Most of my customers are on-premise, but I have two customers who are on the cloud.
IBM Cognos is used for reporting and I work with all businesses, but mainly in the banking and insurance industry.
Download the IBM Cognos Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: March 2023
IBM Cognos Business Intelligence provides a wide range of tools to help you analyze your organization's data. IBM Cognos BI allows businesses to monitor events and metrics, create and view business reports, and analyze data to help them make effective business decisions.
IBM Cognos applies techniques to describe, summarize, and compare data, and draw conclusions. This allows users to see trends and discover anomalies or variances that may not be evident by simply reading data. Data sources that contain information from different areas of a business can be stored in separate packages. Users can see only information that they have been granted access to, based on their group or role.
IBM Cognos BI consolidates the following business intelligence functions into a single web-based solution:
Reviews from Real Users
IBM Cognos stands out among its competitors for a number of reasons. Two major ones are its powerful analysis tool and its reporting capabilities.
Prasad B., a senior software engineer at a financial services firm, notes, “The product is a very good reporting tool and is very flexible. It allows for the users to get a scheduled report. We can receive automated reports as well. They are easy to schedule on a weekly or monthly basis. It is very fast. I mean in means of report output, it's very fast compared to the actual clients involved.”
IBM Cognos was previously known as Cognos, Cognos Analytics, IBM Cognos Analytics.
More than 23,000 leading organizations across multiple industries use Cognos. Some examples of Cognos customers include BMW Financial Services, Quinte Health Care, Troy Corporation, Michigan State University, and GKN Land System.
Most of my customers are on-premise, but I have two customers who are on the cloud.
IBM Cognos is used for reporting and I work with all businesses, but mainly in the banking and insurance industry.
The most valuable feature of IBM Cognos is security. The solution has updated features that other competitors' solutions come out with long after IBM Cognos has had them.
IBM Cognos is a very big solution, and it is similar to other large solutions, such as SAP and Oracle, everything is in one solution and one platform. It's very easy to use from one to the other.
The new data module makes life much easier when you combine it with very complex modules. You can build and combine things very quickly if you need to. You can keep the main organizational data structure and then you can combine it with specific external usage. It's very practical at that level.
It is very important for large organizations to have a secure solution, and this solution is secure. I trust IBM a lot. Having the full web organization structure and organization local modules, you are about to do small operations quickly.
There are some small features that are missing. It would be nice if the graphics were better. You can use external sources for charts, but it's quite complex to use and not easy to implement. If you want a new chart, you can download it from multiple tools and implement it into IBM Cognos.
That would be nicer if you'd have more charts, the ability to add charts easily. That would be a big improvement. However, the maps have been improved immensely which I am happy with.
Once you put a few requests into IBM for changes, it might take six to 12 months. A lot of the requests are responded to and they upgrade or change the feature. When you make a report and you plan it in advance and you want to have smart dates in your planning, this is a bit limited. It is a small issue and you can work around it quite easily but it would be something they can improve.
If you want to see the new feature in someone else's product it takes time, and for IBM Cognos it is approximately six to 12 months for it to be implemented. The other cloud competitors will have it.
I have been using IBM Cognos for approximately 18 years.
IBM Cognos is highly stable. This is one of the largest values of the solution.
The solution is highly scalable.
Technical support has been improving a lot over the last two years. I add my questions in an online IBM forum and people from the development have directly contacted me with a solution. I'm really happy with it.
The initial setup of IBM Cognos is complex. It takes time and experience to know how to do it. You can't only install it, there are a lot of things you need to take into consideration before you begin. You have to make sure you have the right hardware specifications, and that you are not conflicting with any firewalls. You can put it on many servers and for large organizations. The solution can handle complex issues that other solutions can't. Most of the smaller products can't handle it. IBM Cognos is efficient at handling multi servers with data coming from many places and organizing it into one place. The implementation can take a long time because the requirements are complex.
The basic setup will take approximately one day. If it is not a basic implementation the time depends on how complex the data is and how much needs to be worked on. For example, on a predefined data warehouse, in which everything has been done, the setup might only be a few hours then you can start working.
