April 8th, 2020
Given the uncertain nature of our world today many IBM Cognos users are scrutinizing all of their costs, including their annual IBM support and subscription renewal, which some call maintenance. I can’t say I blame people for thinking, “hmm maybe we should not renew our IBM support.” However, there are a number of consequences of not renewing IBM Cognos Support for BI, Planning Analytics (TM1) and SPSS that you should know about before you stop your IBM Support.
Can we still use IBM Cognos BI/ TM1 If we don’t have support?
The first question Lodestar Solutions, get’s asked when a client is considering not renewing IBM Cognos support is can we still use Cognos or Planning Analytics (TM1)? Assuming you have purchased IBM Cognos on premise, or local licensing (not SAAS) the answer in the USA is yes. IBM licensing offers what we call a perpetual license and when you purchased it, you bought an asset. Every year when you renew your support you are buying a year’s worth of access to the latest patches, updates and the right to call IBM for support. If you don’t renew your support you can still use the software, but you will not be able to upgrade or contact IBM support. Additionally, Lodestar Solutions, or your implementation partner will not be able to log support cases on your behalf.
Note if you purchased your IBM through a software or service company that has a contract with IBM that allows them to embed Cognos into their solution, you can’t call IBM and your terms are governed by your contract with the Embedded Solutions Partner.
For the Lawyers
For the lawyers in your organization, you can let them know that your on-premise lBM licensing is govern by the IBM Licensing Agreement. Most IBM clients are under the Passport Agreement program. And, within that program the software licensing contract that governs is under the IPLA.
What If We Skip the Renewal this Year?
If you decided to stick with not renewing your IBM Cognos support, you would have the legal rights to still use the version you are on. However, you could not upgrade, get updates or call IBM. Because we consider TM1 and BI mission critical systems, we don’t recommend going unsupported. If next year you decide you want to upgrade or get back on support IBM might make you buy the full license again. Not cheap. Or at least buy the back year of support plus the forward year and potentially a reinstatement penalty.
Risk of Not Renewing IBM Cognos Support
Lodestar Solutions’ job it to protect our clients and as such I must share with you what I believe the biggest risk of not renewing your support! It’s Microsoft or other 3rd party tools! Yes, Microsoft! You see, there are parts of IBM Cognos BI and TM1 that leverage connections to Excel, and/or Power Point. If you don’t currently use the Microsoft integration contact us at Services@lodestarsolutions.com and we will share this cool functionality. But, as you may have noticed Microsoft sends updates all the time! We use Microsoft 365 and it’s always updating.
Imagine this, it’s a day before your big quarterly presentation of the numbers. You have Cognos BI or TM1 connected to your Excel or PowerPoint to update all your slides. But when you go to update the PowerPoint or maybe Excel, it doesn’t work. You realized that Microsoft sent an update 3 days ago and it apparently broke the connection. What do you do? You call your support desk they walk you through a few things and say, hmm I think the update broke something we will have to get with IBM to get a patch. Then a rush of adrenaline. You know you can’t get a patch from IBM, because you are not supported.
You don’t want to live this scenario trust me. But it has happened, and it will again. And it’s not just Microsoft. Software companies are agile and flooding us with updates to protect us. But if we don’t maintain support on our systems it can hurt us too.
Can I Turn Off my Microsoft Updates?
You might be saying, well I’ll turn off the automatic updates and control when I get them. Which I too thought was an option until I recently learned that with Windows 10 you can’t really control if updates are applied. You apparently can only delay it for up to 35 days. So, if you are on Windows 10 and don’t renew your Cognos support, Microsoft updates might break your connections. I didn’t realize you can’t stop updates anymore. Check out this link for details.
Options to Preserve Cash on Cognos Renewal
We fully understand the desire to preserve cash and find cost savings in these uncertain times. That’s exactly why Lodestar has helped many clients get creative on their renewals. We recommend renewing your IBM Cognos support. Here’s a few ways we have helped clients save money on their renewals.
- Are you in the right Cognos licensing mix?
Every year Lodestar clients get an annual license review where we meet with you and ensure you are in the right licensing mix. IBM changes licensing periodically. It’s like a cell phone plan, if you don’t evaluate if you are on the right plan, you could be paying way too much. If our analysis determines you could save money while getting the functionality you need, we will assist you in getting on the right licensing structure. Check out our blog on this topic.
- Get a two-year quote for renewal.
Did you know that Lodestar Solutions can provide you with a quote for two years of support and because you are contractually committing to renewing for two years, IBM offers a volume savings? Because your annual support on Cognos is based on the prior year paid, you would end up saving money even in year 3. Now this only works if you know you will stay on the IBM platform for two years, but a great way to save money. Lodestar is happy to provide you a quote and review your licensing. Just email email@example.com.
- Leveraging IBM Global Financing.
Just last month Lodestar was able to help a client in a high-risk industry secure a 0% interest financing rate for their renewal from IBM Global Financing (IGF). The client opted to pay quarterly over the next year, which really helped them with their cash flow challenges. Lodestar has also helped clients leverage IGF to purchase a two-year IBM Support renewal, thus qualifying for a discount on their support for the second year. Clients have secured 0% on the two-year purchase and opted to pay quarterly over the two-year term. Now that’s like doubling down on savings! The process to use IGF is quite simple and will not take a lot of work for your organization. Lodestar Solutions can walk you through the process. Click here for more information on IGF. I have heard that interest rates may be going up so, if you have an upcoming renewal, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
In summary, we recommend you always renew your IBM Support. The consequences of not renewing IBM Cognos Support can be very detrimental. Other systems and software are sending updates regularly and that can break your IBM Software. Lodestar Solutions is here to help you figure out how you can save money and protect your cash flow on Cognos BI, Planning Analytics (TM1), SPSS, Renewals and other IBM solutions. But don’t wait, contact us today at email@example.com to learn your options on your renewal, the more time we have the more creative we can be.