A solid tool from a bygone era.
February 29, 2016

A solid tool from a bygone era.

Jonathan Kyrlach | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 4 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Modules Used

  • Analysis Studio
  • Query Studio
  • Report Studio
  • Transformer

Overall Satisfaction with IBM Cognos

When I was using IBM Cognos, it was the primary reporting solution for the enterprise, both at HIll-Rom and at Ethicon Endo-Surgery. It was the official tool for users to consume information from the enterprise data warehouse. I've also used it as a third-party integrator.
  • The strength of Cognos has always been their data modeling layer. Both in Framework Manager and in Transformer, very sophisticated data models could be applied to any database-housed source data.
  • Very easy to implement security on data access.
  • The ability to control what queries/operations were handled by Cognos, versus those that would be passed off to the database.
  • Having both the Framework models and the report studio specs be xml documents made third-party integration quite nice.
  • Printing reports is very easy.
  • Drilling up/down/through very easy to do.
  • The data models aren't available to anything besides Cognos Reports. So if a custom application or an analysis tool from another vendor wants to access the data, they can't take advantage of any of the modeling work done in Framework Manager, they have to do it all over again. This is a travesty. The modeling should be presented as a federated database layer that any application can take advantage of.
  • The data modeling environment doesn't lend itself to good development practices: You can't tell easily what the impact will be to making a change (Will this break report? cubes?), there's no built-in version control, only one person can work on a model at a single time, large files become unwieldy.
  • The general level of graphics is behind other vendors. The maps in particular are terrible.
  • The tool is expensive, and locks you in.
  • Working with a performant, dimensional source like a cube requires learning and using archaic mdx, and is very difficult to do in Report Studio.
I didn't select IBM Cognos, I only used it in situations where it had already been selected. Cognos was better for a long time than most of the traditional BI vendors. And their modeling is still second to none.
It's very good at modeling data from databases. But only Cognos objects can take advantage of that model.
Cognos has always been strong at scheduling and sharing. Most of the time, the company that has implemented Cognos has disabled most of the sharing features in the name of iT Governance and security.
When money is no object, vendor lock-in isn't a problem, and users don't care how good the reports look -- IBM Cognos is a good fit for that.

IBM Cognos Analytics Feature Ratings

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

Using IBM Cognos

300 - All of them
15 - DBA, Server Admin, Data Modelers,Studio Gurus
  • Getting data from the EDW
  • It's a reporting tool. It doesn't have a lot of innovation. Connect people to data. That's it!

IBM Cognos Support

Why is their web application not working as fast as you think it should? They never know, and it is always a a bunch of shots in the dark to find out. Trying to download software from them is like trying to find a book at the library before computers were invented.
ProsCons
Good followup
Knowledgeable team
Problems get solved
Quick Initial Response
Slow Resolution
Not kept informed
Difficult to get immediate help

Using IBM Cognos

It's decently good at things, just tricky in some places.
ProsCons
Like to use
Relatively simple
Well integrated
Feel confident using
Difficult to use
Requires technical support
Slow to learn
Cumbersome
Lots to learn
  • Modeling dimensional structures in Transformer.
  • Creating security and data models in Framework Manager
  • Scheduling reports
  • Impact analysis
  • Report studio reports against a dimensional source like a cube.
  • Any type of mapping report.