It can be between hours and months. It depends on the context of how many databases are being used, fields, and calculations. You can bring 500 tables and none of them are difficult, but then you have one table with three calculations and takes three weeks to build because those calculations are complex. it doesn't matter which tool you use.
The amount of people needed to support the implementation depends on the customer. If it's a small business-sized customer with 10 to 20 users, I can do the implementation by myself. If it's a larger business then sometimes four, five people.
The maintenance can be very minimal because the data structure doesn't change. However, on the other hand, some customers have the requirements over time to change.
IBM Cognos can provide a substantial return on investment but it depends on the implementation and use case. I've been in organizations where I improved delivery from 24 hours to an hour. They had hardware coming in and it took them a long time to process it. I brought in easy-to-use reporting systems, which they could check the inventory coming in and approve it in less than an hour using barcodes.
The barcode would send the information to the ERP system in a way that was easy for it to receive. However, the process was very slow. We added a few things, and the operation was doing better. If you use it properly, you can improve your business services immensely.
The cost of IBM Cognos it's more or less the same as most of the other solutions on the market. They're very competitive with the rest of the market and it is not the most expensive product.
I have evaluated other solutions.
I rate IBM Cognos a nine out of ten.
I have used IBM Cognos for 15 years as a business user, but for most of this time I only used the basic functionality of Cognos with Analysis Studio. However, two years ago we started using the new version of Cognos (11) and it was then that we began using more functionality overall. Notably, there are more features for reporting, so we can simply create modules and explore them with dashboarding.
Our deployment is situated on-premises, although we do use external databases connected to Excel, for instance. The packages that we use are all made inside the Cognos 11 environment.
IBM Cognos has helped improve the quality of our KPIs because we can now deliver data and reports without human intervention.
We are using the self-service capabilities for business users in the new version and it is a blessing to us because now we don't feel any pain with regards to the IT department. We can use the full functionality and develop dashboards without the help of the IT people and without having to start up a whole new project. This is very important because we can multiply the results. With no bottleneck coming from the IT department, we reduce the cost of improving our KPIs.
The main difference that I like about Cognos compared to other solutions is its data splitting functionality. We have all our company data inside the Cognos environment and so we prefer to split the information Cognos itself. It's more efficient this way.
Tableau and Power BI also have similar features, where they try to use graphic functionality to analyze the data. And yes, there are more people using these solutions than Cognos, but for us the most important thing is that both the data and the data splitting functionality are in one place.
I don't like that when we use Colab packages, we get less functionality. For example, you can make groups of data with Excel or with the data sets from the packages, but when you use the Colab packages directly, you can only group the data when you analyze it with Analysis Studio. I think Cognos needs to improve more on this functionality.
The user experience is also very important. Cognos is not very easy to understand sometimes, especially when they change the layout but keep the functionality the same. The help is not very graphic and they have no examples. Cognos has to make a big effort to help with understanding the functionality by improving the documentation. There is a lot of documentation, but the examples are hard to find and they should make their help section easier to understand for non-technical users.
I have been using IBM Cognos for 15 years.
The performance is okay. Sometimes we have small interruptions and I suspect these are due to configuration changes, but I don't know for sure. Cognos was one of our first applications running and it's quite stable.
As a business user, we try to do cross solutions to provide information for any department, and then we make it scalable. If the performance isn't good, we can either adjust the scalability of the data or the data strategy itself.
Currently, there are more than 2,000 users of Cognos in my organization, as it is mainly a cooperative tool for analysis. I think with the added capabilities and improved user experience of the new version we can extend the use of Cognos to even more people. We try to democratize the analysis of data with the dashboard as it is the easiest way to extend our usage of Cognos.
There are other solutions we also use, such as Tableau and Power Bi, depending on the project. But in these applications, there isn't the same amount of data available to analyze, so you have to provide the data for each dashboard, in each case. For all the solutions we use, we have safety measures to ensure the security of the data, but with Tableau and Power BI, the setup is less organized than Cognos.
Our IT department uses their personnel as well as consultants to maintain the Cognos environment.
I don't know the exact cost, but I believe Cognos is quite expensive, especially when it comes to the support consultants and the procedures that need to be applied.
