The Real Cost of Multiple Business Intelligence Solutions

The Real Cost of Multiple Business Intelligence Solutions
The Real Cost of Multiple Business Intelligence Solutions
Written by Heather L. Cole on December 9th, 2021

What’s the best business intelligence solution?  This is a question I get asked repeatedly by clients that are struggling to manage multiple different business intelligence solutions in their organization.  Due to acquisitions, mergers, and departmental purchases, it’s not uncommon for clients have IBM Cognos, Tableau, and of course Microsoft Power BI along with other solutions.  Various studies show companies average between 3.8 to 5 different BI solutions.  But what is the real cost of multiple business intelligence solutions?

Today I’ll explore the pros, cons and a solution that could be game changing for companies struggling with which business intelligence solutions to use.

Why So Many Business Intelligence Solutions?

First let’s review how the heck we ended up with so many business intelligence solutions.  There were three key factors which include the pace of Data Warehouse initiatives, the massive growth in demands by business uses and of course politics.

Data Warehouse Initiatives

The vision on one version of the truth is nothing new.  Early data warehouse initiatives were supposed to solve the many sources of data and provide the foundation for business intelligence.  But standardizing data definitions and developing the data warehouse proved to be a slower process than we desired.  Some business units like finance were often told their data would be added to the warehouse in a couple years!  This was just unacceptable to the business units that required visibility to data to make decisions.  So, they took matters into their own hands and many purchase their own business intelligence and reporting solutions to meet their needs.

Data Needs Grew Faster than Teams Could Deliver

For organizations that tried to control the purchase of additional reporting tools, business intelligence teams were quickly overwhelmed and understaffed to meet the needs of everyone.  This too inspired some departments to look for solutions that provided solutions specific to their role or department that bundled in business intelligence solutions.  We saw this a lot with financial systems that included reporting tools.  


The final factor that contributed to the proliferation of business intelligence solutions in organizations is politics.  Many departments seek autonomy from the IT department.  They wanted control of their own destiny.  Software resellers like Tableau and Microsoft Power BI successfully marketed to various departments and their desire to control their own data.

For more information check out this blog, Top 8 Business Intelligence Challenges and How to Handle Them. 

Unfortunately, all these factors put many organizations in a situation where there are many silos of data and several reporting solutions.  Companies reviewing where they are in their analytics and business intelligence roadmap are discovering they are off course.  But what should the future road look like for business intelligence and analytics? 

The Reaction to Multiple Business Intelligence Solutions

If you have multiple business intelligence solutions and you want to create a plan, there is no one size fits most answer.  Having multiple reporting and analytic solutions may be the perfect answer depending on your goals and resources.   Let’s take a moment to explore some of the questions you want to answer in your evaluations.

Primary Goal of Business Intelligence Tools

What is the real reason you need reporting and analytic solutions?  Is it to rapidly provide insightful accurate data in a useful form to business users?  For some clients Lodestar Solutions works with having multiple reporting solutions helps them deploy the data to departments while meeting their unique needs, for others standardizing on a tool like IBM Cognos Analytics streamlines the deployment and maintenance for their IT department.  What are your unique goals?

The Cost Factors

Cost is always a factor.  When evaluating your current reporting tools, you will want to create a list of all the various reporting solutions used.  Then determine if the licensing for the reporting component is bundled with other software or you pay additional for the reporting.  Now estimate the annual cost for each additional reporting solution.  Costs should include the staff to support it and annual maintenance or subscription costs.  The goal is to gain visibility to the costs for all the different solutions.

If you need clarity on your IBM Cognos renewal or subscription costs, Lodestar is happy to help.  Email us at  And check out our blog, Want to Save Money? 

Opportunity Cost of Disparate Systems

Depending on your industry you may find industry solutions or departmental solutions are greatly beneficial and add faster visibility.  I like to compare your reporting solutions to your garden.  You might need multiple tools to efficiently maintain your environment.  So, multiple solutions could be the perfect solution.  Only you can do a proper evaluation if you should standardize on one platform.  Talk to your end users and perform a discovery session of how they leverage data today and their ideas for the future.

Time To Migrate Existing Reporting

When determining if you should migrate reports from one system to another you must consider first if the new system has all the functionality of the old system.  Users hate losing functionality.  Then do a proper evaluation of the complexity and quantity of reports that would have to be redeveloped in a new tool.  If you are an IBM Cognos client and evaluating IBM Cognos verse Power BI, I strongly recommend you consider using Motio solutions to evaluate the complexity and quantity of reports.  For more information on this see our blog and call us for a discussion of how Motio Inventory module can give you clarity.  See our earlier blog on Motio for Cognos Analytics Administrators.  

