How has it helped my organization?
It has improved things in a lot of areas, such as in better decision making for the company. People are relying more on the reports coming out of Cognos, or a BI tool, rather than their own spec sheets. It gives them time to invest in other activities.
What is most valuable?
Developing reports from different data sources, making it a reliable data source.
What needs improvement?
What we have noticed is that it's lacking a few things which we want, especially on the visualization side of things. We want Cognos to improve, IBM to improve. But functionally, it has been working fine.
One thing that we really want is the ability to have data portrayed on an image. Cognos is not able to do it at the moment, and that's becoming a requirement from the business side: having an image and then plotting your dataset on top of the image as a map.
For how long have I used the solution?
More than five years.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
It's a quite stable environment. I have used technical support with the 10.1 version of Cognos, but not with the latest version. Anything after 10.1, it has become a quite stable environment.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
We were not using anything previously. We have been with Cognos for a long period of time.
But with the inquiries and the market requirements and the new tools coming into the picture, and the customers who see all these beautiful presentations, they want those tools to be implemented in the company. That's how we started looking into other opportunities.
Our most important criteria when selecting a vendor are that the product is scalable, provides ease of use requiring less dependency on IT, and is user-friendly, providing end-users the power to actually create their own dashboards, reports, or any kind of analysis of the fly.
How was the initial setup?
I was hands-on in setting up the environment for our company. It was pretty straightforward. It's a bit fiddly on a few things, if you want some extra components installed, but overall, the basic installation is pretty straightforward.
What other advice do I have?
If you are looking into BI tools, you need to go through how scalable and dynamic the tool will be, and how you're going to actually use it, how the users are going to use the tool in the end. There are various tools on the market. One can do one thing and another can do the other thing. There is not much of a comparison. If you look at Cognos, or if you look at other tools, Cognos is really good when you're looking for credibility of data. But if you're looking at other aspects of usability, then it's not that great. Investigate thoroughly is my advice.
Cognos is an eight out of 10 because it's still lagging behind in some of the capabilities which other BI tools in the market are providing. Images are one of those things. Otherwise, it's really good, it does the job. Still, people have the impression that Cognos still has that dependency on IT.