5 Reasons People Object to Upgrading Cognos

5 Reasons People Object to Upgrading Cognos
5 Reasons People Object to Upgrading Cognos
Written by Heather L. Cole, March 9th 2022

Are you trying to get funding for a Cognos or IBM Planning Analytics upgrade?  Maybe you want to get some TM1 or Cognos Training and need to ask for funding.  Did you know there are 5 reasons people object to upgrading?  That’s right only five main reasons.  So today I thought I would walk you through the primary objections and relate it to upgrading and expanding your usage of Cognos and Planning Analytics. 

First let me say I did not create this list.  Bari Baumgardner, a very successful businesswomen was presenting at a conference I attended this weekend hosted by Dean Graziosi and Tony Robbins.  The conference is really designed for the coaching industry.  However, the nuggets of information are very applicable to the world of Business Analytics.  So, if you are an employee running a Cognos or IBM Planning Analytics upgrade, or a consultant you will want to understand and learn to overcome the 5 reasons people object to upgrading.  They are time, money, social support, fear, and doubt.

1. Time -

The most common objection to upgrading your Cognos, IBM Planning Analytics or other solution is time.  As a firm specializing in upgrading clients to the latest business analytics technology we often hear, “We don’t have time.”  But is that really true? 

The thing about time is you never think you have enough, and you can never get it back.  It’s the scarcest resource.  I love Bill Gates’ quote:

"We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten.  Don't let yourself be lulled into inaction."

But let’s talk about your time, and the time of your team.  How valuable is it?  If you could invest a couple months of focused work that would eliminate a number of redundant monthly tasks, would you do it?  Imagine automating reporting processes and empowering end users to leverage the data and analytics you provide!  What if you could help create a culture shift so everyone in the organization explored the data and made game changing decisions to help the company accomplish their goals.

How long have you been trying to deliver self-service to your users?  If it’s been a long time, we need to talk.  (See our blog, Find More Time for Analytics Projects)

There are steps you can take that can turn the objection on time into the very reason you can’t wait any longer to upgrade and modernize your Cognos and IBM Planning Analytics environments.  Our clients that have upgraded and modernized their Planning Analytics and Cognos deployments all have said the same thing, “Why did we wait so long?”  To schedule a chat email us at services@lodestarsolutions.com.

2. Money -

The second objection to upgrading we hear is we don’t have any budget.  I fully understand the need to have funding, but what if I told you that many CFO’s have a magic stash of money.  And that when they see a project that will have a significant return on the investment and help them accomplish their strategic goals, they open the money bag and fund the project.  Seriously, I have seen it many times! 

But the secret is that they must see the value.  If you are telling them you need to upgrade to get on a supported version, that probably is not compelling enough.  We need to present a reason that is more important to them. 

Executives are very focused on making or saving money and achieving their strategic goals. 

Cognos and IBM Planning Analytics are amazing tools that when deployed correctly can have a huge impact on the success of the company and the achievement of strategic goals.  The problem is that there are not enough analytic professionals that appreciate the massive impact they can have by delivering the latest IBM solutions to their executives.  When the right information is put in the right hands for better decision-making it will make the company more money. 

So, again.  The objection of not having money is exactly the reason why you must act NOW to upgrade and empower your teams with data.  You know your competition is….

See our blog Secrets to Getting Funding for Your Cognos Projects.

3. Internal Support -

The third objection I hear as an analytics coach to executives and their teams is that they don’t have enough internal support.  Maybe IT doesn’t support your IBM Planning Analytics upgrade, or you have an executive that is saying we should move everything to Microsoft.  Well, you are not alone.  There are other clients that have this struggle.  However, with the correct internal influence and that art of persuasion you can build the support you need.

Lodestar Solutions is happy to have a chat with you to strategize how to gain the support you need.  Email us at services@lodestarsolutions.com.  It all begins with helping others see the vision you have as to the role of data and analytics in achieving strategic goals.

4. Fear -

The fourth objection to upgrading is fear.  Fear of failure, fear of success, fear of rejection fear of change… Fear is almost always secretly lurking in the background. 

Try this little exercise to help overcome hidden fears.  Write down the worst-case scenario.  Maybe you ask for funding and get rejected.  Maybe you get everyone to support the project but don’t deliver it on time….  Write down every possible bad outcome.

