Is the IBM ILMT tool SOX Compliant when used with Cognos?

IBM ILMT tool SOX
2/11/19
IBM ILMT tool SOX

Recently, a client asked, “ Is the ILMT tool SOX compliant (Sarbanes Oxley) when used with IBM Cognos?” 

So, I went to consult my top advisor, Google.  For the first time in years my top advisor let me down. Such a simple question, and nothing.  This caused me to do what I do best, ask my network and share the results.

Lodestar Solutions is on a mission to educate clients on the rules around the IBM License Metric Tool (ILMT).  This is the tool IBM mandates clients to use when they want to opt for the IBM Virtualization Capacity licensing as documented in the Passport Advantage Agreement related section. https://www.ibm.com/software/passportadvantage/ibmlicensemetrictool.html 

Basically, the ILMT tool monitors whether you are allocating resources correctly based on your IBM licensing when you virtualize your environment.  The main license metric for IBM Virtualization Capacity is Processor Value Unit (PVU) and the ILMT’s main purpose is to measure the high-water mark of PVUs by applicable product within the managed environment. The high-water mark is measured on a quarterly basis and represents the required PVU license requirement customers will need to have license entitlements for the used IBM Virtualization Capacity. 

ILMT is not optional to install when it comes to IBM Virtualization Capacity and related high-water mark PVU counting. It is mandatory (few exceptions apply). https://www.ibm.com/software/passportadvantage/subcapfaqtcs.html

Before I get into the details of if the ILMT tool is SOX (Sarbanes Oxley) compliant when used with IBM Cognos, lets cover the basics. Here are some blogs you may want to check out if you are unfamiliar with the ILMT tool and not sure if you need it installed or are unfamiliar with SOX.

ILMT
SOX

definition of SOX Compliance. In 2002, the United States Congress passed the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) to protect shareholders and the general public from accounting errors and fraudulent practices in enterprises, and to improve the accuracy of corporate disclosures.

Why Ask if the IBM ILMT is SOX Compliant when used with Cognos?

If you have financial or accounting data in IBM Cognos Analytics (BI) or Cognos Planning Analytics (Tm1) and you are a publicly traded company, you should care because any company or individual who administers the systems related to or relevant to financial and accounting data are regulated under SOX. 

For more information check out this blog on, “What does your IT Team need to know about the Sarbanes Oxley Act?”

https://www.securis.com/clients/data-destruction-it-recycling-healthcare/what-does-your-it-team-need-to-know-about-the-sarbanes-oxley-act/

Is IBM’s ILMT tool Sox Complaint?

After bouncing around IBM for a while I was introduced to the ILMT Senior Offering Manager and he was kind enough to provide the following email to our client. (Provided February 2019)

I am the Offering Manager of ILMT and I have been helping Lodestar Solutions to provide you an official statement about ILMT in relationship of SOX Compliance and assurance that ILMT is not accessing personal data or financial information.

The ILMT tool’s main purpose is to: 
- Identify IBM products that are deployed on a computer server (either virtual or physical) 
- Gather the Virtualization Capacity (virtual processor cores) that is available to the Physical and/or Virtual Server where the IBM products are deployed and perform the related PVU license counting 
- For those IBM products that have further implemented the generation of Software License Metric Tags, ILMT will also collect the related tag content and visualize it in referenced ILMT reports

All of IBM products running on distributed platforms are provided with an ISO 19770-2 software identification tag. This is an xml file that includes info about the IBM product component. 
ILMT performs a file system scan and collects all found ISO 19770-2 xml files that are then mapped to the IBM SW Catalog provided with ILMT to normalize on which the IBM product is deployed. 

As to the hardware info, ILMT will collect information about the number of activated processor cores at the HyperVisor host as well as Virtual CPUs assigned to the hosted VMs/LPARs. 

The BigFix platform that ILMT uses for its processing is gathering additional hardware information related to the computers where the ILMT/BigFix agent runs on (Physical or Virtual servers). This additional information is related to IT configuration attributes such as IP, Hostnames, memory configuration and more. 

As part of the IT configuration attributes of the managed computers the currently logged on user accounts are being gathered too. 

ILMT does not perform any access to any financial data or personal data stored in IBM Cognos Planning Analytics (TM1), IBM Cognos Analytics (BI) or on the virtual or physical server where IBM Cognos TM1 or any other IBM product could be deployed. 

I hope the above clarifies.

Best Regards, 

ILMT Senior Offering Manager 

There you have it!  Asked, “Is the IBM ILMT SOX Compliant when used with Cognos?”  and answered!  

If you have questions on your licensing and want to discuss whether you need to have the ILMT tool installed or if you need assistance installing, reach out to us at Services@lodestarsolutions.com. Or call us at 813-415-2910.

ILMT Tool Questions and Answers

2/4/2019 - Written by Heather L. Cole, President of Lodestar Solutions
ILMT Tool

Why have I never heard about the IBM ILMT Tool for Cognos BI or TM1?

You have been working with Cognos for years.  Recently a Lodestar Solutions team member reached out to you and said, “I am concerned that you may have an IBM compliance issue and would fail an audit.”  You then learn that maybe you should have had the IBM Licensing Monitoring Tool (ILMT) installed. But you are wondering, “Why have I never heard about the IBM ILMT Tool for Cognos BI or TM1?”

You are not alone! Many clients call me saying they found my blogs on licensing and are confused.  Today I’ll address why you have never heard about the IBM ILMT Tool for Cognos BI or Cognos Planning Analytics, TM1 and what steps you should take before you get audited. 

Am I really at risk?  I am not using more PVU’s then I have licensing for what will IBM do if I am audited and don’t have the ILMT installed? 

