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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 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!