My advice to others is to make solutions with a bridge between them to optimize the use of the data. In addition, it's important to structure your data well to facilitate better understanding among your users. When users use a data module, for example, it must have well-structured folders which include the documentation, the calculations, the KPIs, etc. We train to make all the KPIs in the data module, because if you make the KPIs in the report or in the dashboard, then you can't use those KPIs in other objects. We have had other solutions from different consultants where they made the calculations with the reports, such that to make another report, you would have to repeat the calculation.
Another piece of advice is not to use the Analysis Studio's reporting tool, because it's very complex to maintain. Instead, we tend to use the dashboard, and that is what I would recommend to others as well.
On the whole, I would rate IBM Cognos an eight out of ten.
I am using IBM Cognos the analytical pack that is provided, I've used it to do a lot of forecasting, proactive analytics, prescriptive, predictive analytics, and correlation analysis. Additionally, I have developed some leadership dashboards.
The correlation analysis is excellent. It's one of the best that I have used to date.
The data uploads that we do, such as Excel files, have a lot of restrictions. If we can make it a bit more user-friendly, allowing us to have more flexibility it would be a great help.
In the next release of the solution, It would be a great addition to the analytical tool pack if there were histograms on the fly it would be a benefit. I know there is a workaround on IBM Cognos and I've used that workaround to develop the histograms, but not everyone is that tech-savvy. It would be a great help if we had some of these features, such as histogram, box plots, on the fly.
Lastly, the solution could improve by adding some of the user-friendly statistical calculations, such as percentile calculations, median, mode, for calculations.
I have been using IBM Cognos for approximately two years.
The stability of IBM Cognos is excellent.
IBM Cognos is used on a daily basis and sometimes for the entire day. It is scalable. We have approximately 2,500 users using the solution.
We had an issue with the dashboards and we were in touch with the technical support from IBM to resolve the problem.
On the overall experience with the technical support, I would rate them a four out of five. However, the initial response time could improve.
The analytical parts of IBM Cognos are some of the best in the market, it is excellent. I've used Qlik Sense, Microsoft BI, Oracle Business Intelligence, and to some extent Tableau. The second feature that IBM Cognos is excellent with, is the table structure that we can create on the fly. I have had a very good experience with them.
Microsoft BI is much more user-friendly and non-technical personnel can also start working on the Microsoft BI quickly. It would be great if IBM Cognos would also look at doing something on that front, where a non-technical person can also develop some small, very basic dashboard on their own.
The initial setup was a bit complex.
The joins and structures that we had to create were somewhat difficult. I've worked on the OB as well and the RPD constructions that we do on OB are pretty straightforward. If we have some features such as we have in Oracle Business Intelligence, of the RPD structure, it would be a great help for IBM Cognos.
I would rate the complexity a three out of five.
We used support from the vendor for the implementation. It took approximately one and a half months for the process.
For some of the aspects of the solution requires maintenance. One of the features that we were using is the development of interactive and interdependent dashboards. For some reason, this dashboard used to fail when we would get out of the dashboard and close IBM Cognos and come back to IBM Cognos again. That required an upgrade on the application, which we did, but it was still not working. This issue required some maintenance to resolve.
IBM Cognos price is on the higher side of the spectrum. However, with the features that it brings, such as correlation analysis, it's worth the money. They should look at the pricing more clearly because it's a little on the higher side.
My advice to others is to be very particular about the architecture that you are developing because once you deploy it, it's really difficult to change and very complex to change. Once you deploy it and start working on it, and then you realize that something that you had to do, you have not done it right, it's a really complex process to change it.
The second thing I would advise is always to keep on top of the updates that IBM Cognos sends over. Some of the features that you might require in your work environment only come with the updates. You need to upgrade your application and that is when the features would be available.
Lastly, make sure that you explore every bit and piece of the analytical world of application because there are some very good features that the IBM Cognos brings in. It would be great if you explored everything and then start using it.
If the cost is not a problem for the organization, then I would highly recommend IBM Cognos.
I rate IBM Cognos a seven out of ten.
Due to the way our product is designed, it has not been possible for us to use Cognos because of one of their issues. When we upgraded to Cognos 11, there was an issue with this version and we are not able to use the dynamic query mode. So essentially, we've not been able to use the dashboards and other kinds of reports in Cognos 11.
