IBM Cognos Review

The dashboarding feature combines shared and local data.

What is most valuable?

  • I love the new user interface! Finally, Cognos BI has a new face.
  • New handling of JavaScript.
  • Story board.
  • Dashboarding with combined shared and local data.
  • Backwards compatibility.

How has it helped my organization?

Our client was very unhappy with the v10 and earlier UX. They wanted something "sexy". Our UX team came up with a very pleasing design mock-up of the dashboards using Marvel ( I despaired that it couldn't be done in v10.2.2. However, we got v11.0.4 installed, and amazingly I was able to get very close to the "sexy" UX the client wanted! This is being done using the reports functionality of Cognos Analytics (Report Studio + Workspace Advanced + Analytics Studio + Query Studio all in one, but with a better UX).

Also, the tool UX is more more easily customised in this version.

What needs improvement?

IBM has stated that Cognos Analytics 11 will include RAVE2/D3 charting support by the end of the year. I am using v11.0.4 and it is not included. V11.0.4 is the latest release TMK.

IBM has stated that Cognos Analytics 11 will include a mapping engine (like esri) by the end of the year. I am using v11.0.4 and it is not included. V11.0.4 is the latest release TMK.

I ported a complex dashboard built in Report Studio v10.2.2 into the v11.0.04 environment. After the embedded HTML items were removed so that Full Interactive Mode could be used, and replacing that HTML functionality with external JavaScript (via Custom Controls), the same report runs slightly slower. Also, after spending a day working in the editor on a report, the UI gets slower and slower. I either have to log off close the browser, then open a new browser and log on again to restore the start of day performance, or restart the BI service to achieve the same result. I was using Firefox 49. I’m now on 45 ESR but haven’t don’t enough work yet to see if this makes a difference.

I have hidden objects (block type “none”) on the page. To edit these I need to set the “show hidden objects” on in the options. This setting sometimes sticks between editing sessions, sometimes not. I opened two separate browsers and open a different version of the same report in each. In one the hidden objects displayed, in the other they didn’t.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used it for two months.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

I've done three installs to date (two alone and one where I supported):

  • Stand-alone on a Windows machine - easiest install ever!
  • Concurrent install with C10.2.2 on a Windows machine - smooth with little confusion except around SSO and WebDAV. Used port 9305 as 9300 is for 10.2.2 install.
  • Upgrade on a Linux machine - quick and painless.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I have encountered stability issues. I was able to crash the browser a couple of times (Firefox, recent version). I've tested the UI with Firefox (49 & ESR 45), MS 11, Chrome, and Edge (not supported), and all appear to work fine.

The longer I work on a report through the day, the slower the system responds.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

Customer service is very good. Given that support is coming from Canada and I'm in New Zealand, a 16 hours time difference, I've usually had a response by the next morning.

Technical Support:

The old Cognos Help Knowledgebase (pre-Rob Ash) was brilliant. The next version was so so. The move to IBM's DeveloperWorks means I struggle to find the information I need now.

We needed to connect to a PI Historian database but IBMCognos BI/CA does not certify the JDBC (Linux) driver. IBM said they would not provide a fix to support the PI drivers. The workaround is now to get PI data via a web service using IBM Integration Bus into a DB2 table, then read the data from there.

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

I previously used CBI10.2.2; upgraded to CA11.0.4 to get a better UX.

How was the initial setup?

Initial setup was 99% straightforward; only complex in getting ports opened by a third party, implementing SSO, and WebDAV configuration.

What about the implementation team?

An in-house team implemented it.

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

Cognos BI or Cognos Analytics comes bundled with many IBM solutions now. E.g, PMQ, Maximo. Check if your company has this supporting program license first before purchasing a new license. BUT, a bundled license is limited, so check the wording carefully.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Before choosing this product, I did not evaluate other options.

What other advice do I have?

If you go with Cognos Analytics, install at least version 11.0.4. It has backwards capability for old reports and dashboards, and includes the new JavaScript API.

Which version of this solution are you currently using?

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

author avatarit_user563568 (User)

Great review Bob. I found URL Rewrite config with SSO on 11.0.4 quite challenging too.
Incidentally RAVE2 is out with 11.0.5 along with Geospatial and other features.

author avatarCarlos Mardinotto Junior (Business Intelligence | DW Consultant)
Top 5Real User

Dear, Could say about Cognos Geospatial Analytics supported Big data Tools, because I have a project that I will use.

I appreciate


Carlos Mardinotto