Questions You Should Ask When Planning to Migrate Off Cognos Analytics (BI) – Part 2

8 Questions You Should Ask When Planning to Migrate Off of IBM Cognos Analytics - Part 2
September 10th, 2020

As clients look to drastically cut cost, it’s natural for IT departments to look at all their business intelligence solutions to evaluate if they have redundancy.  The initial thought is to reduce costs by standardizing on one business intelligence solution.  One solution could mean lower support costs and fewer resources to support the tools. As I discussed in the first part of our “Questions You Should Ask When Planning to Migrate Off Cognos Analytics” blog,  I completely understand the logic and if I was the CIO, I would have the same line of thinking. 

But let’s face it, in many organizations someone high up made the decision to streamline business intelligence tools and they did not task a team to do the due diligence to determine the true costs of migrating off Cognos nor did they create an ROI evaluation.  This is part two of our blog series on this topic where I share the questions you should ask when planning to migrate off Cognos Analytics onto another platform.

4. What resources do we need to migrate our reports to the new platform and what is their availability?

Whether you are migrating from Cognos or upgrading to Cognos Analytics you must be realistic about the resources assigned to the migration and their real availability.  If you think you can dedicate 50% of a FTE’s time to the business intelligence migration, create your plan as if you only had 25% of your time.  This allows for life to get in the way without disrupting the timeline.  You also want to account for vacation and holidays, as they can throw a curve ball to the project plan.

5. What data sources are currently feeding Cognos BI that we must account for in our new system?

Another mistake people make in evaluating the migration of their business intelligence tools is that they fail to take an inventory of all the data sources feeding their Cognos reports. 

An example I see often is clients moving to a new ERP solution.  They believe they can get rid of their Cognos BI because their new ERP solution includes reporting.  I warn them that ERP’s provide solutions like General Ledger (GL), Accounts Payable processing, or Inventory solutions, but almost always there are additional data sources you want to include in your reports that are outside of the ERP.   How are you going to handle the additional data sources?  Do you even know what data sources are being used?  Create a list of all the data sources and confirm you have a plan to address them in your migration.

Data Modules:  If you are on Cognos Analytics your end users may be using Data Modules which is a very powerful component to allow analysis of outside data sources.  If you plan to migrate off Cognos you must determine what sources they are using with data modules.

Want to know more about Cognos Analytics data modules, here are our blogs:

Still Using Transformer Power Cubes? Try Data Modules. 

What’s New in Cognos Analytics 11.1.6

6. Why are we considering to migrate off Cognos to the new business intelligence platform?

Sometimes a decision has been made but after the cursory evaluation of the situation we lose sight of why we make that decision.  Lodestar Solutions recommends creating a list of why you are considering migrating from Cognos to a new solution.  This list will help you define the benefits which will be needed to estimate the ROI in the next step.

7. What will it really cost to migrate off Cognos Analytics to the new Business Intelligence solution and what is the expected return on investment?

Now that you have an inventory of the reports that need to be migrated, you understand their complexity and you identified the data sources,  you want to estimate the time it will take to migrate them.  Be realistic about the amount of time it will take.  Next calculate the estimated migration costs.  The costs to migrate should include:

  • Cost of new software and support
  • Cost of training internal power users
  • Cost of technical installation
  • Cost of internal resources (estimated hours * avg salary and benefit cost for resources/hour)
  • Cost of consultants
  • Cost of internal end user training

Next, estimate the anticipated return on the investment. To do this you want to put a financial value to the benefits the organization anticipates from the new solution over your existing solutions.

ROI = [(Financial Value - Project Cost) / Project Cost] x 100

If you are not familiar with ROI Calculations check out this article from Harvard Business School Online.

8. Should we migrate off Cognos?

The final question you must ask is, “Should we migrate off Cognos?”  Does the ROI of the migration really justify the work and cost involved?  Does the new solution provide all the extra functionality and meet all the users’ needs?  One mistake organizations make is deploying a new solution that has less features than what your users had previously.  Do not do it!  You must ensure that the new solution at least has parity with Cognos Analytics.  My recommendation is to write proper testing scripts and have the end users complete them to ensure success.

U-TURNS Permitted

I can’t tell you how many times in my life I have made a plan and then when I completed my due diligence and analyzed the work and cost involved I realized my plan was a bad plan.  Unfortunately, many companies have a culture that when a decision is made, they can’t U-Turn.  If you think your organization might have a no U-turn policy, I recommend suggesting a detailed analysis of the alternatives as early as possible.  I believe U- Turns should always be permitted.

U-Turn Permitted

You Are Almost Done!

Congratulations!  If you completed the steps from part one of this blog and the steps above,  you have now completed your due diligence.  Your hard work should give you the confidence to lead your organization to become an analytics leader in your industry and ensure the right decision is made.

Not Sure How to Get Started?

You don’t have to go this alone!  Lodestar Solutions can help you answer the questions you should ask when planning to migrate off Cognos Analytics and complete the steps above to ensure you are making the right decision for your organization.  So, contact us today and schedule a chat. Email

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