In terms of Cognos 11, we primarily upgraded due to the support for Cognos 7 going away. I have worked on the features like dashboards and stories, and I do like them a lot. We haven't been able to use them recently. Most of the reports we've used are upgraded versions of legacy reports.
In terms of what could be improved with this product, the speed could be better.
The second thing I feel is lacking in Cognos 11 is usability - ease of use. I find Tableau much easier to use.
I have not used stories and dashboards extensively, but I would like to have predictive and forecasting capabilities in Cognos. It's one thing to do reporting, and another thing to easily predict or forecast certain data points, which is very important for all the clients.
The other thing that should be included in Cognos is Landing Pages. It would be good for the Dashboard Landing Page, if they could make it as easily and attractively as Tableau, that's the only other tool I've used, and theirs is completely visually appealing. The client should want to click and open the Cognos portal to get their data. We have our own product and Cognos is integrated with it. If they're able to get similar data, even if it is not as detailed in our product, they don't have any motivation to go to Cognos. They need to polish their product a little bit to make it more user-friendly and customizable - that would help.
I have been using Cognos for about 15-16 years.
Product stability-wise, I do find Cognos stable. We have faced some issues with memory in our client environments wherein if the client has created a custom report, it may not be optimized. In such cases, the memory gets utilized and the Cognos server goes down. A simple restart does resolve the issue, but that's still an issue if the client has a production server which is using Cognos. These kind of issues are among the biggest pain points we have. Other than that, Cognos has been fairly stable for us.
I am not very satisfied with the technical support that they offering. It's a very time-consuming process. The biggest problem that I see with Cognos is not the product itself, but the support of the product. That's where we always face issues, because whenever we contact IBM support, it's a very long and difficult process to get that thing resolved.
The setup is slightly complex for us because Cognos is basically integrated with our company's product.
So what happens is, we have our product and Cognos is a separate product, a reporting tool for that product. Whenever we release a new version of Cognos, we have to make a sort of handoff from our product to Cognos and we need to create some Custom Namespaces and do other Custom Roles. So for us, the setup is complicated.
But I have installed Cognos out of the box once, as well, and it was very easy. I did face an issue in an early in version 11.0.1, that whenever Cognos started and set up everything, a lot of times RAM use was an issue, even though the system had quite a lot of RAM. But if the system RAM was allocated to the standby memory, then Cognos did not get it. That used to be an issue. However, that issue has been resolved in subsequent versions.
On a scale of one to ten, I would rate Cognos a 7.
I do like the product. I think there is room for improvement. Cognos has started taking steps towards improvement like new solutions such as Tableau, however, there is still quite a way to go. Cognos's framework model requirement does restrict everything. If you want to make any changes to existing reports, it is a tedious process to add some new tables or change joints or things like that, to make it part of the data model. That's one of the main issues that we had. But other than that, I'm quite happy with the product.
We use IBM Cognos for reports. We build customized reports from our vendor.
IBM Cognos did provide information and data that was utilized by the lines of businesses, in order to make their business decisions. It was a database of record information type reporting, that was disseminated out into the different lines and they made their business decisions based on that data.
Comparing IBM Cognos to other applications, once a person is trained on it or they have developed a skill set to operate the application, it is best in its category.
IBM Cognos's error messages seem to be a bit ambiguous. An error will be encountered and a message will be sent out very ambiguous and after investigating the error message it could be any number of issues. There was never a direct answer to the question or a direct answer to the error messages. Sometimes it would be a generic error message for 21 different solutions. It wasn't very specific, which required a lot of digging around and trial and error trying to fix the problem. The messaging in their error messaging is something needing improvement.
In order for IBM Cognos to survive, they need to keep up with dashboarding. I know they're becoming more agile as far as being able to move away from a framework manager and use modules, which is great in order to build the models. They need to be able to compete with Microsoft B because Microsoft BI has beaten them up as far as reporting and dashboarding. They need to improve to better compete with other solutions.
I have been using IBM Cognos for approximately nine years.
