God Knows or Cognos
Sachin Karkun | TrustRadius Reviewer
Updated September 30, 2015

God Knows or Cognos

Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Software Version

10.2.2

Modules Used

  • Analysis Studio
  • Event Studio
  • Query Studio
  • Report Studio
  • Workspace
  • Workspace Advanced
  • Dynamic Cubes

Overall Satisfaction with IBM Cognos

IBM Cognos BI suite has been deployed across enterprise and end customers, for one of the customers at my previous company. They are at version 10.2.2 which consists of dashboards and daily data snapshots. The target users are mostly mid-level and top-management but external users such as dealers and vendors have access to the environment when it comes to scorecards. It is easily integrated with other websites. It has a good API that allows seamless integration. However, the main challenge includes extensive learning, frequent service restarts and proper documentation of troubleshooting information. Additionally, visualization and query engine still require improvements in terms of creating simpler queries.
It consists of Analysis Studio, Query Studio, Workspace, Workspace Advanced as Adhoc Analysis tools, which provides alternate for OLAP and relational database, but it poses a challenge while educating users to uses the right tool for analysis. Report Studio is widely used for preparing canned reports, but if the components are not structured properly within a report then it can lead to unstable environment. Dynamic Cubes is one of the client tools which allows analysis on large set of data but has a lot of dependency on materialized views created in database. As per IBM's roadmap, dynamic cube would be the future but IBM needs to improve or enhance the tool in terms of supporting aggregate awareness and less dependency on database materialized views.
  • IBM cognos can create reports against transactional as well as data marts. It has the capability of combining results of multiple databases too.
  • Integrating with external websites is easy and seamless. It provides SDK for Java and C# which extends the report functionality.
  • Administrators have easy access to stop/start a particular service through administrator page. It also simplifies the code migration. Modelling tools like framework manager and transformer are quite intutive.
  • Zero footprint architecture allows an end user to author and publish reports through an internet browser.
  • Bursting option eliminates the requirement of storing multiple copies of report which each user or user group.
  • Visualization and charting engines are still elementary. IBM Cognos has introduced RAVE charts but the capabilities are limited and customization is still tricky.
  • Cognos Insight is one of the self-learning BI tools, but it is not at par with the Tableau or Qlik. It needs a lot of improvements.
  • Aggregate awareness has to be extended further to other tools like framework manager or transformer. Similarly, active reports have to be more robust in terms of complying to the wide range of use-cases.
  • Lack of offline reporting puts an unnecessary dependency on the internet.
  • Since, the environment is centralized, a bad query can shutdown development of reports.
  • Client tools such as framework manager, transformer GUI, dynamic cube designer, Cognos Insight are restricted to windows. It would be better if they are extended to Ubuntu, Mac or Linux too.
  • Support for Chrome browser is minimal.
  • Training materials need to be improved.
  • Plugin for R is good to have.
  • Oracle BI Foundation Suite,QlikView,Tableau Desktop,BIRT,Actuate,Jaspersoft
Oracle BI foundation suite has a good adhoc capability but it's architecture limits the usage to a particular segment of an industry. Additionally, when it comes to multi-platform support, Cognos performs better than Oracle BI Foundation Suite. Qlikview and Tableau are fast and provide very attractive dashboards, but for enterprise-wide canned reports that can be exported to files such as Excel or PDFs, Cognos has a slight-edge. BIRT, Actuate and Jaspersoft are open source and are gaining rapid popularity, but customer service is a major challenge.
IBM Cognos provides a stack for enterprise-wide reporting. It can be deployed, managed, updated and migrated very easily. Worth an investment for medium and large capital investment companies. Once learned, it has alternatives for most of the report navigation requirements. However, if one is looking for remarkable dashboards, then it Tableau and QlikView are better options at present. Licensing rules are bit tricky. Otherwise, overall a good experience but has a steep learning curve.

IBM Cognos Analytics Feature Ratings

Pixel Perfect reports
8
Customizable dashboards
6
Report Formatting Templates
8
Drill-down analysis
7
Formatting capabilities
6
Integration with R or other statistical packages
Not Rated
Report sharing and collaboration
9
Publish to Web
10
Publish to PDF
10
Report Versioning
9
Report Delivery Scheduling
9
Pre-built visualization formats (heatmaps, scatter plots etc.)
5
Location Analytics / Geographic Visualization
4
Predictive Analytics
2
Multi-User Support (named login)
9
Role-Based Security Model
9
Multiple Access Permission Levels (Create, Read, Delete)
9
Responsive Design for Web Access
6
Dedicated iOS Application
8
Dedicated Android Application
7
Dashboard / Report / Visualization Interactivity on Mobile
5

Using IBM Cognos

25000 - Sales and Marketing, Finance and After Sales are three major portfolios who are using the system. Other departments include Legal & Audit, Product Engineering, Quality and Infotainment and Human Resources. The Finance team rigorously uses the reports to track the receivables and payable. Sales and Marketing has external facing asset management reports and dealer Scorecard.
10000 - All the people who are supporting cognos application are trained extensively in cognos framework manager, cognos report studio and cognos transformer. They are equally competent in Dynamic Cubes and Cognos administration. In case of any issues, the team is capable enough to troubleshoot the issues initially and contact IBM in extreme cases.
  • Fleet Management is using the dashboards to track daily contracts.
  • Finance is using the reports to track the receivables and payable every hour.
  • Dealers are using to track their performance almost daily.
  • After Sales is using Cognos to run daily service renewal dashboard and has already saved close to 150 million dollars in one financial year.
  • Asset management team is constantly tracking the assets being uploaded through an external application.
  • Cognos has alternative way of displaying BLOB images in the reports.
  • Cognos gateway can be used to host a wire-frame created around the reports.
  • It can also be used to audit real-time transactions
  • Event Studio component can be used to create a approval workflow.
  • It can connect to social networking sites using Lotus collaboration.
  • Geo-location reporting can be done on ESRI and google maps.
For an existing solution, renewing licenses does provide a good return on investment. Additionally, while rolling out scorecards and dashboards with little adhoc capabilities, to end users, cognos is very easily scalable. It also allows to create a solution that has a mix of OLAP and relational data-sources, which is a limitation with other tools. Synchronizing with existing security setup is easy too.

IBM Cognos Implementation