Best of Both Worlds – One Portal, Many Business Intelligence Tools

Many clients have come to us at Lodestar Solutions asking for guidance on if they should move off IBM Cognos for Power BI, others seek help to manage all the different solutions.  We appreciate this can be a complex and political discussion in organizations.

What if I was to tell you there could be an easy solution to allow users access to all the information they need from one portal?  That the marketing department that loves their solutions can keep it, and finance can keep their solution.  What if wasting time rebuilding existing content that works was not necessary?  Would you and your team like to spend time on game changing solutions instead of reinventing the wheel?  If so, you MUST attend our webinar on What Every Executive Needs to Know about Dealing with Multiple BI Systems. 

Questions, call us at 813-415-2910.  Register for this complimentary, thought provoking event!


What Every Executive Needs to Know about Dealing with Multiple BI Systems

What Every Executive Needs to Know about Dealing with Multiple BI Systems

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

1-2 PM Eastern 

IBM Cognos Analytics and Planning Analytics Virtual User Group

Lodestar Solutions Virtual User Group
Lodestar Solutions Virtual User Group
Written by Mike Bernaiche, August 26th 2021

Are you looking for more information on IBM Cognos or Planning Analytics?  Do you want to have a space where you can ask your peers real questions about the products, set up or use cases?  Did you know that Lodestar hosts a client only virtual user group every quarter that provides a ton of information and value?  Even better, all sessions are recorded and stored on our virtual Kajabi ( site so you can watch on your own time or again for pieces of information that were important to you.  Best of all, this is a free service for our clients.  Use this as a guide to find the sessions important to you and log in to watch or download supporting materials.  We have covered a ton of topics in our first 4 user groups.  Below I will break down what was covered in each.

November 2020

We spent the first part of our first user group talking about IBM Planning Analytics.  We covered the following:

  • What’s New and the Power of Planning Analytics Workspace
  • Client story – Journey to Planning Analytics and Getting Funding Approved
  • Client Networking Session

We then moved to a technical segment, where we covered:

  •  Planning Analytics Upgrades and Migrations
  • Cognos Analytics Upgrades and Migrations

The last sessions were all about Cognos Analytics and covered the following:

  • What’s New in Cognos Analytics
  • Client story – Using Customizations to “Skin” Cognos Analytics to Make it Your Own
  • Client Networking Session

We covered a lot of information back in November.  The great news is that if you missed it or need to watch again, simply log into the virtual site and watch.

February 2021

In our second user group we covered some items in Cognos Analytics and Planning Analytics but also spent some time discussing Motio Products ( to administrate the environments.  Below is the list of topics.

  • Planning Analytics for Excel – Tips, Tricks and Demo
  • Deep Dive on PVU’s (Processor Value Units) and ILMT (IBM License Metric Tool)
  • Planning Analytics Administration using Soterre from Motio  Soterre - Motio
  • Cognos Analytics Data Modules and Data Sets Demo
  • Cognos Analytics Administration using Motio PI / PI Pro. MotioPI - Motio

Did you know that Lodestar Solutions is a reseller for Motio products?  Contact us to talk to us about everything that Motio can do for your Cognos Analytics or Planning Analytics deployments.

May 2021

As IBM continues to release new versions and many enhancements to both Cognos Analytics and Planning Analytics, we continue to provide updates on the new versions.  In this virtual user group, we talked about everything new in both products and so much more.  Before I get to that, did you know that Lodestar writes blogs every week and we cover new releases soon after they are released?  Here are links to the latest blogs on that topic.

Topics covered in May 2021:

  • Planning Analytics Workspace Update
  • Discussion on How to Leverage Planning Analytics Workspace
  • Using TM1Connect (TM1Connect) to Leverage PA in Non-Cognos BI Solutions
  • Client Networking Session
  • Planning Analytics Technical Q&A
  • What’s New in Cognos Analytics 11.2
  • Cognos Analytics vs. Power BI Open Conversation
  • Cognos Analytics Technical Q&A

Lodestar solutions is a reseller of TM1Connect and our clients are having great success using it.  Reach out to us at to set up a demo and see if TM1 Connect is right for you.

August 2021

Our most recent virtual user group we decided to break up Cognos Analytics and Planning Analytics into two different days. 