The performance of IBM Cognos is good. However, it is important that it is implemented correctly with the proper resources available. The person managing it has to have the skill sets to understand how to operate the application. It's very reliable for what it does.
You could scale IBM Cognos to any size. I don't believe that the institution that I worked with or worked for had it implemented to the best of the application's ability. Therefore, it was undervalued as far as how it was utilized.
We have approximately 500 to 600 people in my organization using the solution.
IBM Cognos was used extensively for its purpose. It could have been used more. We did not need the additional application that was bought by the company. The task that these other applications were being bought for, could have been performed very well with IBM Cognos. However, the management lack of understanding of the application, and they didn't have the skill sets to work with the equipment nor did they have the willingness to work with it.
IBM Cognos technical support is very cumbersome. A large organization, such as IBM is very cumbersome when it comes to technical support because without having a dedicated support person for our company every time a ticket was called in, it was the same basic fundamental send me this file, send me that file. They didn't understand and we didn't have a dedicated source.
I rate the technical support from IBM Cognos a three out of five.
We have a team of two that did the maintenance and support of the solution. I did all of the maintenance and upkeep of the application and the upgrade and everything else.
Overall IBM Cognos is not maintenance heavy. Once you set it up properly, it runs close to maintenance-free.
There is some additional licensing that we needed to purchase because we were touching data outside of our core data platform. The cost was approximately $25,000 for the additional licenses, which were approximate 45 licenses. For the application itself, updates, and the core platform it was approximately $50,000. Giving a total cost of $75,000 annually for our usage of IBM Cognos.
I have evaluated Microsoft BI.
Once you develop the skill set to operate the IBM Cognos application, it's a very robust system.
IBM Cognos has come a long way and they've done a lot of things with dashboarding, but it could be a little, too late, and not enough. They need to do better.
I rate IBM Cognos an eight out of ten.
We analyze data from their marketing campaigns, and social networks in order to determine which campaigns are more effective, and which channels are producing the best results.
It's quite easy to use.
The tool has a group of algorithms that allows you to find links rapidly.
It is also very easy to create link charts and analytics quickly.
This solution allows you to input a wide range of file formats. We don't have any kind of issues with this product.
The online documentation is good, but it could be better. If the documentation could provide more examples, it would be nice.
It would be nice to offer free online training on the tool for end-users.
I have been using this solution for a couple of months.
We are using the Cognos Analytics version.
It's a stable solution. It's very strong.
With Software Assessment Services, you can forget about the infrastructure. The servers and everything that is related to the typical deployment of the tool is easy because it's on the IBM Cloud.
Your focus your attention on using it instead of the technical side of things.
It is too soon for me to say anything about the scalability, but my impression is that it doesn't matter the amount of data you need to analyze the tool. The background has the infrastructure and the features that allow you to grow according to what you need.
Currently, we have a couple of users but will have five or six more next month.
The technical support is fast.
You have access to a knowledge base where you can look for the issue. If you cannot find it, you can contact IBM support and you will get an answer very quickly.
We were working with Power BI on a local deployment, but unfortunately, it suddenly presented some issues. We tried to re-install it but were not successful. To this day, we still don't know why this happened.
We quickly changed to IBM Cognos and is quite good.
We were also working with Tableau. It's also a local installation. It's very good, very powerful, and has a lot of features you can use to analyze the data. Cognos is easier to use.
The initial setup was extremely easy.
You log in from your account or create an account and instantly you have access to a 30-day trial or you can test the tool, and create exercises to determine if it is good for you. Once complete you can decide if you want to pay monthly or you can dismiss the tool.
In our case, the only thing that we needed to do was to upload the data, which took a couple of hours.
We don't require any staff to maintain this solution.
I don't have this information, it is handled by our finance department.
It is my understanding that the cost is very low. It's not very expensive.
It's a good idea to take a course online to learn how it works before you start.
I would rate this solution a nine out of ten.
We primarily use the solution for reporting.
The product is a very good reporting tool and is very flexible. It allows for the users to get a scheduled report.
We can receive automated reports as well. They are easy to schedule on a weekly or monthly basis.
It is very fast. I mean in means of report output, it's very fast compared to the actual clients involved.
