Unlocking the Full Potential of IBM Subscription and Support for Cognos and Planning Analytics: X, Y, and Z Parts Explained

IBM Support has recently introduced exciting changes to their extended support offerings for IBM Cognos and Planning Analytics
IBM Support has recently introduced exciting changes to their extended support offerings for IBM Cognos and Planning Analytics
Written by Christina Vandeveer, July 26th, 2023

IBM Support has recently introduced exciting changes to their extended support offerings for IBM Cognos and Planning Analytics, going above and beyond the usual IBM Subscription and Support (S&S) renewal. In this blog, we will explore the three main IBM Subscription and Support Updates (X, Y, and Z Parts) and how they can benefit your business. Before delving into the updates, let's first understand the importance of your standard IBM Cognos and Planning Analytics S&S and what it includes.

The Value of IBM Standard Subscription and Support (S&S):

Before exploring the updates, let's take a closer look at what your IBM S&S entails. This comprehensive chart will outline the details of what you're paying for, ensuring you understand its significance.

IBM Base Subscription and Support

IBM Extended Support (X Parts):

IBM's Extended Support has been revamped to offer clients support after the standard support period ends for their program version or release. The updated X Parts include:

  • Standardized support life cycle with four years of support after the EOS date.
  • Access to usage and existing published fixes.
  • First-year coverage for new critical fixes.
  • Additional time for clients to migrate to a newer supported version of the product.

IBM Sustained Support (Y Parts):

The all-new Sustained Support Offering provides clients with continued support when no new versions or releases are available for a program. Key features of Y Parts include:

  • Standardized support life cycle with up to 5 years of post-EOS support for End of Market products.
  • Access to usage and existing published fixes.
  • Possibility of new critical fixes with the acquisition of Extended Support.

IBM Advanced Support (Z Parts):

Introducing the premium support model, Advanced Support, which enhances your active IBM support subscription with the following perks:

  • Higher case prioritization for critical issues.
  • Faster response time objectives.
  • Lead Technical Support Focal for personalized assistance.

For busy professionals with deadlines and CFOs to answer to, waiting for support is not an option. IBM's Advanced Support is designed to help you manage your critical workload efficiently, available for both SaaS and On-premise licensing.

Find out more about IBM's Advanced Support Offering


The new IBM Subscription and Support Upgrades (X, Y, and Z Parts) offer a host of benefits for Cognos and Planning Analytics clients, to help you make the most of your IBM products. At Lodestar, we're here to guide you through these options and find the best fit for your business. When the time comes to renew or upgrade your Cognos and Planning Analytics licenses, don't fret; we've got you covered. Contact us at renewals@lodestarsolutions.com, and we'll explore the perfect solution for your needs.

Don’t Fail an IBM Audit Because ILMT Quarterly Upgrades are Now Required.

Don't Fail an IBM Audit, IBM quarterly upgrades now required
Don't Fail an IBM Audit, IBM quarterly upgrades now required
Written by Mike Bernaiche, April 5th, 2023

Attention IBM Cognos and IBM Planning Analytics clients!  You may have missed the recent announcement from IBM that could have serious implications for your sub-capacity licensing if you have PVU (Processor Value Unit Licensing). (IBM Announcement)  Manual updates of the software catalogue in ILMT are no longer supported, and this change could lead to significant consequences for those who fail to comply.  Don’t fail an IBM audit because your ILMT catalog is out of date.  ILMT Quarterly Upgrades are Now Required if you have PVU licensing.

IBM - ILMT Background

For those unfamiliar with the IBM Planning Analytics and Cognos sub-capacity licensing, it allows you to license only some of the processors in a server for a particular product when you have PVU licensing. However, to ensure compliance, there are certain rules that must be followed, including running a monitoring tool called ILMT and keeping the software catalogue up to date.  Previously, most organizations upgraded their version of ILMT every 12-18 months and manually updated their software catalogue and PVU tables every three months to stay license compliant.

IBM References:

Manual Upload to ILMT of Catalog Required

However, with the release of ILMT update, the ability to manually upload the software catalogue to the License Metric Tool was removed.  Not sure this is an upgrade, more of a downgrade maybe.  Now, you are required to do a full upgrade to the latest release of the IBM Licensing Metric Tool every quarter to ensure your software catalogue is correct.

Full ILMT Upgrade Every Quarter

The implications for clients are significant.  To remain compliant, you will need to do a full upgrade of ILMT every quarter, which is significantly more complex than the previous task of manually updating the software catalogue.  Additional tasks will include opening a change request for a production system, database backup, system administrator to carry out the upgrade, and testing to ensure the upgrade was successful.  Moreover, additional skills and time will be required, especially if you are upgrading from older versions of ILMT that require incremental upgrades to get to the latest version.

Updating the IBM Licensing Metric Tool every quarter will ensure your ILMT accurately reports license consumption, but it will be more work for the ILMT administrator and SAM team.  The first time you upgrade will require a project to do the upgrade and develop a set of standardized written procedures for completing the quarterly upgrade and training resources to be ready to do the upgrade every three months.

ILMT Upgrade Support

At Lodestar Solutions, we understand that these changes can be overwhelming and time-consuming.  As a Gold IBM Partner, we have your back and can help you navigate these changes with ease.  Don't let compliance issues cause you to fail an IBM audit or pay hefty fines.  Contact us today to discuss how we can help with your ILMT upgrade.  Email us at Services@lodestarsolutions.com.

ILMT Upgrade Failure Can Have a Major Impact

Recently we had a client contact us that has always had their internal tech teams handle their upgrades.  They had received the IBM love letter announcing they were being audited.  The auditors told them they had failed the IBM audit.  Apparently with their last upgrade they connected the ILMT to their Cognos and Planning Analytics deployments that had PVU licensing, however they had not updated the catalog.  Therefore, the ILMT was not really running.  They thought they were following the rules, but they discovered they failed the IBM audit just because the catalog was not updated, resulting in a compliance cost of $400,000.  Don't let this happen to you.

