What you need to know about IBM Cognos licensing

When talking to new or existing IBM Cognos customers, there often seems to be confusion around Cognos licensing. The new functionality in C10 adds to this complexity. In hope of shedding some light on this topic, this article will discuss the impact of C10 and the different roles. In a follow-up article next month we will cover “Authorized User” versus “PVU”.

What changes for C10?

There is technically no license cost for migrating from C8 to C10. However, in order to take advantage of much of the new user interfaces and visualizations available in C10 (e.g. Business Insight, Active Report), you may need to trade up to a higher user role. While many of the existing roles will carry forward in C10, there seems to be a conscious effort by IBM to consolidate and simplify the roles in C10. We will discuss the two most common roles: Enhanced Consumer and Advanced Business Author. We’ll also look at how an organization can protect their current investment in other roles.

Enhanced Consumer

The Enhanced Consumer license existed in C8, but actually becomes significantly more valuable in C10. This license is geared toward the business consumer who wants to consume pre-written reports and have simple interactions with the pre-written content.

Key improvements for Enhanced Consumer in C10

Active Report – A self-contained, online/offline dashboarding solution that provides a guided, pre-determined, interactive experience for your business community. Content produced with Active Report can be presented via the Web and also on the iPad. Active Report offers a significant improvement in visualization and interactivity for Cognos, while also offering great performance.

Business Insight – A workspace environment that allows business users to aggregate dashboards customized to their desired content, based off pre-built report components. Business Insight also allows for minor customization of existing reports.

Mobility – While Cognos has had mobility in the past, they have recently made a significant commitment in this area in response to what they see as an increase in demand for BI on mobile devices. IBM has committed to quarterly-releases of their mobile platform to keep pace with the business demands in this space. Consistent with this commitment, mobile capability is now included in their Enhanced Consumer license, which enables deployment.

Collaboration – New functionality in C10 allows users to leverage the Lotus collaboration platform. This enables users to create an activity and assign a team, keep a running dialogue, share discussions etc. This is integral to IBM’s belief that most decisions are not made in a vacuum by a single individual, but are openly discussed by a team. This technology helps promote and keep track of workflow. The Lotus licensing is included in the Enhanced Consumer licensing and is available as an add-on for the Processor Value Unit licensing.

A significant amount of value and capability has been added to the Enhanced Consumer role in C10. If your organization already owns the Enhanced Consumer role, you will receive this functionality when you upgrade to C10. However, if you own a Consumer role or lower, you do have the option to trade up to this new role to protect your investment.

Advanced Business Author

The Advanced Business Author license also existed in C8, but receives significantly more capability in C10. This license is geared toward the advanced business user who is not looking to become a report author, but requires more functionality beyond just running a couple queries.

Key improvements for Advanced Business Author in C10

Business Insight Advanced (BIA)– A graduated workspace environment that allows business users to not only aggregate a dashboard customized to their desired content, based off pre-existing, prebuilt report components, but also provides the ability to customize the pre-written report content. One of the key concepts to BIA is to allow for advanced-user self-service and to consolidate Query Studio and Analysis Studio into one environment to reduce studio hopping.

Cognos Insight – A self-contained workspace for discovery analytics that allows users to drag and drop data sets into the workspace where Cognos Insight will automatically model the data (which can be modified and refined) and provides automatic visualization. Content built in Cognos Insight can be shared with Business Insight or Business Insight Advanced. Cognos Insight is geared toward advanced-users who are doing data discovery or prototyping to quickly gain a different perspective and “insight” on new data. Improved visualization and the removal of the modeling step allows end-users to analyze data at the speed of business. (Pending release 2/7)

What if I don’t have what I need today?

One of the most common scenarios we run into with existing customers is: “I purchased licenses over time as needed, but I don’t have the right roles. What can I do?” The good news is there is a lot you can do. First and most straight forward, most of the older licenses can be traded up to the higher level roles. Depending on what role you’re coming from and what role you’re going to, this can be done for as low as the cost of maintenance. However, IBM will often leverage these trade ups to protect the investment you’ve already made. The optimal time for trade up is at your maintenance renewal time, because each trade up license also includes 12 months of maintenance. Also, the additional spend will allow you to negotiate the cost of the remaining maintenance items. If you have any questions about how to do this please contact Nathan Romanek nromanek@ironsidegroup.com.

In next month’s article, we will discuss additional details around licensing, specifically the most common questions regarding “Authorized User” versus “PVU”.