We implemented it on the web. Before that, there was a separate request that needed to be raised for a report to be issued. We needed to fetch items and it took time. Now, according to their requirement, users can schedule their own reports. They get a URL they can access. They have a GUI on the Netcool page and they can access the data using this Cognos report.
The solution is pretty easy to install. The documentation on offer is very good and it's very instructive.
The user interface is very nice. IBM Netcool interface is the same, and we can implement the same Netcool web GUI on a web page. Within the Netcool servers, we can integrate this tool to give users access to the environment.
The integration and configuration capabilities are very good.
The solution is very simple while also being quite robust and scalable.
As we get new requirements, we need to see if they fit into Cognos. As of right now, it fits our needs, however, that can change.
We've had issues in the past that the solution is still working to resolve.
The solution seems to slow down the servers. We're working with IBM to see if this can be resolved.
The scalability is quite good. this type of solution is built for enterprises, and our enterprise environment is quite large. the solution handles it well. It can scale.
Technical support is a 10 out of 10. IBM is always available when we raise a PMR with them. Even on Level 2 or Level 3 issues, they will come into the picture and they are used to researching if any issue comes their way. They'll work to replicate the issue in their lab environment and they'll give a resolution. That is very good and helpful for us, for our team. We are extremely satisfied with their level of support.
We did use other reporting in the past, however, it was not as good or as easily scheduled as this product.
The solution is very easy to implement. It's not overly complex or difficult. The documentation is good from IBM. IBM tried to create not too much complexity in terms of integration and configuration. We can usually implement using the IBM docs. It's not a problem.
I can't speak to the direct pricing, although it is my understanding that it is high. That said, the solution holds great value.
We are customers and partners.
Currently, we are also using AIOps and IBM Watson also, which is an artificial intelligence tool that is also very easy.
We trust IBM and its platforms. They've optimized for monitoring very well. Their support is also excellent.
I would rate the solution at a nine out of ten. So far, it's been a great solution for us. We're quite happy with its capabilities.
When we started with the TM1 version of IBM Cognos, we developed budgeting projects, and it was successful. We also completed our first project five years ago using the solution.
IBM Cognos is an excellent solution for tax, planning, budgeting, profit and loss statements and balance sheets. We use it monthly for our tax numbers, and the solution automatically provides them.
The solution can be used for projects focused on employees' wages, contracts, contracted salaries, and additional outcomes.
With IBM Cognos Report Studio, we have a lot of operational information, which helps with sales, inventories, and costs from many different sources.
We have an analytical team, and they complete reports. We shuttle them, and many people in our company get information in Excel and email.
It has improved our credit department. They can get information quickly about client debts, and we've seen a yield through this solution. In addition, we combine sources like sales and production and have multiple reports that our team receives.
The TM1 feature is good because it produces numbers automatically. In addition, it has Super Excel, and there are big groups with a lot of information calculated quickly.
IBM Cognos is easy to use and helps connect with databases and the data from our systems. It is also easy to learn and teach new team members.
We started working with Power BI, which we feel will be number one in a couple of years. Even though it still has some improvement, it's a promising tool. All BI tools have similar issues to IBM Cognos.
Regarding additional features, it would be good if the solution had conditional formatting similar to Excel, where you can conditionally format based on colour. For example, colour scales like green, yellow, and red make it easier to categorize tables, rows or columns by colour. Unfortunately, this feature does not exist in any BI tool.
We have been using this solution for seven years. It is deployed on-premises, and we are using version TM1.
This solution is stable.
It is a scalable solution. We have about six people on our analytics team and two IT employees. The IT employees maintain a data warehouse and work with SQL where the data comes to Cognos.
We do not need to increase our usage because our analytics team reports and sends all the information to employees, managers, top management and others in the company.
We have not engaged with technical support. We also have our own IT support, and there are no problems.
We used Excel before IBM Cognos, and we switched because of the benefit of analytics. Top management also wanted the analytics and created this initiative.
We completed the deployment in-house.
We haven't calculated our ROI, but if I were to survey top management or lower management, they would all say they benefit.
I rate this product a ten out of ten. I would advise a new user of IBM Cognos to have good IT support and people.