Luckily the client called Lodestar Solutions, and we were able to help them negotiate with IBM, so they were able to pay the $400,000 but instead of buying software they really didn’t need, they were able to purchase the Analytics Content Hub which was software they already wanted.  Without Lodestar’s engagement they would not have known it was possible to negotiate a settlement that turned the lemons into lemonade.   

Lodestar Solutions Can Help

In conclusion, manual updates of the software catalogue in ILMT are no longer supported, and compliance with IBM sub-capacity licensing requirements will now require more effort and attention. Upgrading your ILMT every quarter will ensure you remain compliant, and at Lodestar Solutions, we are here to help.  Contact us today to discuss your options and avoid compliance issues that could result in significant costs down the road.  Services@lodestarsolutions.com.

Why Renewing IBM Cognos and Planning Analytics Support is Crucial for Your Business Success

Why Renewing IBM Cognos and Planning Analytics Support is Crucial for Your Business Success
Why Renewing IBM Cognos and Planning Analytics Support is Crucial for Your Business Success
Written by Heather L. Cole, March 23rd, 2023

IBM Cognos and Planning Analytics are powerful business intelligence and planning software solutions that are widely used by businesses of all sizes around the world.  These tools help organizations make informed decisions by providing deep insights into their data and enabling them to create accurate and actionable plans.  However, maintaining and maximizing the benefits of these solutions requires ongoing support and access to IBM software updates.  In this blog, we will explore the benefits of renewing IBM Cognos and Planning Analytics support and why partnering with a value-adding reselling partner like Lodestar Solutions for your renewal can be a better option than going direct from IBM.

Access to IBM Analytics Software Updates

One of the key benefits of renewing IBM Cognos and Planning Analytics support is access to IBM software updates.  IBM regularly releases new versions and updates to these solutions to address known issues, enhance existing functionality, and introduce new features.  With an active support renewal agreement, you will gain access to these updates, ensuring that you are always running the latest and most secure version of the software.  This will help you stay ahead of the competition and ensure that you are getting the most value from your investment.  See our latest blogs written by one of our Lodestar Consultants on the lates releases of IBM Cognos and Planning Analytics.

Moreover, access to IBM software updates is crucial to maintain the security and stability of these solutions.  Not that long ago the world discovered the vulnerabilities of Log4J.  IBM and most software companies were affected.  See our blog,  911 – Log4j Security Risk Affects IBM Planning Analytics, Cognos.

By having an active support renewal agreement for IBM support, clients were able to apply fixes. 

IBM continuously monitors and identifies security vulnerabilities in its software and releases security patches to mitigate these vulnerabilities.  Without support renewal, clients risk running outdated and potentially vulnerable software that may be at risk of cyberattacks.  See this link for more reasons on why it is important to renew your IBM Support. 

Ability to Log IBM Support Tickets

Another key benefit of renewing IBM Cognos and Planning Analytics support is the ability to log support tickets.  Inevitably, clients will encounter issues or questions while using these solutions, and it is critical to have timely and effective support to resolve these issues.  With an active support renewal, clients can log support tickets and receive help from IBM's support team.  IBM’s support experts have access to a huge database of reported issues which helps you get a faster resolution.   This support can be invaluable, especially if you are facing a critical issue that is impacting your business operations.  

Moreover, logging support tickets can help clients identify and address issues proactively, minimizing downtime and improving the overall reliability and performance of these solutions.  By renewing support, clients can have peace of mind that they have access to timely and effective support whenever they need it.

Partnering with a Value-Adding Reselling Partner like Lodestar Solutions

While renewing IBM Cognos and Planning Analytics support is critical to maintaining and maximizing the benefits of these solutions, clients can further enhance their experience by partnering with a value-adding reselling partner like Lodestar Solutions.

Private User Group

Lodestar Solutions provides all support renewal clients access to Lodestar Solutions’ Private Client only User Groups held quarterly.  These events are virtual through Zoom and allows clients to connect with other users, share best practices and tips, and learn about new features and enhancements.  This is a great opportunity for clients to network with other users and gain valuable insights into how other organizations are using these solutions.  Mike Bernaiche and Heather Cole lead these events and always inspire and energize attendees.  For clients that can’t make the live events, Lodestar offers access to their client only library of user group recordings.

Licensing Reviews

Additionally, Lodestar Solutions provides regular licensing reviews to ensure clients are compliant and in the optimal licensing model.  This is important because non-compliance can lead to legal issues and hefty fines, which can negatively impact the bottom line.  Let’s be honest, IBM Licenses can be confusing!  What the Heck is a PVU anyway?  See our blog, What the Heck is an IBM Cognos PVU?  But don’t let the licensing frustrate you.  Lodestar’s team has been decoding IBM Analytic licensing for decades and can hep you understand what you own.

Lodestar also evaluates clients’ licenses to see if IBM has released a new licensing model that is more advantageous for the client.  This ensures that clients are only paying for what they need and are not overspending on unnecessary licenses.  

In the event a client receives an audit letter from IBM, Lodestar Solutions will answer any questions and help ensure you are ready for the audit.

Client Discounts on Technical Upgrades

Furthermore, Lodestar Solutions offers a discount on technical upgrade consulting.  This can be particularly helpful when clients need to upgrade to the latest version of these solutions but may not have the internal expertise or available resources to do so. 

Lodestar Solutions offers clients upgrade bundles to help clients ensure they are on the latest release.  For more information see our earlier blog Solving the IBM Cognos Upgrade Challenge, or email Services@lodestarsolutions.com to schedule a discussion of your unique situation.

Renewing Your IBM Cognos and Planning Analytics Support with Lodestar Solutions

By partnering with Lodestar Solutions, clients can save money, while ensuring a smooth and successful upgrade.  Lodestar Solutions’ clients know they are not alone and that someone has their back.  Lodestar Solutions has a team of experienced and certified consultants who can provide ongoing support and help clients address any issues or questions they may have.  By partnering with Lodestar Solutions, clients can focus on their core business while relying on an experienced partner to help them get the most out of their IBM Cognos and Planning Analytics solutions.

