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IBM Cognos Business Intelligence offers self-service BI

The latest version of IBM Cognos Business Intelligence is managed by IT but provides end users with a simplified setup and deployment.

The IBM Cognos Business Intelligence enterprise-class BI platform supports business reporting and dashboards, as well as self-service capabilities such as data analysis. It provides industry-wide interoperability so IT can leverage standards and incorporate a wide range of databases, middleware, operating systems and security schemes when deploying the platform.

Cognos is managed by IT but includes user self-service administrative controls over data, report access and a range of professional report-writing and creation capabilities. Managed content delivery allows for multiple output options for a single report; i.e., the ability to push reports to business users via mobile and desktop via schedules or on-demand.

Cognos incorporates Forward Looking BI (FLBI) to integrate BI with predictive analytics. This allows users to embed predictive indicators within reports and dashboards. FLBI is designed to uncover insights and statistically interesting relationships from data sets. Cognos also integrates with IBM's Performance Management applications.

New features in the latest version of IBM Cognos Business Intelligence, 10.2.2, improve overall ease of use in an attempt to give end users more independence from IT but also include simplified setup and deployment. Cognos 10.2.2 is fully compliant with U.S. Government Section 508, giving disabled users accessibility.

Streamlined report creation is made possible by highly standardized templates without metadata information. Users select the templates they wish to use and fill in the metadata information. There are also style reference reports, which work in a similar fashion.

Changes to reports are now visible in real time with Active Report Live Preview. Users can view Active Report content in Report Studio, change the layout to match the specific device for output and make format changes directly in preview mode. Output is completely browser-independent.

Cognos 10.2.2 introduced the My Data Sets feature, which allows users to upload data from Excel or CSV files to integrate personal data into reports. This feature differs from the existing external data feature, as it allows more data to be imported. The imported data remains on the server for as long as the user wants, and the data set now generates its own package on creation. 

Security enhancements in 10.2.2 include Enhanced Targeted Profiles that allow a standardized look and feel for Report Studio and Cognos Workspace Advanced for both producers and consumers. User multi-tenancy allows secure sharing of content by administrators with multiple users from one central location.

In IBM Cognos Business Intelligence 10.2.2, users now can import packages (including physical metadata and formatting) into Cube Designer.

Cognos Business Intelligence offerings

Cognos is designed for businesses of all sizes and comprises the following modules:

  • IBM Cognos Workspace, which provides a unified workspace where users can work with information across all time horizons.
  • IBM Cognos Workspace Advanced, which allows users to perform complex analysis tasks and interact with information.
  • Report Studio, which provides professional layout and reporting capabilities.
  • Active Report, an offline interactive dashboard for delivering self-contained BI.
  • Cognos Mobile, which provides author collect once, use many times functionality.
  • Cognos BI Query Service, which generates SQL/multidimensional expressions (MDX) queries specifically optimized for the type and version of underlying data sources. It also provides security-aware in-memory caching, which avoids redundant queries, and blends together multiple sources of business data.
  • Dynamic Cubes, which provides relational online analytical processing (ROLAP) capability within Dynamic Query and support for both in-database and in-memory aggregates.

IBM Cognos Business Intelligence runs on AIX, Linux, Mobile OS (Android, iOS), Solaris and Windows, and is available via a perpetual license or cloud subscription. The on-premises version is sold by role and is available directly from IBM or through resellers.

Cognos BI pricing  

Cognos BI on Cloud offers three levels of user pricing and four levels of administrator pricing. User pricing is as follows:

  • A workgroup license is $75 per user, per month, with a minimum subscription of 50 users and a minimum six-month term. It is renewed semi-annually with monthly billing.
  • A standard license is $95 per user, per month, with a minimum subscription of 100 users and a minimum one-year term. It is billed monthly and renewed annually.
  • An enterprise license is $125 per user, per month, with a minimum subscription of 150 users and a minimum one-year term. It is billed monthly and renewed annually.

Administrator pricing is as follows:

  • Analytics Administrator (authorized user [AU]): List price is $15,100 per AU; typical discount is 30% and annual support percentage is 20%.
  • Analytics Explorer (authorized user and processor [PVU]): $2,500 per AU; typical discount is 30% and annual support percentage is 20%.
  • Analytics User Authorized (user and processor [PVU]): $1,350 per AU; typical discount is 30% and annual support percentage 20%.
  • Information Distribution (processor [PVU]): $500 per PVU; typical discount is 30% and annual support percentage is 20%.

A free trial of the Cognos BI on Cloud version is accessible via Bluemix, IBM's open cloud platform, and in the IBM AnalyticsZone.

Native language support consists of live support and unlimited access for all certified IT technical staff within an organization. Self-service support is available online. 

Software Subscription and Support (S&S) is priced based on a percentage of license cost and isn't an optional component. It's charged at 25% of initial license cost, or effectively 20% of the initial license and new maintenance fee in follow-on renewals.

Software Accelerated Value Programs are an incremental charge calculated on a per-case basis, dependent on the specific service that the customer requires. Customers can't purchase Software Accelerated Value Programs without having standard S&S.

Next Steps

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This was first published in November 2015

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Buyer's Guide

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