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IBM Cognos Review
I like the metadata modeling and the online report studio. I would like to see better data visualization.


Valuable Features:

  • Metadata modeling: Easy and efficient
  • Reporting: Generally quick
  • Online report studio: Generally works well

Improvements to My Organization:

  • Automating common reports
  • Standardizing metrics and reports utilized through the company
  • Enabling efficiency through reducing manual report creation via Excel
  • Offline data source use

Room for Improvement:

Data visualization could use improvement as many competitors offer more robust options for charts. More interactivity could be useful here. 

The speed in which reports run can also be a large issue unless servers are very well appointed. Queries must be optimized in some cases.

However, overall speed hasn't been a huge issue since Cognos, Version 10.

Use of Solution:

We have used Cognos in general for eleven years, and this version for over a year.

Stability Issues:

We encountered some stability issues. Often application servers need to be recycled once a month. Unless report writers are writing very clean queries, database cache cleanups and server recycles are necessary.

Scalability Issues:

We have not encountered any scalability issues.

Technical Support:

I would give technical support a rating of  7/10. Usually support is good, but it all depends on the technician you get. I've had great experience with some people, but less than stellar experience with others. 

The one thing that has been consistent with IBM Cognos support is if you have a very large issue affecting many users, they are quick to respond and support your issue.

Previous Solutions:

At one company, we switched to SAP BI/BO due to wanting an all-encompassing solution.

Initial Setup:

The initial setup was not complex. There is great documentation. It has gotten better as Cognos has matured, but some documentation isn't updated as fast as you'd like if you're utilizing one of the latest versions.

Cost and Licensing Advice:

I don't have any advice about these issues.

Other Solutions Considered:

We evaluated Tableau and SAP BI/BO.

Other Advice:

Always plan for a scalable implementation that allows for a growing user base. Bump the server memory and processors up as much as you can so you're over and above what is suggested for each version. 

Look at the IBM documentation on the server setup and organize the step by step guides for each server in a distributed environment.

Ensure that the security setup and groups are well thought out before starting.

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

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