In Conclusion

Renewing IBM Cognos and Planning Analytics support is critical to maintaining and maximizing the benefits of these solutions.  With an active support renewal, clients can access IBM software updates and log support tickets, ensuring they have access to the latest features and timely support.  But by partnering with a value-adding reselling partner like Lodestar Solutions, you can take your analytics to an entirely new level.  So, let’s chat about your support renewal!  Email us at Renewals@lodestarsolutions.com and set up a complimentary call about your support needs.

Flexpoints and Cognos What You Need to Know!

Flexpoints and Cognos What You Need to Know
Flexpoints and Cognos What You Need to Know
Written by Heather L. Cole, August 25th, 2022

Are you an IBM Cognos, IBM Planning Analytics or SPSS client and purchased your IBM licensing as flexpoints?  If so, you must know there are changes to the flexpoint program!

What is an IBM Flexpoint?

Years ago, IBM introduced a new consumption model, called Flexpoints.  With Flexpoints, products within the platform are valued at a number of Flexpoints.  You could purchase packs of 1,000 Flexpoints to use across the products in the IBM Analytics portfolio according to your needs.  Because clients’ needs change over time, Flexpoints enable a flexible consumption model for Cognos, Planning Analytics and SPSS.  This allowed clients to deploy Flexpoints on specific products like Cognos initially, and then later change their user mix to leverage their points on other products like Planning Analytics/TM1.   (IBM Reference) 

The Challenge with Flexpoints

The challenge with flexpoints was that it was up to the client to ensure they were in compliance and that they weren’t accidently changing their user mix to use more flexpoints than they had licensing rights to.  Since flexpoints were sold in bundles of 1,000, but each different license type had a different value, this could leave clients either not utilizing all their flexpoints or going over their IBM licensing. 

Here’s an example of some of the Cognos Flexpoint values for your reference.


So, if you had 2 Admins, and 100 users, you would need 203,720 flexpoints. 

Our Thoughts

Candidly at Lodestar Solutions we were never a fan of IBM Flexpoints as we believed it opened the client up to potentially failing an audit.  The clients were rarely familiar with the number of points each license cost.

Recently, Lodestar discovered IBM is trying to move people off Flexpoints for Cognos. 

Update on Flexpoints

Last month an IBM Cognos client reached out to Lodestar Solutions to discuss having us help them with the upgrade of their Cognos system to the latest version.  As we do with all upgrades, we investigated their current IBM licensing so that we did not inadvertently upgrade them and put them out of compliance with IBM.  Also, to see if there was a more optimal IBM licensing option that could save them money.

When we pulled the Cognos client entitlements, we were surprised to see they owned flexpoints.  This caused us to investigate the current IBM licensing rules and point values for each Cognos license type the client was using.

Candidly, if was difficult to find someone in IBM that knew about flexpoints for Cognos.  But when we got to the Cognos Flexpoint expert, we were informed the client did not have access to download the current version of Cognos. 

What?  This meant the client was paying for support and would not be able to get on the latest version.  I almost fell off my chair. 

We were informed that the client would need to modify their IBM licensing to the regular on-premise licensing at time of renewal and then they would have access to the latest version.   Our challenge was that the client had just renewed their support with another what we call, “paper pushing” partner.   These are partners that just process renewals, they don’t discuss changing in IBM licensing, or new functionality with their clients.   

FYI, Lodestar has never been and never will be a paper pushing partner!  Every year at minimum we discuss changes in the software, and licensing with each client.  If you would like us to do this for you, email Renewals@lodestarsolutions.com.

The Flexpoint Resolution

Clearly, we had an issue!  The client did not want to wait a full year to upgrade their Cognos system, and there was no way to undue the other partner’s mistake.  So, IBM to the rescue!  The IBM Flexpoint expert was fabulous to work with.  They proposed that IBM provide the client a Cognos Admin term license for one year at the cost of $.01.  This would allow them to download the latest version and get upgraded.

At Support Renewal Time

Next year when the client is up for renewal, Lodestar Solutions, will help move them off the outdated flexpoint licensing to the licensing mix that is optimal for their needs. 

Lessons to be Learned:

  1.  If you are on Flexpoints with IBM Cognos Analytics, IBM Planning Analytics or SPSS licensing, you are at risk of not getting the latest software.  So, contact Lodestar Solutions and we will help you sort out your licensing.  Email Renewals@lodestarsolutions.com.
  2. If you use a Paper Pushing Partner for Renewals, you might run into issues!  Boutique partners, that specialize in licensing knowledge, like Lodestar Solution can save you money and reduce your risk of failing an audit.  Lodestar Solutions is here to help.  Email Renewals@lodestarsolutions.com.

Year-End Values on IBM Analytics Licenses (Cognos, Planning Analytics)

Year-End IBM Analytics Licenses Deals
Written by Heather L. Cole on December 1st, 2021

Are you an IBM Analytics client that might need more licensing?  Well, it’s that time of year when software companies like IBM are scrambling to make or break their sales numbers.  What does that mean for you?  Year-End Values on IBM Analytics Licenses.

But like any good year-end sales promotion, you need to know where to shop and when to shop to get the best value!  So, Lodestar Solutions is going to gift you the knowledge of how to get the best value on your IBM Cognos or IBM Planning Analytics software.   

Year-End IBM Analytics Licenses Deals

Why Buy IBM Analytics Licenses for your Team?

 Before we share the secrets to when and where to buy your IBM Analytics licenses let’s talk about why you should buy them now.  Your organization has committed to becoming more analytically astute, haven’t they?  We want to empower people in all departments to leverage data wisely and efficiently.  But to do this they need the right tools! 

Stop Using Outdated Analytic Tools

Stop Using the Wrong Tools for Analytics

Too many organizations are still relying on outdated tools to handle their analytics, scenario modeling and budgeting.  Don’t get me wrong I love Excel, but if you want to get massive results and identify opportunities quickly, you need a more robust solution.  As I tell our clients, using Excel for scenario modeling is like mowing your yard with a weed whacker.

Talent will Quit if They Don’t Have the Right Tools for Their Job

But here’s the bigger concern!  The Great Resignation is real! (See our previous blog on Finances and The Great Resignation.) If you give your team subpar tools to accomplish their jobs, make them work long hours when updated tools like IBM Planning Analytics could cut their work time in half, they will quit.  That’s right, talented team members are no longer accepting work environments that don’t provide the right tools to efficiently do their jobs.

