IBM Cognos Analytics Review

Armonk, NY
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Cloud, On-Premise
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Cognos At A Glance

Good: Drag-and-drop dashboard creator, contextualized smart search, usable with multidimensional and relational data sources.
Bad: Difficult to use for those not accustomed to advanced software; reports can take too long to generate.
Bottom Line: IBM Cognos Analytics is a BI tool that can be used to improve strategic management and monitor financial performance.

Product Overview

IBM Cognos Analytics software is an online-based business intelligence platform that offers a complete array of BI software to address company goals. Considered one of the leaders in the field of business intelligence, Cognos Analytics is comprised of over thirty different products. Cognos’ abilities include dashboarding, reporting, analytics, scorecarding, and, notably, data integration.

Cognos Analytics also contains unique products that completely separate it from the broader field of business intelligence by being able to simultaneously cater to both the largest corporate giants on the one hand, and smaller to midsize companies on the other, with the same system.

Cognos was redesigned in 2015 to resemble the IBM Watson Analytics in self-service functionality. It offers intent-driven data modeling, smarter search functionality and a single platform for all types of business reporting.

If you’re curious about comparing Cognos to other BI tools, check out our Cognos vs Tableau feature for a look at strengths and weaknesses head-to-head.


Some of the IBM Cognos key features include:

  • Intuitive interface for authoring content
  • Drag-and-drop dashboard creator via desktops or mobile devices
  • Contextualized smart search
  • Automatically recommends best visualizations for particular data templates
  • Data modeling features, such as direct reporting from data sources, automatic data model generation based on keywords, and uploading personal and external data
  • Data protection by using layers of permissions and authentication

IBM Cognos offers product enhancements in its latest release (November 2017), such as:

  • Support for chart values
  • Advanced calculations for data modules and dashboards
  • Better filtering in visualization and reports
  • Ease of reports users to drill down into the data

  • Ad Hoc Analysis?
  • Online Analytical Processing (OLAP)?
  • Predictive Analysis?
  • Profit Analysis?
  • Trend Indicators?
  • Ad Hoc Reporting?
  • Automatic Scheduled Reporting?
  • Customizable Dashboard?

Target Market

IBM services over 26,000 companies from a broad cross-section of industries including aerospace, defense, banking, education, healthcare and many more. Below are some of their clients:

  • Nike
  • GKN Land System
  • Spain's Ministry of Defense
  • British Airways
  • Chemring
  • Quinte Health Care
  • Troy Corporation
  • Michigan State University
  • Lufthansa Cargo
  • Jabil

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The implementation process for IBM Cognos Analytics is as follows (note it is based on company needs/requirements):

  • Discuss requirements and goals of the company using the solution
  • Install server and client components for Cognos Analytics
  • Install database and ETL configuration
  • Load master data and configure historical data loads
  • Deploy other pre-built applications, such as the Framework Manager models, reports, and dashboards
  • End-to-end testing of the solution
  • Deliver installation documentation to users
  • Transfer information to users
  • Remote support up to two days after implementation is done

Customer Service & Support

IBM has a comprehensive customer support system that includes training and certification courses, and customer service available for users of their Business Intelligence programs, such as Cognos.

They offer training that can be individualized based on specific roles within a company, and can be implemented both online and in-person. They also offer private courses, and specialized certifications to reflect expertise that aid in career advancement.

Online tech support provides customers with access to IBM specialists that can address questions or potential problems with software.


IBM Cognos offers several pricing plans.

Proof of Concept – The Proof of Concept plan allows users to test IBM Cognos for six months at a 50% discount. It’s intended for unlimited users with full product and user spectrum capability. Users also have access to cloud and on-premise data. Proof of Concept users can migrate to a subscription after six months. Please contact IBM for a quote.

Workgroup ($1,990 per month) – The Workgroup plan is intended for small businesses and mid-size departments. It accommodate at least 25 users and includes the following features:

  • Self-service governance
  • Shared analytics and visualizations
  • 100 GB storage and backup
  • Email delivery services
  • Mobile functionality
  • Access to on-premise and cloud data
  • Guided reports and dashboards
  • Tech support
  • Single tenant environment

Standard ($10,100 per month) – The Standard plan targets companies of all sizes. In addition to the Workgroup plan, the Standard tier includes:

  • Additional pre-production environment
  • 250 GB storage and backup
  • Optional cloud throughput capacity
  • Optional 250 GB personal cloud storage

Enterprise ($19,950 per month) – The Enterprise plan is intended for companies with more than 150 users. It includes additional features, such as a 500 GB storage and backup and a bare-metal server.

Hybrid Entitlement – The Hybrid Entitlement plan gives companies access to a hybrid environment of cloud and on-premise hosting. Pricing for this plan is not available, so please contact IBM for a quote.


Some users have reported that IBM Cognos Analytics is not always user-friendly and has a steep learning curve. Data reports also take almost twice as long to compile with Cognos Analytics as compared to most competitors.


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IBM World Trade Corporation, a company of over 380,000 employees globally, is based in Armonk, New York. It specializes in the creation and marketing of computer hardware and software around the world. It also offers general consulting services in areas such as mainframe computers and nanotechnology.

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