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 has 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 $79.6 billion in revenues in 2018, 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 for about $5 billion (including Planning Analytics, formerly TM1) to become the center of its future BI product portfolio.

IBM offers a comprehensive portfolio of on-premises and cloud BI, performance management (planning, financial consolidation, disclosure management) and advanced analytics solutions. The core offering of IBM’s Analytics portfolio consists of Planning Analytics and Watson Studio. This product review focuses solely on IBM Cognos Analytics.

IBM Cognos Analytics was acquired from Cognos back in 2007. Today the product is IBM’s core BI and analytics platform.

User & Use Cases

Customers mainly use IBM Cognos Analytics for standard/enterprise reporting (90 percent), ad hoc query (85 percent), dashboards/scorecards (73 percent) and analysis (62 percent). 52 percent of respondents plan to use it for advanced analysis in the future. IBM Cognos Analytics targets mid-sized companies and large corporations across all industries. 48 percent of our sample of IBM Cognos Analytics customers come from mid-sized companies (100-2,500 employees) with a median of 187 users, but the impressive mean of 706 users indicates there are also some significantly larger implementations.

Compared to last year when only 14 percent of respondents were using the current version 11, this year more than half (51 percent) have given their feedback on it. IBM Cognos Analytics customers deploy rather traditional reporting use cases, which we view as a strength of both version 10 and the revamped reporting module in version 11. Only 68 percent use the product to create interactive dashboards and 58 percent use it for data analysis.

IBM Cognos Analytics is predominantly used in 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

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5 products most often evaluated in competition with IBM Cognos Analytics

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Percentage of employees using IBM Cognos Analytics

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Number of users using IBM Cognos Analytics

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Tasks carried out with IBM Cognos Analytics by business users

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Company size (number of employees)

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IBM Cognos Analytics

Peer Groups Large global enterprise BI platforms, Large international BI vendors
VendorIBM
Number of responses52
ProductCognos Analytics (formerly IBM Cognos BI)
OfficesGlobal offices in more than 170 countries worldwide
Employees> 380,000
Customersn/s
Revenues (2018)$ 79.6 billion
Websitewww.ibm.com