Written by Heather L. Cole, August 25th, 2022
Are you an IBM Cognos, IBM Planning Analytics or SPSS client and purchased your IBM licensing as flexpoints? If so, you must know there are changes to the flexpoint program!
What is an IBM Flexpoint?
Years ago, IBM introduced a new consumption model, called Flexpoints. With Flexpoints, products within the platform are valued at a number of Flexpoints. You could purchase packs of 1,000 Flexpoints to use across the products in the IBM Analytics portfolio according to your needs. Because clients’ needs change over time, Flexpoints enable a flexible consumption model for Cognos, Planning Analytics and SPSS. This allowed clients to deploy Flexpoints on specific products like Cognos initially, and then later change their user mix to leverage their points on other products like Planning Analytics/TM1. (IBM Reference)
The Challenge with Flexpoints
The challenge with flexpoints was that it was up to the client to ensure they were in compliance and that they weren’t accidently changing their user mix to use more flexpoints than they had licensing rights to. Since flexpoints were sold in bundles of 1,000, but each different license type had a different value, this could leave clients either not utilizing all their flexpoints or going over their IBM licensing.
Here’s an example of some of the Cognos Flexpoint values for your reference.
IBM COGNOS ANALYTICS ADMINISTRATOR - 18,810 Flexpoints
IBM COGNOS ANALYTICS EXPLORER - 3102 Flexpoints
IBM COGNOS ANALYTICS USER – 1661 Flexpoints
So, if you had 2 Admins, and 100 users, you would need 203,720 flexpoints.
Candidly at Lodestar Solutions we were never a fan of IBM Flexpoints as we believed it opened the client up to potentially failing an audit. The clients were rarely familiar with the number of points each license cost.
Recently, Lodestar discovered IBM is trying to move people off Flexpoints for Cognos.
Update on Flexpoints
Last month an IBM Cognos client reached out to Lodestar Solutions to discuss having us help them with the upgrade of their Cognos system to the latest version. As we do with all upgrades, we investigated their current IBM licensing so that we did not inadvertently upgrade them and put them out of compliance with IBM. Also, to see if there was a more optimal IBM licensing option that could save them money.
When we pulled the Cognos client entitlements, we were surprised to see they owned flexpoints. This caused us to investigate the current IBM licensing rules and point values for each Cognos license type the client was using.
Candidly, if was difficult to find someone in IBM that knew about flexpoints for Cognos. But when we got to the Cognos Flexpoint expert, we were informed the client did not have access to download the current version of Cognos.
What? This meant the client was paying for support and would not be able to get on the latest version. I almost fell off my chair.
We were informed that the client would need to modify their IBM licensing to the regular on-premise licensing at time of renewal and then they would have access to the latest version. Our challenge was that the client had just renewed their support with another what we call, “paper pushing” partner. These are partners that just process renewals, they don’t discuss changing in IBM licensing, or new functionality with their clients.
FYI, Lodestar has never been and never will be a paper pushing partner! Every year at minimum we discuss changes in the software, and licensing with each client. If you would like us to do this for you, email Renewals@lodestarsolutions.com.
The Flexpoint Resolution
Clearly, we had an issue! The client did not want to wait a full year to upgrade their Cognos system, and there was no way to undue the other partner’s mistake. So, IBM to the rescue! The IBM Flexpoint expert was fabulous to work with. They proposed that IBM provide the client a Cognos Admin term license for one year at the cost of $.01. This would allow them to download the latest version and get upgraded.
At Support Renewal Time
Next year when the client is up for renewal, Lodestar Solutions, will help move them off the outdated flexpoint licensing to the licensing mix that is optimal for their needs.
Lessons to be Learned:
- If you are on Flexpoints with IBM Cognos Analytics, IBM Planning Analytics or SPSS licensing, you are at risk of not getting the latest software. So, contact Lodestar Solutions and we will help you sort out your licensing. Email Renewals@lodestarsolutions.com.
- If you use a Paper Pushing Partner for Renewals, you might run into issues! Boutique partners, that specialize in licensing knowledge, like Lodestar Solution can save you money and reduce your risk of failing an audit. Lodestar Solutions is here to help. Email Renewals@lodestarsolutions.com.