When to Buy IBM Planning Analytics and Cognos Licenses 

I mentioned earlier that there are Year-End Values on IBM Analytics Licenses.  The reason is that IBM is a publicly traded company that must report earnings to Wall Street.  So, like almost every software company that has a fiscal year end of December they give special deals at the end of the year.  Additionally, for some clients they have a use it or lose it budget rule, so if you have extra funds you want to use them.  Finally, we anticipate that the cost of software for next year will be higher.  Isn’t everything more expensive?  Therefore, December is a fabulous month to buy software. 

However, don’t wait too long!  For IBM to approve a great discount, it must go through a few layers of approval and that takes time.  Additionally, December is a vacation and time off month for everyone.  So, if you wait too long to get the quote, your own purchasing people might not be around to issue the PO.

So, I recommend you identify the licensing you will need in early December and request a quote.  When you get the official quote, don’t waste time, generate the PO so you don’t get caught under a sea of out of office messages.

Where to Buy IBM Planning Analytics and Cognos Licenses 

IBM Partners Can Add More Value

IBM sells their licensing directly or through 3rd party software resellers like Lodestar Solutions.  Your natural instinct might be to go directly to IBM, thinking you will save money.  But this is not the case!  IBM authorized resellers can offer you the exact same price as IBM, but sometimes they throw in some extra services or goodies.  For example, clients that purchase licenses and renewals from Lodestar Solutions are invited to our private user group that is just for our clients where we share inside secrets on the technology and network with peers.  Additionally, we offer complimentary license reviews and quarterly client check in calls.

More importantly, Lodestar Solutions, focuses on putting you in the optimal licensing mix for your current and future needs.  This sometimes means changing your licensing model which can be a complex process that we specialize in. 

Take Action!

You know it’s the best time to buy IBM Analytics licenses!  You know where to buy them, Lodestar Solutions.  So, the next step to realize year-end values on IBM Analytics Licenses is to contact us at Sales@lodestarsolutions.com or 813-415-2910 and let’s explore how you can give the gift of IBM Cognos Analytics to your team this year.

How to Negotiate the Best deal on IBM Analytics Licensing

How to Negotiate the best deal on IBM Analytics Licensing
How to Negotiate the best deal on IBM Analytics Licensing
Written by Heather L. Cole, September 9th 2021

Can you believe it’s September already?  A season of change with kids returning to school, fall colors arriving and time to get ready for the winter!  But do you know what else happens soon?  END OF QUARTER for IBM!  Yes, October 31st is the end of IBM’s quarter which also means, a fabulous time to purchase IBM Analytics licensing!  But I also think it’s time for a little refresher course on How to Negotiate the Best deal on IBM Analytics Licensing.

As many people acknowledge the best software negotiators are prepared!  Top software negotiators recognize that understanding the licensing options, timing and the hidden motivations and needs of the other side are all integral in getting the best price and building a fabulous relationship with your vendor.  So today Lodestar Solutions will share insights in to all these areas so you can become a better negotiator and get the best deal on IBM Analytics Licensing.

1. The End of Quarter is the best time to buy IBM Analytics Licensing

IBM is a publicly traded company and therefore they must provide quarterly earnings reports.  Why is this important?  Because when numbers are reported quarterly, software companies like IBM become very anxious to get deals done at the end of the quarter.  The result of the need for good quarterly numbers is that IBM and other software companies have created an environment where they will provide bigger discounts at the end of the quarter, so that they hit their numbers and smart buyers know this.

Frank DeSalvo of Gartner stated in a blog,  Quarter's End Bedevils Software Business“By delaying a contract signing until the end of a vendor's quarter, customers hope to get discounts as software companies scramble to book enough sales to meet their quarterly goals.  Companies can get 5 percent to 10 percent discounts on software at the end of a quarter from sales representatives eager or desperate to hit their quotas for the year.”

2. Be Careful Waiting Too Long

Timing is everything but you must be careful.  If you wait too long to ask for a quote and want to negotiate too close to the end of the quarter, you may run out of runway.  IBM Analytics sales team members need time to plead your case to help get you the best deal.  This can take time because the best deals require more levels of approval.  If you are just adding on a small number of IBM Analytics licenses to your existing licensing mix, the deal size may not be significant in IBM’s eyes.  So, I recommend you start talking to Lodestar Solutions, or IBM sales rep in mid-September to start the process.

3. Are you In the Optimized Licensing Mix?

The first question to answer is what quantity and type of IBM Analytics licenses you need?  On the surface this seems like an easy question, but the best software negotiators do their homework.  They research if the software vendor has updated their licensing models and offer new bundles of software.  Over the years IBM Analytics licensing options have changed many times.  So, if you originally purchased IBM Analytic software 10 year ago, there might be a better licensing mix.  Or maybe you want to explore a cloud option.  To start learning about various options check out our blogs.  

What the Heck Do I Own?

Lodestar Solutions provides a free licensing mix consultation to organizations looking to evaluate their IBM Analytics Licensing.  We call our program, “What the Heck Do I Own?”  It only takes about 90 minutes, and we will explain what you own, discuss new functionality you own, and make recommendations if you would benefit from moving to a different licensing model.  We will also inform you if we see anything that could be a red flag for IBM auditors.  We share some of the information in our blog: What to know before IBM Audits Your IBM Cognos Analytics and Planning Analytics Licenses

For details on a complimentary, What the Heck Do I Own? session email Sales@lodestarsolutions.com.

What the Heck Do I Own - IBM Analytics Licensing

4. Become and IBM Advocate for Greater Savings

Here’s a little secret… IBM and other software companies are always looking for great references and clients willing to be advocates for IBM Analytics.  IBM advocates are people that will provide their customer story, speak at events, take peer-to-peer calls, be a reference in proposals and participate in discussion with analysts like Gartner.  Being an advocate can help you secure even greater savings on IBM Analytic purchases.  At Lodestar Solutions, when we ask for a special discount for our clients, we always include information on how they are IBM advocates to help them maximize their savings.