Now write down what you would do if that bad thing happened and what you would have learned from the experience.  Finally write down how you will feel 2 years from now when you are in the exact same place you are now. 

You see people don’t regret acting if even if they don’t succeed.  Successful people don’t have failures; they have learning experiences.  

Theodore Roosevelt

5. Doubt -

The final objection is doubt.  You might think that doubt and fear are the same thing, but I believe they are different.  Doubt is that little voice that says, you aren’t good enough.  Who do you think you are believing you can have a massive impact on the company’s profits?  You don’t even really know how to use the software.  Have you ever heard that voice? 

I have.  She gets really loud in my head at times.  But you know what I discovered?  I never hear the voice when I am binge watching Netflix.  Nope.  She’s silent.  But when I am considering taking a bold move, making a big impact or trying something outside my comfort zone, poof there she is. 

Did you know it has a name?  Imposter Syndrome.  See this Forbes article Imposter Syndrome In Your Business And How To Overcome It

What I have learned is that when that voice pops up, it’s GAME ON!  Something amazing maybe even life changing is about to happen if I just lean in and surround myself with people that will be my cheerleaders. 

But for some of you, you don’t have cheerleaders.  If that’s your case, let’s talk.  The Lodestar Solutions community is full of amazing minds that can help cheer you to success.  Email Services@lodestarsolutions.com.

Summary

Now you know the 5 reasons people object to upgrading their Cognos and/or Planning Analytics are time, money, social support, fear, and doubt.  Don’t let these objections stop you from being amazing at your job!  Overcome these objections and lead your organization to analytic success.  The first step can start today.  Just email us at services@lodestarsolutions.com and we can chat about your unique situation.  You were born to make an impact.  Start now.

The Real Cost of Multiple Business Intelligence Solutions

The Real Cost of Multiple Business Intelligence Solutions
The Real Cost of Multiple Business Intelligence Solutions
Written by Heather L. Cole on December 9th, 2021

What’s the best business intelligence solution?  This is a question I get asked repeatedly by clients that are struggling to manage multiple different business intelligence solutions in their organization.  Due to acquisitions, mergers, and departmental purchases, it’s not uncommon for clients have IBM Cognos, Tableau, and of course Microsoft Power BI along with other solutions.  Various studies show companies average between 3.8 to 5 different BI solutions.  But what is the real cost of multiple business intelligence solutions?

Today I’ll explore the pros, cons and a solution that could be game changing for companies struggling with which business intelligence solutions to use.

Why So Many Business Intelligence Solutions?

First let’s review how the heck we ended up with so many business intelligence solutions.  There were three key factors which include the pace of Data Warehouse initiatives, the massive growth in demands by business uses and of course politics.

Data Warehouse Initiatives

The vision on one version of the truth is nothing new.  Early data warehouse initiatives were supposed to solve the many sources of data and provide the foundation for business intelligence.  But standardizing data definitions and developing the data warehouse proved to be a slower process than we desired.  Some business units like finance were often told their data would be added to the warehouse in a couple years!  This was just unacceptable to the business units that required visibility to data to make decisions.  So, they took matters into their own hands and many purchase their own business intelligence and reporting solutions to meet their needs.

Data Needs Grew Faster than Teams Could Deliver

For organizations that tried to control the purchase of additional reporting tools, business intelligence teams were quickly overwhelmed and understaffed to meet the needs of everyone.  This too inspired some departments to look for solutions that provided solutions specific to their role or department that bundled in business intelligence solutions.  We saw this a lot with financial systems that included reporting tools.  

Politics

The final factor that contributed to the proliferation of business intelligence solutions in organizations is politics.  Many departments seek autonomy from the IT department.  They wanted control of their own destiny.  Software resellers like Tableau and Microsoft Power BI successfully marketed to various departments and their desire to control their own data.

For more information check out this blog, Top 8 Business Intelligence Challenges and How to Handle Them. 

Unfortunately, all these factors put many organizations in a situation where there are many silos of data and several reporting solutions.  Companies reviewing where they are in their analytics and business intelligence roadmap are discovering they are off course.  But what should the future road look like for business intelligence and analytics? 