Day 1 was focused on Cognos Analytics and covered:

  • Piloting Solutions Successfully with Cognos Analytics
  • The New Cognos Analytics Mobile Demo
  • Cognos Mobile Technical Session
  • IBM Public Hybrid Cloud
  • Managing the Demands of End Users while Looking Like a Rockstar
  • Partnering with Finance for Greater Success
  • How to get a Raise or Promotion as a BI Expert

Day 2 was focused on Planning Analytics and covered:

  • Bursting Planning Analytics Reports using ReportWORQ ReportWORQ - Enterprise Report Distribution | QueBIT
  • Managing the Demands of End Users while Looking like a Rockstar
  • Scorecards and Metrics in Planning Analytics
  • IBM Public Hybrid Cloud
  • Planning Analytics Technical Update
  • Partnering with your BI or DW team
  • How to Get a Raise or Promotion as a Planning Expert

Did you know that Lodestar Solutions is a reseller of QueBIT products including ReportWORQ.  Contact us today at to discuss and demo this great product.

Virtual User Group - Summary and Next Steps

As you can read, Lodestar Solutions has covered a ton of information in our first four user groups.  Our next user group will be sometime in November.  If you are a Lodestar client and you do not have access to the virtual site, please reach out to us at  We can get you set up easily and you will have access to everything above and any future events.  If you are not a Lodestar client reach out to us and chat with us about your licenses, renewals or service needs.

Five Tips to Hosting a Virtual IBM Cognos & TM1 User Group

5 Tips to Host a Virtual User Group
5 Tips to Host a Virtual User Group
November 12th, 2020

The world has changed, and it is never going back!  A year ago we were able to attend the IBM Analytics event in Miami, listen to live Cognos Analytics and Cognos Planning Analytics/TM1 user success stories and network with other IBM Cognos users over a beer.  Not anymore, at least not for a while.  But Lodestar Solutions has decided to pivot.  We learned five tips to hosting a virtual IBM Cognos and TM1 User Group, and we have no intention to return to in person user groups!

Why Virtual Cognos User Groups are Better Than in Person

On November 11, 2020 we hosted a new format for our Lodestar Solutions, Virtual IBM Cognos and TM1 User Group and it was fabulous!  Our clients and team members loved it so much, we are not going back to in person group for three reasons: time, geography and flexibility.

Saving Time with a Cognos User Group

We value our Cognos Analytics and Planning Analytics TM1 Administrators’ time.  In the past we would host events in a main city like Chicago and attendees would have to travel an hour to get to the site and an hour home.  We would do our best to make the session of interest but sometimes, there were sessions that only applied to a subset of the population. 

With the virtual event we were able to tell the attendees the topics, why they should care or how it impacts them.  If the topic did not apply to them, they were able to do other things and return for the next session. 

Cognos User Group Geography

Our clients are all over the US and some internationally.  In the past we could not serve all our clients, so we focused our user groups on locations with a large cluster of clients.  We can now serve our IBM Cognos users even in the most geographically remote locations.

Cognos User Group Flexibility 

Most IBM Cognos BI or TM1 Administrators are very busy and often manage multiple systems, not just IBM.  It is not uncommon for them to get the emergency email or text and they must drop everything.  Lodestar Solutions understands our client’s needs, and so we prerecorded our session and let everyone know if they had to drop off, they could come back and watch the part they missed.  Cognos Administrators loved this feature and we discovered that they would leave, address the issue and return.  I believe that if we had not let them know they could watch what they missed; they probably would not have returned for the Q&A sessions.  

Virtual User Group

Five Tips to Hosting a Successful Virtual IBM Cognos & TM1 User Group

We appreciate that there have been local Cognos BI and TM1 user groups all over the world.  Lodestar Solutions also understands that many IBM Analytics User Groups have been forced to suspend their meetings and look for another way.  So, we thought we would share what we did and how to host a successful Virtual IBM Cognos and TM1 User group.

1. Cognos Content in Small Bites

The first thing is to plan your content in small bite size chunks, no more than 30-45 minutes per session. Once you have a list of your topics and speakers you will want to organize your agenda in a logical order.  For our Lodestar User Group, we hosted all the Planning Analytics/ TM1 sessions first, followed by TM1 Technical.  Then we moved into BI Technical, followed by other Cognos Analytics sessions.  This allowed people to join when the content applied to them.

2. Prerecord the Sessions

We prerecorded the sessions and hosted them on our training site, which is Kajabi.  You could put them on YouTube as well.  The reason we prerecorded is we wanted to ensure there were no technical issues with a presenter’s internet.  We were also able to edit the videos before posting.  We use Camtasia for editing.  You can get a free trial at here.