Want to learn how you can become an IBM Advocate?  Email Services@lodestarsolutions.com and watch our YouTube video on Testimonials

5. Showing Growth and Competition

The final point you want to communicate to negotiate the best deal is to show that your organization will grow their footprint of IBM products.  IBM loves clients expanding their use of Cognos Analytics, Planning Analytics, SPSS…  By buying licenses every 6 months or annually you can show growth.  But you also could benefit for communicating that you evaluated the competition.  Today most companies have 2-3 business intelligence tools.  So, if you can say something like, “our marketing team uses Power BI which we evaluated but determined that the latest version of Cognos Analytics provides the full breath of reporting the organization requires.”  This can also help secure discounts.  When you combine that IBM Analytics beat the competition with becoming an IBM Advocate it’s like a one two punch.

Time to Take Action

You now have some of the secrets on How to Negotiate the Best deal on IBM Analytics Licensing.  But for you overachievers you might want to check out my Negotiation video where I share the negotiation tips I share with top CFO’s, Heatherized Negotiation Skills.  Now, it is time to act.  Knowledge doesn’t create results, ACTION does.  So, take one simple step, and email us today to set up your complimentary consultation on your licensing.  Sales@lodestarsolutions.com

Four More Things Every Cognos Client Needs to Know About an IBM Audit (Part 2)

Four More Things Every Cognos Client Needs to Know About IBM Audits
Four More Things Every Cognos Client Needs to Know About IBM Audits
March 26th, 2021

If you use IBM Cognos or Planning Analytics you are subject to an IBM audit. You might not have realized when you purchased your Cognos you agreed to the terms of the IBM International Program Licensing Agreement.

You were agreeing to allow IBM to Audit your Cognos and Planning Analytics software usage.  Last week we shared Six Things Every Cognos and Planning Analytics Client Needs to Know About IBM Audits.  This week here are four more things every Cognos and Planning Analytics client needs to know about an IBM audit.

1. IBM requires many Cognos and Planning Analytics clients to order and install a tool to monitor core processing usage (ILMT Tool).

If you have Cognos Analytics or Planning Analytics in a virtualized environment and your licensing includes Processor Value Unit licensing (PVU) you will be required to install the IBM License Metric Tool (ILMT).

Over the years IBM changed their agreement and introduced the requirement to install their IBM License Metric Tool (ILMT).  This happened when more clients moved to virtualized environments.  And if you think about it, it makes sense.  In a virtualized environment it is easy to allocate more cores to your environment to increase performance.  Since the PVU licensing is by core, IBM needed a way to monitor the core usage to ensure people who had PVU licensing were not exceeding their licensing.

See our earlier blog ILMT Tool Questions and Answers for more details on the ILMT.

What’s the Penalty?

If you have virtualized your Cognos environment and are only using a fraction of the cores for your Cognos or Planning Analytics solutions, then you fall under IBM’s sub capacity rules.  The IBM contract language states that if you do not install the ILMT then IBM reserves the right to charge you the full capacity of your environment.  That can be HUGE!

Lodestar Solutions has seen well intending IT professionals increase the cores used for Cognos and Planning Analytics only to cause the organization to fail an IBM audit.

Candidly IBM did not do a good job of informing Cognos and Planning Analytic clients of this new requirement, but it the client’s responsibility to ensure they do not accidentally become out of compliance.  Ignorance of the rules is not a defense.

How Do I Know If I Have the ILMT Installed?

First look at your Proof of Entitlements and see if you have the ILMT listed as a part you own.  If it’s not on your entitlements, you would not be able to download it.  If it is listed, then check with your IT team to see if it was actually installed and if they are downloading the reports at least every 90 days.

Lack of having the ILMT tool installed is a primary cause of audit failure.

2. Upgrading Your Cognos or Planning Analytics environment could affect your Cognos licensing needs.

When you upgrade your Cognos or Planning Analytics environment it is recommended to put the new environment on new hardware.  This could result in the PVU rating of your machines to increase from a 70 rated machine to a 100 PVU rated machine.  (To see the latest machine ratings from IBM check out Processor Value Units)

If this happens you will need more PVU licensing to have the same number of cores assigned to our Cognos system. 

Additionally, clients moving from older TM1 or BI versions to the latest may find that they need additional cores assigned to the new Cognos environment.  Remember if you are on the PVU licensing and you allocate more core processing power, you will need to buy additional IBM Cognos licensing.

Lodestar Solutions fully appreciates how confusing the PVU licensing can be.  Here is an earlier blog on What the Heck is an IBM Cognos PVU?  Just know you don’t have to figure this out alone. Lodestar is here to help.

Email Services@lodestarsolutions.com and we would be happy to share our PVU calculation tool so that you can ensure you are not overusing and subject to failing an IBM audit.

3. Many clients are in an outdated licensing model which may result in paying more than you should for IBM support.

Over the years IBM Cognos and Planning Analytics licensing has changed many times.  Some clients purchased their licensing many years ago but have not updated their licensing.  As a result, they could be paying more than they should for their Cognos or Planning Analytics system. 

Cognos Express Licensing

Lodestar Solutions has helped many clients that have smaller deployments under 100 users move into the Cognos Express and Planning Analytics Express licensing model which is designed for mid-market clients and smaller deployments. The Express licensing is the same software just a different licensing.

Moving Cognos Analytics clients from Authorized Users to Processor Value Unit Licensing

For other Cognos Analytics clients who had a lot of casual Cognos users and owned authorized user licensing, Lodestar moved them to a PVU licensing.  The PVU licensing model for these clients saved the Cognos client significant support dollars and allowed them to add more users at no additional cost.  Typically, this is an option to be explored when a Cognos Analytics client has over 500 Cognos authorized users. 

Moving Planning Analytics clients from server plus user licensing to PA Advanced

The majority of IBM Planning Analytic clients are on a server plus user licensing model.  This model does require PVU licensing for production and non-production along with individual user licenses.  A few years back, IBM introduced a new license called the Planning Analytics Advanced licensing that has two flavors; PVU based, or Users based.  This is a fabulous and more simplified licensing that Lodestar recommends all Planning Analytic clients evaluate.  The best time to migrate your licenses is at renewal time.