They could determine that you are non-complaint and fail the audit even if you aren’t using more PVU’s then you have, because the sub-capacity agreement states if you don’t install it, IBM can assume you are using the full capacity of the servers. You could be forced to pay for PVU’s to cover the entire server.  For example, you have 8 cores on your virtualized server and allocate 4 cores to Planning Analytics (TM1).  The server is rated 70 PVU’s per core.  Even though you have only allocated 4 cores * 70 PVUs per cores so 280 PVUs to TM1. IBM could charge you for another 280 cores if you don’t have the ILMT tool installed, because the server could max out to 8 cores.   Even if you only allocated 4 cores, you could fail the audit just for not having the ILMT tool installed. 

Who needs to install the ILMT for Cognos Analytics (BI) and/or Cognos Planning Analytics?  

All clients that have Processor Value Unit (PVU) licensing.  This includes most Enterprise Planning Analytic/TM1 users and larger Cognos BI clients that have virtualized their environment must install the ILMT tools with a few exceptions.  

Not sure what a PVU is?  

What is the ILMT Tool?  

IBM® License Metric Tool (ILMT) helps IBM Passport Advantage® (PA) customers determine their full and sub-capacity processor value units (PVU) licensing requirements. It helps calculate the number of PVUs available to installed Passport Advantage PVU-based software, including supported virtualized servers. Passport Advantage and Passport Advantage Express customers can order this tool at no charge by selecting the IBM License Metric Tool, part number D561HLL. 

How did I miss the ILMT tool? 

The ILMT is NOT provided as part of the standard download with the software, as a client you must order this separately at no cost. Clients are only informed of the ILMT tool requirements if they read the fine print of the sub capacity agreement or someone explains how important it is.  If you are an older TM1 or Cognos BI client, this was amended to your agreement in July 2011. 

Let’s be real, most IT professionals responsible for installing and maintaining the software do NOT read the fine print of IBM contracts, their lawyers do.  Lawyers would have no clue that the IT person does not know about the ILMT tools because logic would say it should be part of the install package. 

For your reading pleasure here’s the link to the Sub Capacity Licensing Agreement https://www.ibm.com/software/passportadvantage/subcaplicensing.html

You might want to check out IBM’s FAQ on Subcapacity agreement for more information https://www.ibm.com/software/passportadvantage/subcapfaqov.html

This is such a big deal, IBM has a forum for the ILMT https://www.ibm.com/developerworks/connect/ibmlicensemetrictool

And, they even have a youtube channel for the ILMT tool

http://www.youtube.com/user/IBMLicenseMetricTool

How Do I order the ILMT Tool form IBM?

  • Contact Sales@lodestarsolutions.com and we can place the order for you.  It’s free. 
  • Go to https://www.ibm.com/us-en/marketplace/license-metric-tool and chat with them, or contact the Help Desk 1-800-IBM-Serv.   
  • Order online through Passport Advantage so you don’t have to issue a zerodollar PO. Here’s a guide onhow to order the ILMT - http://public.dhe.ibm.com/software/passportadvantage/SubCapacity/ILMT_PA_Online_Ordering.pdf

  • What are the exceptions?  Do I really need to install this? 

    There are some exceptions such as if a client is less than 1000 employees and contractors, they are not required to install it.  But do you really know how many contractors you have?  And how do you count a contractor?  Is it all the contractor’s employees? (IBM we would love to hear from you on this).  

    For more details on exceptions see our previous blog 

    https://lodestarsolutions.com/ibm-ilmt-do-i-need-to-install-for-cognos-bi-tm1-or-express-environment/

    What does it take to install the ILMT Tool? 

    It’s not as easy as it should be in my opinion.  The ILMT tool costs about 30K to have a partner like Lodestar Solutions install it. I am not sure what IBM charges but speculate it’s higher.  It’s important to know, the ILMT tool requires a separate server too.

    Why didn’t IBM sales rep or partner tell me about this?  

    If you have been reading my blogs, you will see I have been trying to get the word out!  But candidly, IBM Sales reps and partners do not tell clients about the ILMT tool or associated costs in the sales process, as most have no clue what it is or why it’s important.  You need to be an educated consumer! 

    My Soap Box 

    Here’s where I know I am going to get in trouble!  But sometimes you must break the rules to make things better, to instigate change! 

    In my opinion, IBM is setting their IBM Cognos Planning Analytics and Cognos Analytics clients that are on PVU licensing up for failure!  The current process is broken.  As an attorney I feel, IBM fails to adequately disclose or make it easy for clients to adhere to the terms of a somewhat confusing contract. IBM you are better than this!  IBM auditors can penalize clients that are not intentionally stealing licensing, but those that simply failed to install the ILMT monitoring tool.  

    One client that did not install the ILMT but was not using too many PVUS was told by the auditors, that IBM was going to charge them over $78,000 to quote “settle” the audit but they would allow the client to apply the payment to purchasing other IBM products not related to the audit.  However, they were not allowed to purchase the additional licenses from a partner. They were forced to buy direct from IBM.  This confuses me.  If a client “failed” the audit shouldn’t they be required to purchase the licenses they were out of compliance on?  But since in this situation, they were only out of compliance with the ILMT which is free and not any other licenses, IBM said they could by other software. Luckily for the client they were growing their BI footprint and could buy BI licenses, not so lucky for the partner they were working with in the process because IBM would not allow them to buy from the partner, helping them succeed at business intelligence.

    Next Steps: 

    Contact us at Services@Lodestarsolutions.com and we can walk you through your specific situation.  We will also provide you with our document on how to calculate your PVUs.  We are here to help and show you a better way! 

    What to know before IBM Audits Your IBM Cognos Analytics and Planning Analytics Licenses.

    IBM Audits
    IBM Audits
    1/3/19

    Have you ever received a notice that IBM is auditing your IBM Cognos Analytics and/or Cognos Planning Analytics licensing?  Did you get a hot flash of adrenaline?  You know the oh sh*t moment?  Today, I’ll share some valuable information on what you should know before IBM audits your IBM Cognos Analytics (BI) and Planning Analytics (TM1) licenses.

