Advice:

If you are going to invest in a reputable quality BI solution, be prepared to not be frugal in terms of pricing/licensing. IBM Cognos offers competitive pricing similar to other BI vendors in the market.

Other Solutions Considered:

Many organizations are using a hybrid of BI solutions and there are many products/solutions on the market today. I encourage my customers to evaluate different products. Based on their business/project needs, they can then choose the best solution that fits their criteria and culture.

Other Advice:

I would give the same advice as I would with implementing any BI tool/solution. Focus on building a stable and scalable foundation that’s built to last and also intuitive to the end-user. Place an emphasis on data quality, change management and continuous product training for developers and consumers. That is extremely important when implementing new BI and analytics technology.

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

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