IBM Cognos Analytics

IBM® is one of the world’s largest vendors of IT hardware, software and services. The company has a global workforce of approximately 282,000 employees and is active in over 170 countries. In 2007, IBM purchased the BI vendor Cognos and made its software the center of its BI & analytics product offerings.

IBM offers a broad portfolio of on-premises and cloud analytics, performance management and advanced analytics solutions. Major offerings include IBM Cognos Analytics with Watson (Cognos Analytics), IBM Planning Analytics with Watson, IBM Watson Studio and IBM Cloud Pak for Data. IBM supports a broad range of deployment requirements by offering both cloud and on-premises options as well as containerized applications and allows for transition from on-premises to cloud by providing agnostic licenses.

Cognos Analytics is IBM’s BI and analytics platform. It combines ease of use with elaborate governance features in an end-to-end platform. The product can be used in large-scale scenarios supporting the needs of many concurrent users as well as large data volumes. Cognos Analytics provides functionality for dashboards, pixel-perfect reports, data stories, data modeling and analysis in a unified web-based interface. A new mobile app gives better access to created content.

IBM wants Cognos Analytics to be every user’s analytics co-pilot when navigating data. The vendor has infused NLQ, automated insights and intent-driven modeling and has invested in automation and ML capabilities across data modeling, dashboards, data exploration (‘Exploration’) and an analytics chat assistant. The AI assistant allows users to explore data by asking natural language questions and by receiving insightful answers with a presentation-ready dashboard or report. Cognos’ AI capabilities can also identify trends and forecast results, helping companies to identify relevant influencers and correlations and calculate quick predictions.

IBM also extends the advanced and predictive analytics capabilities of Cognos Analytics to bring business analyst and data scientist workloads together. For instance, Jupyter Notebooks has been incorporated in the user interface to provide greater flexibility in data preparation, statistical analysis and ML. The product also connects with IBM Watson Studio, the vendor’s advanced analytics platform targeted at data scientists. Besides its widely known SPSS capabilities, Watson Studio includes data science modules based on Jupyter Notebooks for development in R and Python, AutoML and embedded decision management. Cognos Analytics can also be deployed as part of IBM Cloud Pak for Data to enable many types of analytics use cases.

User & Use Cases

All customers use IBM Cognos Analytics for standard and enterprise reporting and almost all use it for ad hoc query (90 percent). The use of dashboards and analytics applications (83 percent) is followed by analysis (70 percent) in the list of current application types deployed.
The most common competitors of IBM Cognos Analytics are Power BI and Tableau, highlighting the difficulty IBM goes through with its offering. Competing against specialized data visualization-oriented products with a full-fledged enterprise BI & analytics platform requires IBM to emphasize the virtues and value of a compelling platform. While it does well in increasing the share of users creating their own reports and dashboards, the proportion of users analyzing and exploring data freely is slightly below average.
IBM Cognos Analytics targets large corporations and mid-sized companies across all industries. 52 percent of our sample of IBM Cognos Analytics customers came from large companies. The median of 175 users and mean of 832 users show that there are many large-scale implementations.

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5 products most often evaluated in competition with IBM Cognos Analytics


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IBM Cognos Analytics

Peer Groups Business Software Generalists (BI), Embedded Analytics Focus, International BI Giants, Large/Enterprise-Wide Implementations: (BI), Report & Dashboard Focus
Number of responses30
ProductIBM Cognos Analytics