    Last week I was talking to a Business Intelligence (BI) Manager at a client.  This individual was relatively new to his company and within a month of taking the job he received a notice from IBM that they were auditing him. He was very frustrated because this was the third company that he had join and every time he received a notice of audit from IBM shortly after starting a new job.  I explained to him, he’s not being targeted, but IBM audits regularly, and it doesn’t matter how big or small your IBM Cognos deployment. Everyone who is a client, is subject to an audit.  And so are you!  

    Cognos IBM Audits should not be a big deal if you understand the licensing and are compliant! 

    Here’s what you should know before IBM Audits Your IBM Cognos Analytics and Planning Analytics Licenses along with links to more detailed blogs on related topics.

    What type of Licensing Do You have?

    The two primary types of IBM Cognos licenses are Authorized Users and Processor Value unit.  Many Cognos Analytics (BI) clients have only authorized users licensing but some clients with a large number of users may have some users as authorized users like their administrator as well as some users as PVU (server) based licensing.  Whereas, Cognos Planning Analytics (TM1) is typically sold as a server + user licensing model where both PVU’s and authorized users are required. 

    Authorized User Licensing

    An authorized user is a unit of measure by which the Program can be licensed. An authorized user is a unique person who is given access to the Program. The Program may be installed on any number of computers or servers and each Authorized User may have simultaneous access to any number of instances of the Program at one time. Licensee must obtain separate, dedicated entitlements for each authorized ser given access to the Program in any manner directly or indirectly (for example: via a multiplexing program, device, or application server) through any means. An entitlement for an authorized user is unique to that authorized user and may not be shared, nor may it be reassigned other than for the permanent transfer of the Authorized User entitlement to another person.

    For more license definitions see http://www-01.ibm.com/software/passportadvantage/about_software_licensing.html#types

    In other words, every user needs to have their own license! This includes your consultants regardless if they are IBM Consultants, an IBM Partner like Lodestar, or an independent.  Yes, as partners we pay to have access to the software through our partnership, but it prohibits us from using our licenses in your environment.

    More information you should know about the authorized user model

    https://lodestarsolutions.com/protect-yourself-in-an-ibm-cognos-audit/

    Processor Value Unit (PVU) Licensing

     A Processor Value Unit, PVU,  is a unit of measure used to differentiate licensing of software on distributed processor technologies (defined by Processor Vendor, Brand, Type and Model Number). Simply put, it is a calculation of power and speed that is translated to a licensing model and thus licensing cost.   For Cognos Analytics (BI) licenses that are PVU based have unlimited number of users provided you are experience good performance.  You can read more about IBM PVU by clicking this link to our blog https://lodestarsolutions.com/what-the-heck-is-an-ibm-cognos-pvu/or going to the IBM site at http://www-01.ibm.com/software/passportadvantage/pvu_licensing_for_customers.html#fullsubcap

    Watch out for server upgrades if you have PVU licensing. 

    A common situation for clients that fail an audit is that at some point in time they upgraded their servers to get better performance without ever thinking about the licensing ramifications.  Upgrading our servers may result in the server having a higher PVU rating and therefore requiring you to purchase additional IBM Cognos licensing. So, before you upgrade your servers always check if the PVU rating of your new servers is higher than your old and check how many cores you have allocated. 

    How do I count my PVU’s for IBM Cognos Analytics and Planning Analytics?

    Before you are audited you want to make sure you know how many PVU’s you are using.  We recommend you review your PVU usage at least annually with your support renewal.  To calculate the PVU’s you look up the PVU rating of your server on IBM’s website and then multiply that buy the number of core processor you have allocated. In order to get the PVU rating of your server go to the IBM website here .

    http://www-01.ibm.com/software/lotus/passportadvantage/pvu_licensing_for_customers.html But wait, if it could only be that easy. There are a couple of points you must note.
    1. If you don’t have the ILMT (IBM License Monitoring Tool) installed, IBM might determine you need licensing for the entire server, even if you virtualized it. (More on this later)
    2.  You need to know what servers to count to calculate the PVU.  We have another blog written on this topic with more details. https://lodestarsolutions.com/calculating-pvu-processor-value-unit-in-ibm-cognos/
    I have a mixed environment consisting of authorized users and PVU. 

    For some of you, you have a mixed environment of authorized users and PVUs. For Cognos Planning Analytics this is almost always the case as the typical enterprise (not Express) licensing model for on premise software is server + authorized user.  But if you have BI licenses you may have what I call a creative environment.  Creative because someone that was trying to save as much money as possible may have decided that light weight users didn’t need as much processing power so they decide to have those users be under a PVU licensing model, maybe for the Information Distribution licenses.  Where as other users are authorized users so they can be routed to more powerful servers. This is accomplished by leveraging dispatchers. .  We have another blog written on this topic with more details.

    https://lodestarsolutions.com/separating-authorized-user-from-pvu-users/

    THE Big Gotcha for many clients facing IBM Audits is not having the ILMT Tool installed. 

    The IBM Licensing Monitoring Tool, ILMT is typically required for enterprise clients that have virtualized their environment and have IBM Cognos Analytics BI PVU licensing or Cognos Planning Analytics (TM1). The IBM License Metric Tool [ILMT] helps maintain an inventory of the PVU based software deployed for your Full Capacity or Virtualization (Sub-) Capacity environment and it measures the PVU licenses required by software. It is intended to help you manage your IBM software licensing requirements and help you be ready if you get audited. Customers are responsible for supplying hardware and installation services required for installing the tool. It is not part of the software download and not typically installed by IBM partners implementing BI or TM1. It’s up to you to know if you need it and get it installed.

    Here’s a few links to other blogs on this topic.
    Another common issue is not having licensing for non-production environments: 

    Here the deal if you have PVU licensing and you have a non-production environment like test, dev, QA you most likely need to pay for licensing for your non-production environment too.  You do not need additional licensing if you are a authorized users licensing model without any PVU licensing.  Now there are a few exceptions and if you are wondering it they apply to you, just email us your configuration of licensing and we will let you know our thoughts. Email Services@lodestarsolutions.com

    What if I suspect I have a licensing issue? 

