What you need to know about IBM Cognos’ Bridge to Cloud (SaaS) Offer

Bridge to Cloud

WRITTEN BY Heather Cole, J.D.  

May 2017

Have you heard, IBM has an amazing Bridge to Cloud offer where existing IBM Cognos clients can move to IBM’s SaaS/cloud with minimal risk. I say minimal risk, because as with anything you need to read the fine print. Today I will share with you what you need to know about IBM Cognos’ Bridge to Cloud (SaaS) offer. For those of you that are not an IBM Cognos client but considering moving from On-premise licenses to cloud with another vendor, keep reading, but jump to the “Secret information you MUST know about SaaS” section below. I promise you will learn valuable information that you can apply to your situation as many of the industry vendors are similar.

What is IBM Cognos’ Bridge to Cloud Offer?

IBM has created an incentive program to make it easier for perpetual (on premise) licenses to transition to IBM’s Cognos Analytics Software as a Service (SaaS) or IBM Cognos Planning Analytics SaaS. This is an awesome opportunity for organization that are creating or moving to a cloud based infrastructure. Typically, the Cognos Analytics (BI) and Cognos Planning Analytics (TM1) in the cloud have the latest and greatest bells and whistles. IBM now uses an agile methodology to roll out new features about every 12 weeks. SaaS clients don’t have to worry about doing the installations, upgrades or backups. IBM does all that for you. For the right clients, whom really want to move to the cloud, this is a huge opportunity.

Are you the right client for the IBM Cognos Bridge to Cloud offer?

How do you know if you are the right client? Ask your IBM rep or business partner? Unfortunately, it’s been my experience that there are a lot of sales people out there that don’t know how to determine if the cloud is a good fit for you. Most sales people have never even read the SaaS contracts. At Lodestar Solutions, we always read the contracts and help IBM Cognos clients determine if IBM Bridge to Cloud is a good fit for their organization.

How does the IBM Bridge to Cloud offer work?
· At your IBM Cognos support renewal time, you can contract to convert your existing licenses to SaaS subscriptions and receive dual entitlements. Meaning IBM will let you continue to use your on-premise licenses and the cloud for the term of the IBM Bridge to Cloud contract.
· This is an opportunity to negotiate a discount on SaaS subscriptions for the term of your Bridge to Cloud offer.
· At the end of the term of the Bridge to Cloud offer, usually a year, must decide whether you want to stay on the IBM Cognos Analytics or IBM Cognos Planning Analytics Cloud or return to on premise licensing. Basically, you get a year to migrate, test and decide if it’s a good fit for you.
· If you decide at the end of the term that you do not want to use the IBM Cognos Analytic or Cognos Planning Analytics cloud, no problem. You will return to on premise licensing and according to IBM will not be charged costly S&S reinstatement fees.
· During the Bridge to Cloud term you will not pay S&S fees, you will only pay your SaaS subscription fees.

Clearly IBM is motivated to have existing IBM Cognos Planning (Tm1) and Cognos BI clients upgrade to IBM Cognos Analytics (B1 C11) and Cognos Planning Analytics (TM1 11) and move to the cloud, or they would not offer this fabulous deal.

But Lodestar Solutions, we won’t just give you the sales spiel, we make sure whenever you are buying IBM Cognos software or renewals from us that you are an educated consumer.

Secret information you MUST know about SaaS

I realized you may not have heard of Lodestar Solutions, but I am compelled to share with you the insider information that we share with all Lodestar clients looking at the Bridge to Cloud offer. For those of you that are not IBM Cognos clients, other vendors have similar offers, so keep reading and learn.

1. EXECUTE BRIDGE TO CLOUD AT RENEWAL TIME You must execute the bridge to cloud contracts right before you support renewals bill expires or you may be paying more than you need to. IBM will NOT credit you for prepaid support. So, if your renewal is due June 30th, you will want to have the Bridge to Cloud negotiated and signed by June 24th. This will allow IBM toyou’re your environment up. If your renewal is June 30th and you don’t execute the bridge to cloud but you pay your renewal bill, then in October you decide you want to try the cloud, you could lose 8 months of support that you already paid for.

2. YOU MAY BE CHARGE SALES OR USE TAX - Yes, a little-known fact is that some states and cities are now charging tax on the cloud. This could expose your organization to significantly more costs. For example, the city of Chicago is charging sales tax on cloud. In the state of IL if you buy on-premise licenses and the contracts are written properly you would not be charged sales tax under IL Rev Code. http://www.revenue.state.il.us/legalinformation/regs/part130/130-1935.pdf but if you are in Chicago and move your licenses to the cloud, you are liable for sales tax. One of the highest sales tax rates in the country I must add.

