What is Cognos?
Cognos has traditionally been one of the best-known business intelligence products. It is especially known for its ‘PowerPlay Cubes’, which ensure that the tool is perceived as very user friendly. Together with Business Objects, Cognos has for years been the main supplier of enterprise BI solutions. Many organizations still work with one of these two products.
In recent years, Cognos has released a number of less successful solutions, so it was lagging behind in terms of functionality in the market. However with the arrival of Release 11, they are back at the top of the market. Passionned Group characterizes this release in its market for BI solutions, as a release with very rich functionality.
Review of IBM Cognos in our survey (partial results)
- Infrastructure & architecture
- Cloud architecture
- Core Functionality
- Usability and visualization
- Mobile Business Intelligence
"Cognos has been one of the two market leaders in Business Intelligence for the last fifteen years, famous for their Powerplay cubes; they provided a level of user-friendliness that was almost unknown at the time the product was introduced. Release 8 was relatively weak. Now with the long awaited Cognos 10 they have returned to their original position." Read more in our 100% vendor neutral Business Intelligence Tools Survey.
Who is the supplier of Cognos Analytics & Watson Analytics?
Cognos Analytics was originally developed in the mid-90s by the company Quasar Systems. This company was later acquired by Cognos, which was taken over by IBM in 2008.
IBM Cognos is housed within the product group ‘IBM Business Analytics’. This is a collective name for various BI products acquired by IBM. IBM’s philosophy is not to integrate the packages but to introduce several products next to each other. Besides Cognos Analytics, the product line includes SPSS, TM1 and IBM Watson Analytics. IBM thus has one of the most comprehensive product portfolios in the market. In our opinion, a further integration of the various products within the IBM product line would be desirable.
In 2015, IBM introduced a new licensing model with more BI roles. This new, less organized, license structure made it more difficult for organizations to determine whether they are compliant within the (current) licensing model from IBM.
The benefits of Cognos Analytics
The most notable advantages of Cognos are:
- A very rich functionality on almost all aspects of Business Intelligence. It is one of the best, if not the best all-round player on the market.
- It has built up a very good track record when it comes to enterprise BI solutions in recent years.
- IBM now puts heavy emphasis on BI with new innovative solutions such as IBM’s Watson, which can be linked to Cognos.
- Cognos has a very strong position when it comes to performance / processing of large data sets (big data environments).
- A comprehensive mobile business intelligence solution that is combined with a powerful dashboard function. It is one of the front runners when it comes to mobile BI solutions.
The weaknesses of Cognos BI
Most suppliers prefer not to talk about their weak points, but it is important to know about them if you opt for this product:
- The IBM Business Intelligence product line includes several products with ‘parallel’ existence which are not well integrated. Judging by the names, products seem to work together seamlessly, but that’s often not the case.
- Cognos can not work very well with other types of work products, especially with regard to the Microsoft Office products, this is a challenge.
- IBM is strongly committed to the Cloud with IBM Watson Analytics, but this Cloud solution has very limited functionality (estimated 20% of Cognos BI). There is still no clarity on whether and how Cognos and IBM Watson are to be integrated in the future.
- Features in the field of collaborative BI and social BI are not sufficiently developed in this package. If these functionalities are important, it may be better to consider other packages!
- The layout of the IBM Business Intelligence product line can be difficult to fathom and the licensing structure changes frequently. The risk is that your organization fails to (remain) compliant.
IBM Watson and Watson Analytics
For some time, IBM Cognos has had a product for more advanced analytics: IBM Watson and Watson Analytics. This supercomputer can understand questions in natural language and, using its great power, rapidly process it and come up with the right answers. In addition, Watson IBM offers interactive analysis and advanced data visualization.
Strategic positioning of Cognos
If you’re choosing an Enterprise BI solution with which you can move forward in the coming years, then Cognos Analytics is definitely a good choice. However, it requires a lot of time, money and energy to implement an enterprise-wide solution.
Cognos has an extensive range of functions, but the question is whether your organization needs all of them. Are there any other solutions that can meet the needs of your organization just as well? In one clear overview, the Passionned Parabola for BI & Analytics shows you exactly where Cognos fits in the market.
IBM Business Analytics compared with other BI tools
If you’re considering purchasing Cognos Analytics, or expanding your existing Cognos environment, and you do not want to make an unnecessary investment, take a look at our independent Business Intelligence Tools Survey 2018. In this survey, Cognos analytics and other IBM solutions are compared to other solutions from other BI suppliers on 197 features.
With several clear graphs comparing the functionalities of the various BI tools, you can quickly come to an informed decision. This unique BI guide is essential if you’re considering Cognos.
Considering purchasing Cognos or other IBM BI products?
IBM offers numerous licensing options, from buying to rent. Both online and through retailers, it is possible to purchase specific BI tools.
If you decide to purchase new licenses or if you have challenges around your software compliance, we advise you to contact one of our specialists.
If you want to take the next step in analyzing your data, and you want to present this in a clear way, you will need experienced an Cognos Developer. Requests fluctuate and you don’t constantly need a large group of developers. Selling no (to the business) is not an option and taking on more employees is not always desirable.
Our interim services will help you build the necessary Cognos BI knowledge and offer a flexible layer of experienced Cognos experts who are available when and where you need them.
Want to learn more about the IBM portfolio and Business Analytics?
Passionned Group has several services available that can be applied to business analytics to make them even more successful in your organization. Passionned Group has an extensive range of services such as well-stocked knowledge base, BI advice and a 10-day training on Data Science. Please feel free to contact us to further explore the possibilities.