    If you suspect you may need more licensing your options are contingent on if you already received a notice of IBM Audits. 

    • If you have already received the notice, my advice is to clean up end former employees in your system and keep open lines of communication with the auditors.  IBM will not let you buy additional licenses at a discount from IBM or a partner before the audit is over to resolve an anticipated audit issue

    Note IBM reserves the right to charge clients list price plus back support for any licenses they deem you are using beyond what you own.

  • If you have not received an notice of audit, call us at Lodestar Solutions 813-415-2910 or email Sales@lodestarsolutions.com We will help you understand where you stand and provide a plan to make sure you don’t have any licensing issues, while getting you the best price possible.
  • Are you in the optimal IBM Analytics licensing model?

    If your IBM licensing is complex and you have either a lot of Cognos Analytics (BI) users or if you have Cognos Planning Analytics (TM1) with a lot of PVUs and relatively small number of users or if you have a lot of users and a relatively small number of PVUs, there may be a more advantageous licensing model for you.  Let’s chat.  Email Sales@lodestarsolutions.com and get a free initial consultation. 

    A word of caution

    Don’t avoid the auditors. The more open you are with them, the better off you will be. If you are a jerk, they may be too. 

    The best way to avoid issues with IBM Audits

    Lodestar Solutions offers all of our clients a free annual review with your renewal.  In this review we will help you understand what the heck you own. Contact Lodestar for more details. 

    One more word of caution. 

    Don’t avoid the auditors. The more open you are with them, the better off you will be. If you are a jerk, they may be too. 

    Why have I never heard about the IBM ILMT Tool for Cognos BI or TM1?

    IBM ILMT
    IBM ILMT
    1/24/2019 

    You have been working with Cognos for years.  Recently a Lodestar Solutions team member called you and said, “I am concerned that you may have an IBM compliance issue and would fail an audit.”  You then learn that maybe you should have had the IBM Licensing Monitoring Tool (ILMT) installed.  However, you are wondering,” Why have I never heard about the IBM ILMT Tool for Cognos BI or TM1?”

    You are not alone!  Many clients call me saying they found my blogs on licensing and are confused.  Today I’ll address why you have never heard about the IBM ILMT Tool for Cognos BI or Cognos Planning Analytics, TM1 and what steps you should take before you get audited.

    Am I really at risk?  I am not using more PVU’s then I have licensing for what will IBM do if I am audited and don’t have the ILMT installed? 

    They could determine that you are non-complaint and fail the audit even if you aren’t using more PVU’s than you have.  That is because the sub-capacity agreement states if you don’t install it, IBM can assume you are using the full capacity of the servers.  You could be forced to pay for PVU’s to cover the entire server.  For example, you have 8 cores on your virtualized server and allocate 4 cores to Planning Analytics (TM1).  The server is rated 70 PVU’s per core.  Even though you have only allocated 4 cores * 70 PVUs per cores so 280 PVUs to TM1.  IBM could charge you for another 280 cores if you don’t have the ILMT tool installed, because the server could max out to 8 cores.   Also, even if you only allocated 4 cores, you could fail the audit just for not having the ILMT tool installed.

    Who needs to install the ILMT for Cognos Analytics (BI) and/or Cognos Planning Analytics? 

    All clients that have Processor Value Unit (PVU) licensing.  This includes most Enterprise Planning Analytic/TM1 users and larger Cognos BI clients that have virtualized their environment must install the ILMT tools with a few exceptions.  

    Not sure what a PVU is? 

    Check out our previous blog https://lodestarsolutions.com/how-to-calculate-your-ibm-pvu-rating/

    What is the ILMT Tool? 

    IBM® License Metric Tool (ILMT) helps IBM Passport Advantage® (PA) customers determine their full and sub-capacity processor value units (PVU) licensing requirements. It helps calculate the number of PVUs available to installed Passport Advantage PVU-based software, including supported virtualized servers. Passport Advantage and Passport Advantage Express customers can order this tool at no charge by selecting the IBM License Metric Tool, part number D561HLL.

    How did I miss the ILMT tool?

    The ILMT is NOT provided as part of the standard download with the software, as a client you must order this separately at no cost. Clients are only informed of the ILMT tool requirements if they read the fine print of the sub capacity agreement or someone explains how important it is.  If you are an older TM1 or Cognos BI client, this was amended to your agreement in July 2011.

    Let’s be real, most IT professionals responsible for installing and maintaining the software do NOT read the fine print of IBM contracts, their lawyers do.  Lawyers would have no clue that the IT person does not know about the ILMT tools because logic would say it should be part of the install package.

    For your reading pleasure here’s the link to the Sub Capacity Licensing Agreement 

    https://www.ibm.com/software/passportadvantage/subcaplicensing.html

    Also, you might want to check out IBM’s FAQ on Subcapacity agreement for more information https://www.ibm.com/software/passportadvantage/subcapfaqov.html

    This is such a big deal, IBM has a forum for the ILMT https://www.ibm.com/developerworks/connect/ibmlicensemetrictool

    And, they even have a youtube channel for the ILMT tool

    http://www.youtube.com/user/IBMLicenseMetricTool

    How Do I order the ILMT Tool form IBM?
    1. Contact Sales@lodestarsolutions.com and we can place the order for you.  It’s free.
    2. Go to https://www.ibm.com/us-en/marketplace/license-metric-tool and chat with them, or contact the Help Desk 1-800-IBM-Serv.  
    3. Order online through Passport Advantage so you don’t have to issue a zero dollar PO. Here’s a guide on how to order the ILMT - http://public.dhe.ibm.com/software/passportadvantage/SubCapacity/ILMT_PA_Online_Ordering.pdf
    What are the exceptions?  Do I really need to install this?

    There are some exceptions such as if a client is less than 1000 employees and contractors, they are not required to install it.  But do you really know how many contractors you have?  And how do you count a contractor?  Is it all the contractor’s employees? (IBM we would love to hear from you on this). 

