Given recent innovations in the latest IBM Cognos toolset and the promise of business intelligence to provide a competitive advantage, more and more customers are critically evaluating their business intelligence strategy and roadmap, including customers who own earlier versions of Cognos and those looking to make an initial investment into the current version of the Cognos suite of solutions. There is a common requirement among both these customers: to make the most of their Cognos investment (existing or new) while also controlling software and project costs.

With over 13 years working with Cognos, the Ironside Group is uniquely suited to help your organization address these issues by providing guidance when architecting a comprehensive solution that includes training, services, and software that fits your organizational needs. In this article, we will focus on the software license cost.

There are two primary costs when considering purchasing software: the upfront purchase price (discussed here) and maintenance costs (which will be discussed in a future article).

While the purchase price is often viewed as the most expensive and most difficult component to get approved for your organization, in the long run it will usually end up being the smaller piece of the overall cost. The upfront license cost is critically important to gain executive buy in and approval, however it will also ultimately determine your long-term maintenance cost.

When looking to minimize your upfront investment, the following considerations should be evaluated.

Trade Ups

We often encounter customers who own an older version of Cognos (e.g. Series 7) or outdated license roles from Cognos 8 (e.g. Cognos Business Analyst or Cognos Consumer). These organizations are often looking to leverage new the functionality in C10, including Cognos Mobile, Business Insight Advanced, and Active Report, all of which are new functionality not available under their current license roles.

Organizations looking to move to the new user roles should consider leveraging a trade up license to protect their current investment. A trade up license offers the new functionality at a greatly discounted cost; while at the same time protecting their existing investment and also offering a higher level of functionality. IBM has many upgrade possibilities, but understanding all the paths and options available to your organization can be complex. Your Ironside team can help determine the best trade up path for your situation. If the trade up path you’re looking for does not exist, do not fret, we will work with you to provide a migration path that is attractive to your organization.

Get it Right the First Time

If you do not currently own Cognos, you’ll want to leverage your full negotiating power. To do so, the first step is to fully understand your user and business requirements. It is important to understand both your needs and your team’s wish list. While many organizations are wary of purchasing “shelfware” or of implementing too much functionality, organizations often make the opposite mistake and under buy. They make an initial purchase only to have to buy again in 6 to 8 months, paying a premium instead of leveraging their buying power. IBM likes their customers to commit and they reciprocate with aggressive deals. It’s very possible to get your wish list fulfilled at little to no additional cost with the proper upfront discussions and negotiations.

The Right Metric

The last consideration on the upfront license purchase (whether trading up or purchasing new) is to make sure the number and type of licenses map to how you plan to use them. IBM has two primary Cognos license metrics: Authorized (Named) User and Processor-based (PVU) licensing. While the Authorized User is self-explanatory, super user/advanced user roles, such as Admin and Professional, are also most commonly sold as Authorized User. The PVU metric can be used most effectively for broader roles where the individuals are not as well defined or more dynamic, such as Recipient or Enhanced Consumer. There are other considerations as well, like how many CPU’s a specific server will require. All these choices and decisions can be worked out with Ironside; we will enable you to architect the best metric and user roles to ensure your long term success.

Maintenance Costs

The second part to the license cost is minimizing and controlling the maintenance costs over time. We will cover this topic at a later date. With over a decade of experience working with IBM, Ironside can advise you and your team on the best way to minimize and control these long term costs.