Consolidating IBM Cognos Support Renewals with Other IT Assets
August 22, 2019
Earlier this year I gave a breakout session called, Successful Negotiation Skills to CFO’s at the FEI Summit in Orlando. After the event a CFO of a mid-size publicly traded firm approached me and said, “Heather, I loved your presentation because it made me realize that it’s not about beating up vendors on price it’s about creating the best partnership with the vendors. But, do you recommend Consolidating IBM Cognos Support Renewals with Other IT Assets? A firm that claims they would save us money by managing all our IT asset renewals keeps calling me. What are your thoughts?”
I pause for a moment and share with him my thoughts and a true client story about an organization that went with an IT asset consolidation firm for their IBM Cognos licenses. As we parted ways, I realized all IBM Cognos clients should hear this story, so here it is…
Many of our larger IBM Cognos clients look to procurement to lead their purchasing decisions. Procurement is often focused on one thing: the best price. But here’s a true story of a client whose procurement team took over negotiating their IBM Cognos licenses and why procurement may save you a little money on your Cognos support renewals but could expose you to failing an IBM audit.
Cognos Client Story
For many years Lodestar Solutions worked with a client we will call ABC Corp to protect the innocent. Lodestar worked with ABC’s Cognos BI and TM1 teams providing implementation and training services, as well as helping them get the best deal on their purchase of additional licenses and support. The client grew their license usage every year and then they hit the point where they were no longer in the optimal licensing model.
So, Lodestar explained their options and helped negotiate a more economical licensing model that addressed their long-term growth. We moved them from an authorized users licensing model to a processor value unit (PVU) licensing model where they paid for server cores instead of users. For more information on this licensing model see our blog - What the Heck is an IBM PVU?
Then, one day ABC’s procurement stepped in and told the BI and TM1 teams they would not be renewing their licenses with Lodestar. They were moving to what they called a consolidator, a company that would handle all ABC’s software renewals for many software brands. The move was intended to save money and was supported by the CFO.
Risk of Moving to a Consolidator
When ABC moved all their renewals and IBM licensing purchases to the consolidator, Lodestar warned the client.
“Typically, big consolidators can save a few percentages by pushing paper but are not well versed in IBM licensing changes or configuration recommendations.”
Lodestar explained that clients that buy IBM Licensing and Cognos support renewals from Lodestar Solutions benefit from receiving a free annual license checkup. In the check up we educate clients on new functionality, discuss supported versions, explain licensing changes and tell them where the landmines may be. We discuss the client’s specific challenges and help them address them. Clients also get access to our knowledgeable staff throughout the year for licensing questions as well as invitation to our unique workshops.
The Cognos team tried hard to keep Lodestar engaged but procurement was adamant about moving to another vendor for the Cognos support renewals and licenses. The BI and TM1 teams at ABC stayed engaged with Lodestar for services.
About 3 years later, Lodestar identified a licensing change by IBM that we believed would negatively impact ABC and could make them fail an audit. At that time, ABC disclosed that 1 year earlier they had been audited by IBM and that they were way out of compliance and given a $750,000 bill. The Cognos team was terrified that they may fail another audit given Lodestar’s insight on the IBM license change. The CIO would blow a gasket if they failed again.
Failed IBM Audit
The cause of their previous failed audit was that they had upgraded their virtual environment and in doing so added more cores and more powerful servers. If you believe you may be at risk because you upgraded your virtual environment you should contact us for a checkup at Services@lodestarsolutions.com and check out these blogs to assess your risk.
ABC’s consolidator like many paper pushing IBM renewal firms did not know what questions to ask and never did an annual review. So they never advised them that they were over deployed. The result is the client received a very hefty bill from the consolidator/IBM to get compliant.
IBM Licensing Change
When Lodestar identified the changes that IBM was making in the Enterprise Planning Contributor licenses, we reached out to every client we knew that at one time had the older Enterprise Planning product and had migrated to TM1 because they were the clients at risk. (For more information on the Enterprise Planning Contributor changes see IBM’s withdrawal notice and our video on the topic for more information.)
Armed with the new information about the IBM licensing changes that would negatively impact them if they did not adjust some of their licenses, the Cognos team was able to argue that the consolidators may be saving them a little on the annual renewal but it was costing them greatly in the long run. Now, the client’s Cognos team benefits from working with Lodestar on their Cognos Support renewals and benefits from an annual renewal that asks the right questions.
Moral of the story
Procurement’s job is often to beat up the vendors to save money, but you must ask yourself what the long-term cost is? Are your Cognos vendors going to go the extra mile for you when there is no loyalty from your procurement team? Are they going to find resources late on a Friday night before a holiday weekend to help you when your system crashes?
Call to Action:
If you are exploring engaging a firm that claims consolidating your IBM Cognos Support Renewals with other IT assets, do your homework. How knowledgeable are they on the ever changing IBM licensing rules? Who will manage your account? Will they know the functionality of the software and educate you on new releases? Or will it be someone that just pushes paper?
At Lodestar Solutions, our clients know we go to bat for them. We are always asking on their behalf is there a better licensing model that will save the client money while addressing their growth? And proactively reaching out to them when IBM licensing changes occur. If you are looking for a partner that is committed to your success and saving you money, contact us at Sales@lodestarsolutions.com. We would be happy to perform an annual IBM Cognos support renewal and license checkup and provide you a competitive quote for your renewal or licensing needs. 813-415-2910.