    For more details on exceptions see our previous blog

    https://lodestarsolutions.com/ibm-ilmt-do-i-need-to-install-for-cognos-bi-tm1-or-express-environment/

    What does it take to install the ILMT Tool?

    It’s not as easy as it should be in my opinion.  The ILMT tool costs about 30K to have a partner like Lodestar Solutions install it.  I am not sure what IBM charges but speculate it’s higher.  It’s important to know, the ILMT tool requires a separate server too.

    Why didn’t IBM sales rep or partner tell me about this? 

    If you have been reading my blogs, you will see I have been trying to get the word out!  But candidly, IBM Sales reps and partners do not tell clients about the ILMT tool or associated costs in the sales process, as most have no clue what it is or why it’s important.  You need to be an educated consumer!

    My Soap Box

    Here’s where I know I am going to get in trouble!  But sometimes you must break the rules to make things better, to instigate change! 

    In my opinion, IBM is setting their IBM Cognos Planning Analytics and Cognos Analytics clients that are on PVU licensing up for failure!  The current process is broken.  As an attorney I feel, IBM fails to adequately disclose or make it easy for clients to adhere to the terms of a somewhat confusing contract. IBM you are better than this!  IBM auditors can penalize clients that are not intentionally stealing licensing, but those that simply failed to install the ILMT monitoring tool. 

    One client that did not install the ILMT but was not using too many PVUS was told by the auditors, that IBM was going to charge them over $78,000 to quote “settle” the audit but they would allow the client to apply the payment to purchasing other IBM products not related to the audit.  However, they were not allowed to purchase the additional licenses from a partner. They were forced to buy direct from IBM.  

    This confuses me.  If a client “failed” the audit shouldn’t they be required to purchase the licenses they were out of compliance on?  But since in this situation, they were only out of compliance with the ILMT which is free and not any other licenses, IBM said they could by other software.  Luckily for the client they were growing their BI footprint and could buy BI licenses, not so lucky for the partner they were working with in the process because IBM would not allow them to buy from the partner, helping them succeed at business intelligence.Enter your text here...

    Next Steps:

    Contact us at Services@Lodestarsolutions.com and we can walk you through your specific situation.  We will also provide you with our document on how to calculate your PVUs.  We are here to help and show you a better way!

    Do You Have The Correct IBM Cognos Licenses for BI or TM1?

     9/7/2018 

    Correct IBM Cognos Licenses for BI or TM1

    Myth: I have the correct IBM Cognos Licenses for BI or TM1

    Are you an IBM Analytics client that inherited Cognos?  Or maybe your organization purchased it years ago but with all the licensing changes you don’t know what you own. The question is do you have the correct IBM Cognos Licenses for BI or TM1?  I am Heather Cole, president of Lodestar Solutions and a lot of IBM Cognos Analytic clients believe the myth “I have the correct IBM Cognos Licenses for BI or TM1.”  They say, “Heather, we have the correct IBM Cognos licenses, in fact we may have too many.”  But, the reality is that many clients are either on the wrong licensing model or worse yet, are not compliant and could fail an audit and they don’t know it.

    IBM Audit

    Like most software companies, IBM reserves the right to review any client’s licenses called a license audit.  If you are thinking, “we are too small, IBM wouldn’t audit us,” you are wrong.  Even clients with only a handful of IBM Cognos licenses can get audited.  Imagine you receive a notice from IBM that they intend to audit you.  Would you get a hot flash of adrenaline? Are you certain you have given the correct rights to your users?  Do you even know what your licenses with IBM says?  Well it doesn’t have to be that way. 

    IBM Licensing

    As a licenses attorney, I encourage all clients to take licensing seriously!  Because IBM does not have license keys that prevent you from accidentally setting up more users than you purchased, it’s up to you to make sure you are compliant.  But I am speculating you are probably not a lawyer, and even though IBM has simplified their licensing over the years it can be confusing.  https://www-03.ibm.com/software/sla/sladb.nsf/sla/bla

     I believe that clients that educate themselves on what they own not only can save huge amounts of money on IBM license renewals, but they also can leverage all the tremendous functionality IBM has added over the years to both Cognos Analytics (BI) and Cognos Planning Analytics (TM1).  Most clients aren’t even scratching the surface of the power and features of IBM Cognos Analytics BI and Cognos Planning Analytics (TM1).

    Cognos Untapped Features

    Have you ever had someone show you a feature on your phone and you think, “Wow, how come I didn’t know that earlier?”  IBM analytics is just like that.   A lot of hidden WOW! 

    Now, you may be thinking “But Heather, I don’t have time to learn about the new features. I’m too busy.”  I understand how you feel.  But, you are looking at it the wrong way.  Many of the features IBM has added to their Analytics Suite over the years are designed to help you automate processes to give you more time for the cool projects.  Would you like to stop firefighting?   I don’t think you can afford not to learn the new features and discover what the heck you own.  https://www.ibm.com/support/knowledgecenter/en/SSEP7J_11.0.0/com.ibm.swg.ba.cognos.ca_new.doc/c_ca_nf_11_0_12.html

    I feel so strongly that every client will benefit from learning the latest updates on licensing and functionality, that I created a 90 minutes session to coach you. 

    During your “What the Heck Do I Own – IBM Cognos” session, we will review your unique licensing, ensure your IBM contact information is updated, walk you through the functionality you own and help you understand the IBM Licensing Monitoring Tool, (ILMT  https://lodestarsolutions.com/cognos-virtual-environment-needs-ilmt-tool/) if you have virtualized your IBM environment.   We also evaluate if you are in the optimal IBM licensing model.