3. THE FUTURE COST OF THE SAAS – When the IBM reps calls you a few weeks before renewal they will call with an amazing deal, offering SaaS licenses for slightly more than your renewal cost. You must know this is typically NOT the list price of the SaaS. We encourage you to calculate the cost of cloud after the initial promotional Bridge to Cloud offer. I have received calls from many clients saying an IBM rep called them about Bridge to Cloud, and gave them a great quote for Bridget to Cloud, but when we walked the client through the details we discovered the rep only quoted a partial migration. They quoted 200 licenses to be moved to the cloud when the client had 800 licenses. When we asked the rep why they didn’t quote the entire thing, they said they were giving them “a sampling of the cloud” not a full migration. A point the client must not have understood. The client would have been surprised when they got the bill for the Bridge to cloud and the support for the 600 licenses. Additionally, at the end of the Bridge to Cloud term if the client decided to stay on the cloud, they would have to upgrade all their licenses to SaaS which cost way more than the original Bridge to Cloud offer and in this case way more than their annual support renewal bill. Remember everything is negotiable but as a consumer you should calculate your future costs. If you want help running the numbers, our Lodestar sales team can help. Email them at Sales@lodestarsolutions.com

4. WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU RETURN TO ON-PREMISE AFTER TERM - This is where you must read the contracts! If at the end of your IBM Bridge to Cloud term you decide, your organization is just not ready for the cloud, IBM will not charge you reinstatement fees to return to your old on-premise licenses. However, if you are a client that currently has a huge discount on your support bill, you need to be careful! The standard IBM contract states that if decide to return to on-premise licensing that your renewal bill will go to "Market" price.  What exactly is "Market" price?  I really don't know but  in theory, this could mean a huge increase for some of you!  The good news is, I have found that IBM is willing to modify the contracts and change the language so that it states you will be charged your previous support plus the standard annual uplift.  But if you don’t work with a partner that reads the contracts and guides you, you could end up with support at "market" price, according to the contract.

5. YOU MUST UPGRADE TO COGNOS ANALYTICS (C11 BI) BEFORE MIGRATION – If you attended our webinar on upgrading to C11 and our upgrade tool kit, you know that the Lifecycle Manager that helps with upgrade is not yet available on the cloud as of May 2017. You will need to upgrade your models to Cognos Analytics on premise before moving them to the cloud. To see a recording of our webinar, go to Being an Awesome Cognos BI Developer for C11 or to get access to our Cognos Analytic Upgrade Tool Kit that provides free information that will help you be a superstar in your organization.   All you need to do is click on the tool kit link and join our Cognos Club for Free and you will have instant access!

6. Terms of the IBM SaaS Contracts – I will not go into a lot of detail here but anyone buying any SaaS solution MUST closely examine the terms of the contract. The IBM Bridge to Cloud deal looks simple as it’s a brief addendum, but it references their standard IBM SaaS terms. IBM Planning Analytics Cloud Terms and IBM Watson Analytics and Cognos Analytics on Cloud Terms By signing the addendum are agreeing to much more! You should make sure you have the authority to agree to these terms!

“Your order will be governed by and is subject to the terms of your Passport Advantage Agreement, the Passport Advantage Express Agreement, or the IBM Cloud Services Agreement with Passport Advantage as applicable, against which this transaction will be placed.”

I am guessing most of you are not lawyers, and in fact most of your in-house lawyers are not technology lawyers. But I am, so I am telling you please review the terms and make sure they are ones that you live by! Your data is going to be sitting in IBM’s data centers all over the world. If there is a breach, what happens? For those of you wanting to learn more about SaaS contract’s in general, I have some videos on it in our Upgrade Tool Kit. Lodestar IBM Cognos Analytics Upgrade Tool Kit If you need the help of a technology lawyer reach out to us, and we will give you a name of an expert. Sales@lodestarsolutions.com

HAVE NO FEAR!

Is your head now spinning? Don’t worry I know how you feel! All this information can be overwhelming! It took me months of asking questions, researching, and 3.5 years of attending Chicago Kent College of Law studying technology law at night to figure this out. I can fully understand why some sales reps don’t understand it all either. It’s complex! But for many of you, the IBM Cognos Bridge to Cloud is a fabulous deal! And we are here to help. I have trained the Lodestar Solutions Sales team to fully understand how to help you determine if IBM Cognos SaaS is a good fit for you. They are ready to coach you through this process.

Hopefully I have educated you to read the terms, ask questions and run the numbers. If you need a partner to guide you, someone you can trust, contact the Lodestar team at Sales@lodestarsolutions.com

FINAL NOTE: If you learned something by reading this article, share it on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter! Everyone who is considering moving to any SaaS solution needs to learn the questions to ask and how to be an educated consumer. I provided you all this valuable information for free, so please pay it forward and share with someone else. Now go be the Rockstar that I know you are. – Heather L. Cole, J.D.