IBM Cognos Analytics
IBM Cognos Analytics (formerly IBM Cognos BI) is a web-based product for formatted reporting, ad hoc reporting, analysis and dashboards with a central platform for administration, data modeling and accessing data sources. A completely revamped UI was introduced in version 11 including the interactive viewer and the capability to search and navigate content and build new reports, dashboards and data modules. Data modeling (and data preparation) for business users advanced to become a central capability of the Cognos Analytics platform, which is a clear shift from the developer-oriented Framework Manager.
IBM is one of the world’s largest vendors of IT hardware, software and services. The company, which generated about $80 billion in revenues in 2016, has a global workforce of approximately 380,000 employees and is active in over 170 countries. At the end of 2007, IBM purchased the Canadian software vendor Cognos (including TM1) for about $5 billion to become the center of its future BI product portfolio.
IBM offers a comprehensive portfolio of business intelligence, performance management and advanced analytics solutions. The core offering consists of IBM Cognos Analytics, IBM Planning Analytics (formerly TM1), IBM Watson Analytics and the IBM SPSS Predictive Analytics portfolio. This product review focuses solely on IBM Cognos Analytics.
Today, IBM’s strategic goal and the positioning of its BI and analytics portfolio is to empower as many employees in its customer organizations as possible with sophisticated analytics functionality. Watson Analytics is aimed at business users who demand an intuitive cloud solution for data exploration and analysis (“smart data discovery”).
For cloud or on-premises BI use cases such as dashboard and report creation, planning or statistical analysis, Cognos Analytics, Planning Analytics and SPSS fulfill the various needs of all different user groups.
Cognos Analytics is based on a three-tiered architecture consisting of an application server, web server and a web-based front end that access all types of data sources. Advanced data modeling, as well as the settings for security and data access, take place in the solution’s central administration tools.
Cognos Analytics provides web-based functionality for formatted reporting, ad hoc reporting, analysis and dashboards with increasing support for data preparation and storyboards. The product offers well-developed functions for highly formatted reporting, making it a tool of choice for advanced reporting requirements with sophisticated distribution capabilities for large user communities.
User & Use Cases
The demographic charts above mirror IBM’s positioning of the suite very well. IBM Cognos Analytics is mostly used for standard reporting, ad hoc querying and analysis in predominantly large companies and large installations (well above average).
Cognos Analytics provides data access for a vast number of typically casual users who view, navigate and explore data with only a smaller than average proportion of users actively engaged in data modeling and enriching data.
Current vs. planned use
N = 93
5 products most often evaluated in competition with IBM Cognos Analytics
N = 88
Percentage of employees using IBM Cognos Analytics
N = 92
Number of users using IBM Cognos Analytics
N = 92
Tasks carried out with IBM Cognos Analytics by business users
N = 88
Company size (number of employees)
N = 93