    Wrong IBM BI License Model

    One client that experienced our IBM Cognos licensing session discovered they had out grown the authorized licensing model for their Cognos BI licenses.  They regularly added more Cognos BI users and so we proposed moving them to a Processor Value Unit PVU licensing model that allowed them to add more users without buying an IBM Cognos license for each person.  As a result, they saved over $100K a year in support fees, no longer had to track the number of end users, and saved even more in not having to buy additional licenses for each casual BI user.    https://lodestarsolutions.com/what-the-heck-is-an-ibm-cognos-pvu/

    Wrong IBM TM1/ Cognos Planning Analytics License Model

    Another client was heavily deploying TM1 (Cognos Planning Analytics) and by restructuring their licenses into a model where they could add unlimited PVU’s or cores for the analytic servers, they saved over $1M in foreseeable future IBM licensing fees.  The client was able to economically deploy additional TM1 models, even models that would put heavy demands on the analytic server without having to purchase more IBM Cognos Planning analytic server licensing.

    Smaller Deployments

    As an IBM Cognos reselling partner, we often find smaller IBM Cognos BI or TM1 clients that have owned the software for a long time are the ones that are in the wrong licensing model.  Clients with less than 50 TM1 users and 100 BI users might be better suited for Cognos Express licensing.  Cognos Express was released by IBM in 2009 to better serve the smaller, midmarket clients.  Today Cognos Express is the same software as IBM Cognos BI and TM1 enterprise, it’s just a different licensing model at a lower price, with some restrictions.  

    https://www.ibm.com/support/knowledgecenter/en/SSMR4U_10.2.2/com.ibm.swg.ba.cognos.express_migration.10.2.2.doc/c_express_inst_mig_evolution.html

    Learn More and Survive an Audit

    Don’t fall for the myth: I have the correct IBM Cognos Licenses for BI or TM1.  It’s time to make certain.  It takes only 90 minutes of your time for Lodestar Solutions to empower you with knowledge that could save you time, and money, while increasing the likelihood you will fly through an IBM licensing review and educating you on the new bells and whistles. 

    To schedule your complimentary “What the Heck Do I Own- IBM Cognos” licensing session, contact us at services@lodestarsolutions.com.   I promise this will be the best use of your time all week and we will help you answer the main question - Do I have the correct IBM Cognos Licenses for BI or TM1!

    Will IBM’s RSVP Pricing Program Save Me Money on Cognos Licensing and Support?

    6/26/18 

    Recently, an IBM Cognos client reached out to me because IBM sent him an Improved Relationship SVP Level Notification letter. He asked me, “What the heck is this, and will IBM’s RSVP pricing program save me money on Cognos licensing and support?”   Here are the details:

    What is the RSVP (Relationship Suggested Value Price) Program:

    IBM created the Relationship Suggested Value Price (RSVP) Program to reward clients that spend more money with IBM.  Consider it like the frequent buyer discount program.  Clients must be signed up with an IBM Passport Advantage (PA) Agreement to qualify.

    https://www-01.ibm.com/software/passportadvantage/pao_customer.html

    Once you are in the program, IBM assigns points based on your initial spend with IBM.  They do reassess your level periodically.  Note that ‘spend’ is your total IBM spend under that Passport Advantage (PA) Agreement so it includes licenses and support fees, not just your Cognos spend.  Depending on the points you earn, clients are assigned a pricing level.  The level determines the list price for IBM licensing.  Clients that have larger purchases often negotiate ‘special bid’ discounts for even more savings.

    Here is a sample of the levels and points needed to qualify for the various levels.
    IIBM’s RSVP Pricing Program
    Application for IBM Cognos Clients:

    Are you thinking, “Wow, I didn’t know about this.” It sounds great, right?  But sorry, there’s a catch for IBM Cognos Analytics (BI) and IBM Cognos Planning Analytics (TM1) clients.  For almost all Cognos part numbers, the list price is the same regardless of the level you are at.  Therefore, your pricing level doesn’t affect your IBM Cognos license pricing.

    Cognos Pricing Example:

    An IBM Cognos Analytics User Authorized User License with 1 year of support is the same price for all levels except Government and Education (Not shown on chart below). This is true for most of the parts within the analytics group. 

    IBM’s RSVP Pricing Program
    There is a benefit to IBM Cognos Clients? 

    If you buy IBM Cognos licenses or support renewals from IBM direct or a business partner like Lodestar Solutions, it could help you attain a higher pricing level which could impact your pricing on other IBM products.  But you must be on an IBM Passport Advantage contract to qualify for the RSVP programs.   IBM Passport Advantage Express accounts don’t qualify for the program. (Check back here on June 19 for the link to Differences in Passport Advantage Accounts blog).  If you have a Passport Advantage contract, IBM automatically calculates your level.  If you have multiple Passport Advantage contract numbers, which sometimes happens with mergers, you might want to consolidate your accounts, so you get the benefit of the combined spend. Check out this blog on Consolidating your support renewal bills

    So, the answer to “Will IBM’s RSVP pricing program save me money on Cognos licensing and support?” is NO probably not, but it will help you save money on other IBM products.  

    If you are looking to purchase IBM Cognos licenses, support or have questions about consolidating your IBM passport advantage (PA) accounts, contact us at sales@lodestarsolutions. We would be happy to review your specific case.

    Difference Between the IBM Passport Advantage (PA) and IBM Passport Advantage Express (PAE)

    6/20/2018

    Difference Between the IBM Passport Advantage (PA) and IBM Passport Advantage Express (PAE) Programs for Cognos Clients.


    IBM Passport Advantage (PA) and IBM Passport Advantage Express (PAE)

    The Passport Advantage (PA) and Passport Advantage Express (PAE) are comprehensive programs for the acquisition of IBM software licenses, IBM Appliances, IBM Appliance Services and IBM Software as a Service (SaaS) subscriptions. They share the same “Eligible product list” and include terms for IBM Software Subscription and Support (product upgrade and technical support), Fixed Term, Monthly Licensing, Appliance Service, Selected Support and SaaS renewals. ( www.Ibm.com/software/passportadvantage)  But, what are the difference between the IBM Passport Advantage (PA) and IBM Passport Advantage Express (PAE) Programs for Cognos clients?