If you want to discover what your licensing option are, Lodestar Solutions is here to help.  Email us at Renewals@lodestarsolutions.com to set up a free Cognos licensing consultation.

4. Cognos clients cannot maintain support on a portion of the authorized users installed and in service.  It is all or nothing.

Cognos and Planning Analytics clients that want to decrease their user counts can do so, but there may be a hidden penalty.  If you are currently paying below IBM list price for your Cognos or Planning Analytics support, and you want to decrease your user counts, you may see a greater uplift on the ones you keep.  This is because you are no longer qualifying for the same IBM volume discount.

The second thing to know is that if you decrease the number of users you are paying to support, you MUST delete the unsupported users from your system.  You are not allowed to pay for support on a portion of your licenses and keep using all your original licenses. 

For example:  If you owned 2 Cognos Administrators and 100 Cognos Analytic users but at renewal time you wanted only to renew 1 Cognos Admin and 50 users, you must remove the 1 admin and 50 users you discontinued support on.

It’s important to know that if you have on-premise, perpetual licensing, it is an asset.  And you have a legal right to use your Cognos licenses indefinitely without support.  Although Lodestar does not advise that.  However, IBM does not allow you to try to cheat the system and pay support only on a fraction of your licenses and use all the licenses originally purchased.

Lodestar’s recommendation is to always keep your Cognos and Planning Analytics users under IBM’s support and maintenance program.  This ensures that if 3rd party software sends an update that breaks connections to your Cognos, you will be able to get the fix pack.


We realized our list of ten things every Cognos client needs to know about IBM audits may have just created more questions.  Oh, if you missed the first 6 things you need to know about an IBM Audit, click here to see our earlier blog.  

Lodestar Solutions is here to help you answer all your IBM Cognos and Planning Analytic licensing and IBM support questions.  But you should also check out our recent webinar on How to Avoid Failing an IBM Analytics Audit.  This is now available on our Lodestar Solutions YouTube channel.  You might want to subscribe to our Lodestar Solutions YouTube Channel   while you are there.

Call Lodestar

For your complimentary What the Heck Do I Own Cognos Consultation and to ask questions you may have, reach out to Sales@lodestarsolutions.com or call 813-415-2910. We are here to show you a better way.

Six Things Every Cognos Client Needs to Know About an IBM Audit (Part 1)

Six Things Every Client Needs to Know About IBM Audits
Six Things Every Client Needs to Know About IBM Audits
March 19th, 2021

If you use IBM Cognos or Planning Analytics you are subject to an IBM audit.  You might not have realized when you purchased your Cognos you agreed to the terms of the IBM International Program Licensing Agreement.  You were agreeing to allow IBM to Audit your software usage.  Here are six things every Cognos and Planning Analytics client needs to know about IBM audits.

1. Any Cognos client can get audited, even small deployments.

Just because you have a smaller deployment does not mean IBM will not audit you.  Lodestar Solutions has had Cognos clients with less than 20 users subject to an IBM audit.  IBM hires an outside firm to handle their audits and to the best of our knowledge they appear to be random.

2. IBM does not warn you when you are using too many Cognos licenses.

Neither IBM Cognos nor Planning Analytics have license keys.  Therefore, there is no warning when you set up too many users or when you add core processing power to your Cognos virtualized environment and accidentally exceed the Cognos licensing you own.  It is the responsibility of you as the client to ensure you do not exceed what you own.  Note that SPSS licensing does have keys, so it helps to maintain your users within your Cognos licensing. (See our blog for more information on IBM SPSS Stat Licensing Options SPSS).

3. IBM uses outside firms for Cognos audits, and they do not care that you have been a client for decades.

Many clients have the false belief that since they have been a client for decades that if they were audited IBM would be lenient on them.  This is not true!  IBM uses outside firms to handle their Cognos and Planning Analytics audits and their job is to discover when a client is using more Cognos licensing than they own. 

Think of it this way.  If you went to the farmers market and purchased 3 watermelon, but when you were loading your car you put 6 watermelon in your trunk, would you have stolen 3 watermelon?  Software is the same way.  Whether you intended to exceed your licensing or whether you did it unknowingly, you still are stealing in IBM’s mind.

It’s important to know that typically when clients fail an IBM audit, IBM charges them full list price for software they are using for which they don’t own Cognos or Planning Analytic licenses.  Sometimes, IBM also charges the client back support on the Cognos software licensing that was not owned but used at the time of the audit.  So, no they are not lenient on Cognos clients that have used the software for years.

4. You must purchase licenses for your Cognos and Planning Analytic consultants.

Many clients do not realize that the IBM Cognos licensing requires a license for every user that accesses, or logs into their system.  This includes consultants, even IBM consultants.  If you hire a freelancer or a firm like Lodestar Solutions to help you with your implementation you typically will need an Administrator or Modeler license for your consultant.  For more information on this see Lodestar’s earlier blog, What to know before IBM Audits Your IBM Cognos Analytics and Planning Analytics Licenses.

5. Most non-production environments need to have licenses, they are not free.

A common misperception by Cognos clients is that you only need licensing for your production environment and that the non-production or test environment for Cognos or Planning analytics does not count.  This is NOT true! 

Many clients have licensing that require additional licenses for their non-production environments.  If you own IBM Express or IBM Planning Analytics or Cognos Analytics licensing with PVU licensing, you will most likely need a non-production environment.  The exception to this is the Planning Analytics Advanced PVU licensing.

If you are unsure, reach out to Lodestar at renewals@lodestarsolutions.com and we will answer your specific Cognos Licensing questions. 

6. If you do not pay support, they can still audit you.

If your organization has decided to move in another direction and you did not renew your Cognos support, but you are still using the Cognos or Planning Analytics software while you migrate, do not think that prevents you from being audited.  IBM can still audit you!  They will look at is the quantity and type of licenses that you purchased support on the last time you renewed your support.  They will then audit your licensing and look to see that you are not using more licenses than you last renewed. 