3. Zoom for Introductions and Q&A

We used Zoom for our user group.  All attendees joined by Zoom, then we guided them to our training portal where our sessions where prerecorded.  By zooming we were able to go on camera to create connections during our introductions and were able to answer questions as they came up about connecting to the sessions.  After each session they returned to Zoom for a live question and answer session with the presenter. 

4. Networking Session with Breakout Rooms

To further connections with our community we scheduled networking sessions after each topic area like Planning Analytics.  Through Zoom we divided all the attendees into breakout rooms and gave them a series of short questions to discuss with the group.  This allowed Cognos power users to connect with other power users they may never have met.  We also assigned a moderator to each room to ensure everyone had a chance to speak.  Our Cognos clients loved the breakout rooms and said they wish they had more of them.  Not sure how to use breakout rooms? Check out this blog

5. User Success Story Sessions

To add more value, we wanted to have a couple clients share their success stories.  But we know our clients do not have a lot of time to prepare a slide deck and presentation, so we made it easy.  We sent our Client Presenters a list of interview questions.  We then scheduled a time to record a zoom session where we asked the questions.  It was in an interview format.  The attendees loved hearing the stories and seeing the interaction.  The feedback was it was a lot better than a boring power point.  We were able to edit the interviews to get them down to the time allotted and upload them as a session on our portal. 

For More Information

So, are you looking to join a Cognos Analytics BI or Cognos Planning Analytics User Group?

For more information on the Lodestar Solutions Client User group, email us at  Another good resource for finding user groups is on the IBM Community site.  Another option to check out for Cognos groups is

If you are looking to organize an IBM User Group, we recommend you follow our Five Tips to Hosting a Virtual IBM Cognos and TM1 User Group so you can ensure success for your event. 

To learn more of our tips and tricks be sure to check out all our blogs on our website, or sign up for our Lodestar Solutions Knowledge Center

2020 IBM THINK Available Virtually, for FREE!

April 14th, 2020

SAVE THE DATE MAY 5-6, 2020 

Most of you are sitting at home diligently working!  What if you could join a conference virtually and learn all about the latest in IBM AI, Cognos Analytics (BI ) and Planning Analytics!  Well great news!  2020 IBM THINK is available virtually, for FREE!

Did you wish you could have gone to Think 2020 but didn't have the budget to travel to San Francisco?  No worries, IBM is bringing THINK 2020 to you.  And you can even attend in your sweats from the safety of your home. 

IBM is offering their IBM THINK Conference virtually, for FREE! This is an opportunity you do not want to miss out on.

What is THINK 2020?

Per IBM, Think is IBM’spremier client and developer conference, and PartnerWorld for our Business Partners.” IBM brings together the best of the best to share industry insights. Typically this conference is held in person at a conference center and can cost a nice chunk of money for your team to attend. However, due to the COVID-19 crisis we all can attend virtually for free! Check out this letter from IBM’s Senior Vice President, Digital Sales & Chief Marketing Officer, Michelle Peluso.

THINK 2020: Update

Why Should You Attend?

There is no better time to step up your skills and knowledge of  AI and data analytics.  Your companies are leveraging data more than ever in these unprecedented times. They are creating COVID forecasts, modeling the economic impact, and unfortunately planning layoffs.  We believe strongly that the most valuable resources are those dedicating time to find creative ways to help their organization survive and thrive in the future. 

If you are reading this, we know you are someone that works hard to be knowledgeable. You love to learn and want to increase the value you add to your organization.  Therefore you MUST register for THINK 2020. Below is a list of a few Lodestar and IBM reasons to attend THINK 2020.

  • It’s FREE!
  • You can participate from the comfort of your home
  • Get live guidance from experts
  • Learn more about AI
  • Deep dive sessions available
  • Learn how to make better planning models like a COVID Forecast
  • Acquire powerful knowledge to help your organization leverage data more effectively

How Do I Register?

Registering is easy. Click here now to get signed up. You can choose the classes you want and even filter them by industry to see the courses offered specific to your interests. Take this time you have now at home to learn, and do it for free!

Below are some courses that Lodestar Solutions' own Operations Manager and Business Analytics Coach, Mike Bernaiche chose for his top picks!

THINK Top Picks

Lodestar Solutions is Here for You

If you need help navigating these times for your business we are here for you. Every day we are learning new ways to help our clients remain successful even in the midst of chaos. Reach out today at

Check out our most recent blog on utilizing IBM Global Financing  help achieve your goals!