    When you are buying IBM Cognos software from IBM or an authorized business partner like Lodestar Solutions, you are required to enter either the Passport Advantage program or the Passport Advantage Express program which is a common set of agreements, processes and tools.

    Passport Advantage Express - Smaller Purchases

    If you are making a smaller purchases or a smaller client that is doing a one-time purchase of Cognos or Cognos Express, you might consider the Passport Advantage Express because it doesn’t require enrollment.  So, less paperwork! Sometimes, we will use the Passport Advantage Express for larger clients if it’s the end of the quarter and there’s no time to process the paperwork.  For clients buying other non-Cognos products from IBM in addition to Cognos, you might want to consider the Passport Advantage site because the Passport Advantage Express does not offer various pricing levels under the RSVP (Relationship Suggested Value Price) Program.   Additionally, with the Passport Advantage Express you will get a separate renewal bill for each purchase because it’s transaction based.  Yes, you can move from Passport Advantage Express to Passport Advantage later if desired, but it requires paperwork.  Check out this blog on Consolidating your Passport Advantage sites.

    Passport Advantage - Larger Purchases

    For larger IBM purchases, the Passport Advantage is probably the better option, as it’s a relationship-based program.  Passport Advantage does require enrollment, so you will want to read the terms before you sign up.  One benefit of the Passport Advantage program is that IBM will give you an anniversary date and co-terminate all your invoices, so you end up with one support renewal bill instead of multiple bills for every additional purchase you make.

    Savings with Passport Advantage

    The Passport Advantage program offers discounts for clients that spend more money with IBM.  IBM calls these Suggested Volume Pricing (SVP) discounts.   The SVP level is assigned to the client based on Relationship Suggested Volume Price (RSVP) level.  Basically, the more you buy of IBM licensing or support with IBM or a business partner like Lodestar Solutions, the more points you accumulate.  The more points you earn, the greater pricing discount you will receive on many IBM products.  Unfortunately, these levels are moot when it comes to IBM Cognos licensing because the price on most Cognos Analytics (BI) and Planning Analytics (TM1) licenses are the same regardless of your discount level.  https://lodestarsolutions.com/will-ibms-rsvp-pricing-program-save-me-money-on-cognos-licensing-and-support/

    Multiple Sites- Under Passport Advantage

    Passport Advantage does allow you to enroll multiple locations or “Sites” under a single Agreement.   Some clients use the sites to represent various departments so they can receive a separate bill for the site making the accounting easier.  Another benefit of multiple sites is if you have a team in Asia and one in the US you may want each location to be able to contact support in their region.  Clients can assign a technical contact with IBM for each site.

    As an additional resource to explore the difference between the IBM Passport Advantage (PA) and IBM Passport Advantage Express (PAE) programs for Cognos clients, check out this FAQ from IBM.

    ftp://public.dhe.ibm.com/software/passportadvantage/Brochures_Quickguides_FAQs/Frequently_Asked_Passport_Advantage_questions.pdf

    Warning When Purchasing

    It can take some time for IBM to process your Passport Advantage application, so do this early to take advantage of any end of quarter savings on your software purchase.

    In Summary

    Passport Advantage Express is typically for smaller purchases of IBM Cognos, whereas larger clients or clients that want more control over their support bills and support access typically use Passport Advantage.  

    Think you might be on the wrong IBM Program?  We can help. If you have detailed questions or are looking to purchase IBM Cognos licenses or support, contact us at sales@lodestarsolutions. We would be happy to review your specific case.

    How to Change The Primary Contact Name for IBM Cognos?

    6/12/2018
    Primary Contact Name for IBM Cognos

    Are you an IBM Cognos administrator that inherited the system and need to know how to change the primary contact name for IBM Cognos with IBM so you can download software?  Well, I’ll provide you the steps you need to take.  

    But first, I want to clarify what the role of the primary contact is.  The primary contact will get all communications from IBM regarding changes to the Passport Advantage Agreement or other contractual issues. Only your Primary Contact (or designated Secondary Contacts) can update contact information.  Everyone who buys IBM Cognos must provide a contact name, it’s mandatory.  So, when you buy software, don’t make this person a consultant or intern.   Make sure it’s an employee.

    Secondary Contact Recommended

    We recommend the primary contact designate secondary contacts in IBM Passport Advantage to assist with adding new users and determining access rights.  The secondary contact will have all the same management access rights as the primary contact except for creating new secondary contacts.  Up to four secondary contacts can be designated by the primary contact.  The secondary contact will need to know the Passport Advantage Site Number.  If a customer site has no nominated secondary contacts, the primary contact will be solely responsible for managing access rights.  Not sure I would want only one person to do that, best to have a backup assigned.

    If you buy with under the Passport Advantage program, you can also designate an Administrative Contact and a Site Technical Contact when you enroll.  The Administration Contact is your site’s designated contact for all administrative documents including Software Subscription and Support Renewal notices and Proofs of Entitlement. So, if a product is about to go unsupported, IBM will notify the administrative contact.

    Administrative and Site Technical Contact

    Your administrative contact is responsible for requesting and authorizing account information changes. If authorized by your primary contact, your administrative contact can manage Web and tool access for your organization and will have access to your Proofs of Entitlement online via Passport Advantage Online to confirm your authorized use of IBM software.

    The site technical contact is responsible for overall support compliance for your Passport Advantage site. The site technical contact maintains authorizations for entitled support-related Web and tool– including IBM Service Requests, PMRs and fixes.   Because you can have a technical person set by site, you might want to put licenses held in different regions on separate sites within your PA account.  This will allow them to have access to support in their time zones.

    Your IBM Cognos Support renewal quote will go to the Renewal Contact that is assigned to the site, and you will receive a separate bill for each site.

    How to Change Contact?

    Okay, now that you understand the different roles, here are the details about how to change the primary contact name for IBM Cognos.  But, I must warn you it’s a lot easier to change the primary contact for your Cognos system if the old administrator is still there.

