IBM Cognos Analytics with Watson - the best enterprise reporting platform
February 11, 2022

IBM Cognos Analytics with Watson - the best enterprise reporting platform

Paul Mendelson | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review

Modules Used

  • Analysis Studio
  • Event Studio
  • Query Studio
  • Report Studio
  • SDK
  • Cognos Mashup Services

Overall Satisfaction with IBM Cognos Analytics with Watson

As an IBM business partner, I implement IBM Cognos Analytics with Watson for various IBM customers. These customers span almost every industry, from manufacturing to government, research to finance, and everything in between.

My current client is a large pharmaceutical company who uses IBM Cognos Analytics with Watson across multiple divisions. I've been brought in to help with the finance team.

IBM Cognos Analytics with Watson is flexible enough to make their reporting do everything they want. A major focus was ensuring high visibility reports work on mobile devices. Because IBM Cognos Analytics with Watson allows JavaScript and lets authors directly define HTML, I can make responsive reports that behave perfectly for any sized screen.

Another focus was expanding the default functionality in IBM Cognos Analytics with Watson through a series of JavaScript controls. Writing back directly to TM1, sending users emails from a button inside the report, or exporting reports to PowerPoint, the API available in IBM Cognos Analytics with Watson makes writing these controls quick and easy.
  • Pixel perfect reports. If a client can provide a pixel-perfect mockup, I can make the report indistinguishable from the mockup.
  • Data security. It doesn't matter who the user is; when they log in and run a report, they will only see the data they are permitted to see.
  • Performant reports on large data. Many tools have issues running on tables containing only a few million rows. Cognos can consistently run reports on multi-billion row tables without issue.
  • Embedding reports in third-party tools. With Cognos Mashup Services, it is possible to build a report in IBM Cognos Analytics with Watson and call it programmatically. Need straight HTML? No problem. JSON? Atom? All good.
  • Data modules still can't match the flexibility of the framework manager. When dealing with large data models, or multi-grain, FM still wins.
  • The new native graphs, while pretty, still can't match the version 10 graphs in terms of flexibility or options. It is possible to import third-party graphs, but it's a pain.
  • Some functionality, like version control, is only available through third parties. Motio or BSP.
  • I've rebuilt a few metadata models to make the associated reports run at around a fifth of the time.
  • I was able to write and sell an IBM Cognos Analytics with Watson extension pack to add additional functionality and to make report author's lives easier.
The AI assistant is still fairly new. My current clients have evaluated it but have not yet implemented it. The big issue is their primary data source is based on a complicated TM1 cube, and the AI ontology cannot accurately match requests to specific tuples.

Once IBM implements it, we'll reevaluate. There is plenty of interest in it, though.
Governance is extremely important to my client. The reports are grouped into different sections, access to which is defined through the users' AD groups. Individual reports are designed to filter differently based on who the user is and even present different aggregation levels based on user permissions.

TM1 security is used for row-level security, while object and query structure security is handled through IBM Cognos Analytics with Watson.
This is my bread and butter. The flexibility offered is simply unmatched by any other tool. Custom graphs can be imported, and additional interactive functionality can be added with JS.

PDF outputs can be tricky, but with enough effort, it is possible to make an entire book.

In HTML, the reports support pretty much any CSS style you can think of. If it's not available through the GUI, just write it as straight CSS using an HTML item.

Most objects support conditional formatting or conditional rendering—highlight specific bars in a graph. Hide entire report sections if they're not applicable to the prompted values.

Do you think IBM Cognos Analytics with Watson delivers good value for the price?


Are you happy with IBM Cognos Analytics with Watson's feature set?


Did IBM Cognos Analytics with Watson live up to sales and marketing promises?

I wasn't involved with the selection/purchase process

Did implementation of IBM Cognos Analytics with Watson go as expected?


Would you buy IBM Cognos Analytics with Watson again?


IBM Cognos Analytics with Watson is especially good with any type of pixel-perfect reporting. While it's most commonly used for financial reports, I've used it for building models for plenty of other purposes. The one that sticks out was a road safety organization that used IBM Cognos Analytics with Watson to research road accidents. The ETL process merged data from police, hospitals, insurance companies, high management, and several other sources. The combination of canned reporting and ad-hoc querying tools allowed researchers to find insights and possible causes of accidents that weren't previously considered. On the flip side, IBM Cognos Analytics with Watson is often used for things it's not really perfectly suited for. Data entry is a big one. You can write back to a database through it, but it's always a bit hacky. In the latest version, Query Studio is being deprecated. The dashboarding tool is significantly more complex. Sometimes you just want a quick and dirty query, and QS was perfect for it. Finally, there is a learning curve. You absolutely must learn how to use the tool, or you will have a miserable time. Once you get past that curve, you'll find it powerful and capable of meeting almost any need (even the hacky write-back requirements that people love to throw at me).

IBM Cognos Analytics with Watson Feature Ratings

Pixel Perfect reports
Customizable dashboards
Report Formatting Templates
Drill-down analysis
Formatting capabilities
Integration with R or other statistical packages
Report sharing and collaboration
Publish to PDF
Report Delivery Scheduling
Pre-built visualization formats (heatmaps, scatter plots etc.)
Location Analytics / Geographic Visualization
Predictive Analytics
Multi-User Support (named login)
Role-Based Security Model
Multiple Access Permission Levels (Create, Read, Delete)
Single Sign-On (SSO)
Responsive Design for Web Access
Mobile Application
Dashboard / Report / Visualization Interactivity on Mobile
Javascript API