Example:  You once owed 2 Cognos BI Administrators and 100 Cognos Analytic Users.  Your company was bought out and you are moving to Power BI.  So last year you renewed only 2 Cognos administrators and 20 Cognos Analytic Users with the plan to end support on them when you fully migrate all your reports.  IBM sends you an IBM audit letter and during the audit they determine that you still had 50 Cognos Analytic Users and 2 Cognos Administrators in your Cognos system.  You will fail the audit and IBM will send you a bill for the 30 users you did not renew support on.

Keep Your Cognos Licenses Supported

Lodestar’s recommendation is to always keep your users supported with IBM support.  This ensures that if 3rd party software sends an update that breaks connections to your Cognos, you will be able to get the fix pack.  There are several other reasons we recommend renewing your Cognos licenses.  See our blog Consequences of Not Renewing IBM Cognos Support for more information.

IBM Audit Summary

We realize our list of six things every Cognos and Planning Analytics client needs to know about IBM audits may have just created more questions.  In fact, look for our next blog where we share even more information you should know before an IBM audit on your Cognos licensing. 

You are not alone!  Lodestar Solutions is here to help you answer all your licensing and IBM support questions.  We recently hosted a webinar on How to Avoid Failing an IBM Analytics Audit.  Which is now available on our youtube channel and provides a lot more details and client case studies.

Don't Wait!

Don’t wait until you get an IBM audit letter.  Learn what you need to know before you get audited.  Act now.  Contact Lodestar for your complimentary What the Heck Do I Own Cognos Consultation.  During our meeting you can ask the questions you are too afraid to ask IBM. 

Contact us today at Sales@lodestarsolutions.com or call 813-415-2910.  We are here to show you a better way!

When IBM Partners Work Together the Clients Win

Benefits of an IBM Teaming Agreement
Benefits of an IBM Teaming Agreement
January 14th, 2021

IBM Teaming Agreement Program allows IBM Partners to Work Together for the Benefit of the Clients.

Last month I received a distressed email from one of Lodestar Solutions’ longtime IBM Cognos Analytics and Planning Analytics TM1 clients.  They were desperate to find an IBM Guardium expert because they recently had a system issue and when they called IBM support, they were told they would not help until they upgraded IBM Guardium to a currently supported version.  The client knew Lodestar was not experts in Guardium, but they trusted that we had connections with other boutique IBM Partners that were experts in Guardium.  In May 2020 IBM launched a new IBM Teaming Agreement Program that allows IBM Partners to work together for the benefit of the clients.

Why You Might Need an IBM Teaming Agreement

If you are an IBM reselling business partner and you specialize in a specific area, your clients may approach you asking for help with another IBM software product that you do not typically support.  Maybe the client has a question or needs support on IBM Security software licenses like Guardium, but you are not the expert on Guardium and not authorized to sell it.  You have a few options.

1. You can call IBM and have them handle it.

You could turn to IBM to connect them with the client but if you have strong relationships with your clients like we do, the client may say they want to buy it from you.  Additionally, if they were rejected by IBM support, like our client was, for not being on a supported version, they may want to work with someone they know and trust.

2. You can scramble to get your IBM certifications for the new product family.

You can take the steps to get your IBM certifications and add a new product to your IBM Business Partner Agreement.  But this can take a lot of time and may not be in your business growth roadmap.  Here’s more information on IBM certifications. 

3. Sell the licenses to the client at list price.

A while back IBM changed the rules and now allows IBM partners to sell software and support that is not in the category or brand family that they are certified to sell.  The problem with this is the margins are very low and even worse you can’t get a special bid to help save your valuable client money.   At Lodestar Solutions, we pride ourselves on getting the best value for our clients and would rather tell the client to buy from someone else then lose their trust in our commitment to getting them the best price.

4. Enter an IBM Teaming Agreement with another Partner to serve the client. (NEW)

Historically IBM did not allow reselling partners to buy IBM software from another business partner and sell it to their client.  If you did not have the certification for the brand family you are trying to sell, you could not buy it from anyone other than your value-added distributor (VAD).  

But in May 2020 IBM launched the new IBM Teaming Agreement Program that was designed to empower two boutique partners that are specialists in their specific niches to partner together, get the best price for the client and work together to solve the clients’ issues.  This change was huge!  Too bad they forgot to tell anyone it existed!   

What is the IBM Teaming Agreement Program?

Lodestar Solutions recently discovered that IBM now allows partner to work together if they sign an IBM Teaming Agreement.  The agreement consists of two IBM contracts that are signed by the two partners that want to work together.  By signing the agreements and submitting them to IBM, the IBM Business Partner that has the product expertise can sell the software and services to the Business Partner with the client relationship.  Without the teaming agreement in place, I believe it is still a violation of IBM partner channel rules for one partner to sell software to another that is planning to resell to the customer, but I defer to IBM on this. 

Benefits of IBM Teaming Agreement

The IBM Teaming Agreement Program offers several benefits to both partners, the client and IBM. 

The benefits to the clients:

  • The clients get to work with a partner they have a long relationship with and trust.  
  • The partner that will sell them the software is already an established, authorized vendor in their procurement system.
  • The client and the partner may already have a Master Service Agreement in place and any new services can be provided under a new Statement of Work, saving time going through legal review.
  • The client will still get the benefit of any promotion or a special bid offering a discount on the software.
  • The client will have an improved customer buying experience by purchasing multiple IBM Products from one BP.
  • The clients will benefit from the higher service level they get from boutique partners that choose to focus on a specialized area, and therefore higher level of expertise.

The benefits to the partners:

  • The IBM Business Partner with the close relationship with the client is viewed as the trusted advisor that can connect the client with other boutique partners.
  • The two business partners can create a profit-sharing agreement to be rewarded for their efforts.
  • The partners may qualify for all IBM CVR margins available including engaged/solutions as long as one has the correct IBM Certifications.
  • Both IBM Partners benefit from growing their businesses by sharing their clients.

How Does the IBM Teaming Agreement Process Work?

Candidly discovering how the IBM Teaming Agreement process works, was painful for me.  I spent hours talking to several IBMers and Ingram Micro team members, but I believe we finally were able to put all the parts together including CVR, registration, legal documents…  Now that we know the process, we are shocked how easy it is when you have a checklist of the process, which Lodestar created.