    Assuming the current primary contact is still with the company, you will need to have that person email IBM.  In North America you will email paonline@us.ibm.com.  Typically, they respond within 24 hours.  You will need to provide the following in the email:

    • The IBM Customer Number of your organization, which can be found on your support renewal invoice or quote.
    • If your organization has more than one IBM Site ID, include the Site ID.  This will also be on your support renewal invoice or quote from IBM.
    • First name and last name of the previous Contact.
    • First name and last name of the individual to be designated as the new Contact.
    • Phone number of the individual to be designated as the new Contact.
    • Email address of the individual to be designated as the new Contact.

    If you don’t have your IBM customer number or site number, contact us at Renewals@lodestarsolutions.com and we will assist you. 

    Note, if the previous primary contract  is no longer at the company, or you don’t know whose name is on file with IBM, the new primary contact should email dswsoft@us.ibm.com or pahotline@us.ibm.com with a request to make the changes.   Or, we can assist you.  Renewals@lodestarsolutions.com.  They will need to know your Passport agreement/site number, new contact’s full name, Email address, Phone number, and reason for update.

    For more information on how to change the primary contact name for IBM Cognos check out:

    http://www-01.ibm.com/software/passportadvantage/pa_contacts.html

    Consolidating Your IBM Cognos Support Bills

    6/5/2018 

    Are you receiving multiple IBM Cognos support bills throughout the year?  You might want to consider consolidating your IBM Cognos support bills by merging your agreements to a single Passport Advantage site.  Besides getting a single bill on your anniversary date, if you buy other product from IBM you may get the benefit of IBM’s Relationship Suggested Value Price (RSVP) Program. The Relationship Suggested Value Price (RSVP) Program rewards clients that spend a more money with IBM.  Consider it like the frequent buyer discount program.  (Check back here on June 26, 2018 for the link to the RSVP blog)

    Why Do I Have Multiple Cognos Support Bills?
    IBM Cognos support bills

    Typically, this happens when you purchased your licenses at various times and did so under the Passport Advantage Express program.  You see, IBM has two ways to buy IBM Cognos licenses, either with their Passport Advantage Express program or the Passport Advantage program. The basic difference is the Passport Advantage Express program is transaction based and the Passport Advantage program is relationship based and allows for multiple sites to roll up to a single Passport Advantage account.  If you want to understand the differences (Check back here on June 19 for the link to Differences in Passport Advantage Accounts blog)  When you buy additional IBM Cognos licenses under the Passport Advantage Program, IBM will typically co-terminate your support renewal with your existing licenses after the first year.  This results in one bill for all the licenses on the site.

    How to Move IBM Cognos Licenses

    You can move your IBM Cognos licenses and entitlements from one site to another site within your Enterprise or you can move them from a Passport Advantage Express site to a Passport Advantage site. 

    • If you have a Passport Advantage Express site or want a new Passport Advantage site you must first establish the Passport Advantage site. You should make sure you don’t already have a Passport Advantage Agreement with IBM before setting up a new one, so you maximize your savings. (Check back here on June 26, 2018 for the link to the RSVP blog).  Your Lodestar Solutions or IBM representative should be able answer any questions.  Contact us at renewals@lodestarsolutions.com  Here’s the link to the online system. https://www-112.ibm.com/software/howtobuy/passportadvantage/webenrollments/enrollments/enroll
    • Your Passport Advantage Primary Contact for the “source” site (this is the site currently possessing the licenses) must complete a Passport Advantage/Passport Advantage Express License Transfer Request Form. Lodestar Solutions or your IBM representative can provide you this form. Contact us at renewals@lodestarsolutions.com     
    • The Primary Contact for the Target Site must agree to the transfer.  For information on Primary contact, check out http://www-01.ibm.com/software/passportadvantage/pa_contacts.html

    So, now you know the process but you don’t have to go it alone!  Our support renewal experts are here to guide you.  Just contact renewals@lodestarsolutions.com and we’ll get you started.

    Have You Secured Funding Yet? It’s Budgeting Season, Secure Funding Now For IBM Cognos

    Have You Secured Funding Yet?  It's Budget Season.  
    Secure Funding Now for IBM Cognos!

    Do you need process improvement and require funds for Cognos consulting or need additional IBM Cognos licenses? Now is the time to reach out and get your funding in the budget! Far too often we see companies that have a need for a new software solution and services, but they don't factor it in their budget. As a result, this pushes their initiatives out another year!

    We all know it's that time of year: budgeting season! So now that budgeting season is ramping up for most companies it is time to reach out to Lodestar Solutions. You need to solidify IBM Cognos software quotes, Cognos upgrade consulting resources, etc. Therefore, it's more beneficial to get what you think you'll need next year in your budget and secure funding now for IBM Cognos!

    What You Need to Consider 

    Here at Lodestar, we are big believers in helping you realize the importance of how to secure funding now for IBM Cognos. We have found with several clients the earlier you have these software and services conversations the easier it is to get them approved. Hence the longer you wait the less likely you are to get what you want.

    In summary, think about it this way, it's kind of like saying what you want for the holidays now. If you don't start thinking about it and talking about it you're just going to get an ugly sweater you will never wear (no one wants that). You want to make sure to cover all topics: net new install or upgrade consulting,  IBM Cognos licenses, training and Cognos consulting services for next phases, etc. You want to get estimates now to put in your budget. Remember, it's all about securing funding now for IBM Cognos!

    Budget to Upgrade to Cognos Analytics

    Looking to upgrade to Cognos Analytics?   Don't forget Cognos BI 10.2 is unsupported after April 2018! Link to details on Cognos BI 10.1 Support.

    To help build your budget, check out our complimentary Cognos Analytics Upgrade Evaluation Kit.  

    Challenged to get funding?  ​See our blog on 5 Steps to Get Funding.

    In conclusion, email us at Sales@Lodestarsolutions.com to set up a call to discuss your needs in 2018. Furthermore, we will provide free estimates for your IBM Cognos licensing needs, Cognos upgrades and services needs to get the most out of your analytic solutions.

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