Call to Action – Connect with Lodestar Solutions

Now that we discovered the process, Lodestar is looking for other IBM Business Partners to create Teaming agreements.  We have fabulous connections with our clients, and we are happy to introduce boutique partners that are passionate about adding value to clients!  If you are experts in any of the IBM software portfolios we want to connect.  To learn more about us go to our website.

Maybe we will share the details on how the program works in our next blog…  email me at hcole@lodestarsolutions.com to start the conversation.

How to Get the Best Value on Your Cognos, TM1 and SPSS Support Renewals

Support Value
Support Value
August 27th, 2020

We all know the best price is not always the best value when shopping and it is true of IBM Support Renewals as well.   If you are looking to renew your IBM Cognos, Planning Analytics (TM1) or SPSS support you want to make sure you get the best value.  You might be thinking, my support is the same if I buy it from IBM or a partner.  But that is not always true! Today we will share secrets on, “How to get the Best Value on your Cognos, TM1 and SPSS Support Renewals.”

IBM Support Renewals Process

Let’s start by reviewing the IBM support renewals process.  When you purchased your initial licensing for Cognos, Tm1 or SPSS you received one year of support with the purchase.  After that you are provided a quote for support from IBM annually. This support allows you access to patches, upgrades and the ability to contact IBM directly for support.  Here’s a link to IBM information about renewing support.

Keep Current on IBM Support

Lodestar Solutions recommends all clients keep current on their support.  It’s not worth the risk of being unsupported.  (See our blog, Consequences of Not Renewing IBM Cognos Support)  And of course we resell IBM support as do many partners.

Partners Sell Support Cheaper Then IBM

In the past, IBM partners like Lodestar Solutions were often able to sell support renewals to clients cheaper then IBM could sell it.  The way we provided aggressive quotes to clients was by giving up some of our margin, which we called the Lodestar client discount.  But what makes Lodestar unique is that in addition to very competitive quotes, Lodestar provides clients with an annual license check-up where we discuss what you own, what changes IBM has made in the licensing and the software and offer recommendations based on your unique situation.

What the Heck Do I Own - Cognos, TMI, SPSS

Our clients have found Lodestar’s IBM Support Renewal checkups and “What the Heck Do I Own” sessions for Cognos BI, Cognos Planning Analytics (TM1), and SPSS very beneficial.  Every client that renews with Lodestar receives a free customized, “What the Heck do I Own” session where we review your licenses and educate you on functionality you did not even know you had.  We talk about your challenges and how other clients have overcome similar challenges.  This is a very beneficial session. It’s not uncommon for clients to tell us the one-hour session taught them more than a week at an IBM event.   Our reviews have saved our clients huge amounts of money.  (Check out our blog: How an IBM Cognos User Reduced Support Costs by $30,000!)

IBM Changes to Renewals August 2020

Well, in August 2020 IBM changed the partner renewal program and significantly reduced the margins that partners could make. As part of the changes IBM decided they wanted to protect partners that sold the renewal last year, by giving what they call the incumbent partner more margin than other partners.  

Personally, I disagree with IBM’s changes because I believe in competition.  Not all partners offer the same value for the renewal.  I believe the recent move may hurt clients as it does not create an incentive for true value adding partners to reach out to help clients that may be confused with their licensing.  If you renewed with a partner last year that just gave a fabulous quote and did not add value, and this year you want help with licensing and clarification as to what you own, you may find that as you reach out to other IBM partners, they may not want to even provide a quote because they can’t make enough money to justify the work.

Case Study for Value Added Renewals

For a long time, Lodestar Solutions had a client that regularly reviewed their licenses with Lodestar.  Then 5 years ago the executives at the client decided to move all their support renewals to what we refer to as a license consolidator.  Consolidators are large companies that can renew almost every software brand and give discounts due to volume.  The client’s goal was to save money. 

The Cognos BI and TM1 power users were very upset as they loved all the value added services they received throughout the year from Lodestar Solutions.  But the decision came from the top.  Lodestar still worked with the client for services but did not provide licensing recommendations or the annual renewal review. 

Then late in 2018 IBM made changes to the licensing of Enterprise Planning Users and the changes put some clients that move to TM1 at risk of failing an audit.  (See Video for details)  So, Lodestar Solutions reached out to all clients we thought were at risk due to the changes, even those that moved to consolidators.  Well, it turns out, the consolidator did not educate the client on IBM license changes or do annual reviews and the client failed an audit a year earlier costing them almost $1 Million.  When we reached out educating them, they may again fail an audit they realized that the consolidator wasn’t saving them money it actually cost them a bundle!  Yes, the client returned to work with Lodestar for their renewals.  But the moral of the story is, the best price is not the best value.

IBM Changes Not in Clients Best Interest

As I stated earlier, I do not believe IBM’s recent changes to their partner renewals program benefits the clients, but it did cause me to look in the mirror and ask myself how Lodestar can add even more value!  You see, I hate telling the clients their “Lodestar client discount” is being significantly reduced.  But, due to IBM changes we cannot offer the same level of discounts, so instead we are upping our value.  Effective September 2020 all clients that renew their support with Lodestar Solutions will receive the following:

Lodestar Support Client Bonuses

  • Annual licensing review to ensure you are in the optimal licensing mix
  • A “What the Heck do I Own” session where we discuss the new functionality of your unique licensing mix
  • A forward-looking discussion to create a roadmap and recommendation of 3rd party tools that might help you realize your vision faster
  • Access to Lodestar’s private client only collection of videos to educate you on new functionality
  • Periodic no charge check-ins to address your challenges
  • Presentation coaching to help you gain the support and resources you need to success
  • Lodestar Virtual Semi-Annual User Group Meetings
  • Invites to Lodestar exclusive events and offers


Lodestar Solutions is here to help you get the best value on your Cognos, TM1 and SPSS Support Renewals.  Value is not just price.  When you evaluate who you work with, don’t you want someone that understands licensing, can navigate the IBM red tape and helps you succeed?

If you want to get the most value from your IBM Support renewal, contact us today at renewals@lodestarsolutions.com and set up a time to chat.