The Reaction to Multiple Business Intelligence Solutions

If you have multiple business intelligence solutions and you want to create a plan, there is no one size fits most answer.  Having multiple reporting and analytic solutions may be the perfect answer depending on your goals and resources.   Let’s take a moment to explore some of the questions you want to answer in your evaluations.

Primary Goal of Business Intelligence Tools

What is the real reason you need reporting and analytic solutions?  Is it to rapidly provide insightful accurate data in a useful form to business users?  For some clients Lodestar Solutions works with having multiple reporting solutions helps them deploy the data to departments while meeting their unique needs, for others standardizing on a tool like IBM Cognos Analytics streamlines the deployment and maintenance for their IT department.  What are your unique goals?

The Cost Factors

Cost is always a factor.  When evaluating your current reporting tools, you will want to create a list of all the various reporting solutions used.  Then determine if the licensing for the reporting component is bundled with other software or you pay additional for the reporting.  Now estimate the annual cost for each additional reporting solution.  Costs should include the staff to support it and annual maintenance or subscription costs.  The goal is to gain visibility to the costs for all the different solutions.

If you need clarity on your IBM Cognos renewal or subscription costs, Lodestar is happy to help.  Email us at renewals@lodestarsolutions.com.  And check out our blog, Want to Save Money? 

Opportunity Cost of Disparate Systems

Depending on your industry you may find industry solutions or departmental solutions are greatly beneficial and add faster visibility.  I like to compare your reporting solutions to your garden.  You might need multiple tools to efficiently maintain your environment.  So, multiple solutions could be the perfect solution.  Only you can do a proper evaluation if you should standardize on one platform.  Talk to your end users and perform a discovery session of how they leverage data today and their ideas for the future.

Time To Migrate Existing Reporting

When determining if you should migrate reports from one system to another you must consider first if the new system has all the functionality of the old system.  Users hate losing functionality.  Then do a proper evaluation of the complexity and quantity of reports that would have to be redeveloped in a new tool.  If you are an IBM Cognos client and evaluating IBM Cognos verse Power BI, I strongly recommend you consider using Motio solutions to evaluate the complexity and quantity of reports.  For more information on this see our blog and call us for a discussion of how Motio Inventory module can give you clarity.  See our earlier blog on Motio for Cognos Analytics Administrators.  

Best of Both Worlds – One Portal, Many Business Intelligence Tools

Many clients have come to us at Lodestar Solutions asking for guidance on if they should move off IBM Cognos for Power BI, others seek help to manage all the different solutions.  We appreciate this can be a complex and political discussion in organizations.

What if I was to tell you there could be an easy solution to allow users access to all the information they need from one portal?  That the marketing department that loves their solutions can keep it, and finance can keep their solution.  What if wasting time rebuilding existing content that works was not necessary?  Would you and your team like to spend time on game changing solutions instead of reinventing the wheel?  If so, you MUST attend our webinar on What Every Executive Needs to Know about Dealing with Multiple BI Systems. 

Questions, call us at 813-415-2910.  Register for this complimentary, thought provoking event!

Webinar

What Every Executive Needs to Know about Dealing with Multiple BI Systems

What Every Executive Needs to Know about Dealing with Multiple BI Systems

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

1-2 PM Eastern 

How to Create your Analytics Roadmap without Hiring Expensive Consultants – Part 2

How to Create your Analytics Roadmap without Hiring Expensive Consultants. – Part 2
How to Create your Analytics Roadmap without Hiring Expensive Consultants. – Part 2
Written by Heather Cole, June 23rd, 2021

Are you ready to create your analytics roadmap?  Maybe you had a misstep in the past and are a little gun shy.  Well, have no fear, Lodestar is here.  Last week we shared with you how to create your analytics roadmap without hiring expensive consultants. Check out last weeks blog here.  This week we will take you through the next 3 steps to what Lodestar Solutions recommends for clients that want to start their analytic journey, but don’t have a budget to hire consultants.  These are the same steps we take our Cognos Analytics and Planning Analytics clients through that need help creating their analytics roadmaps. 

4. Engage Data Experts

Engage with Data Experts

The one thing every analytics journey needs is good, clean data.  So, the next step is to find out who are the data experts in your organization and explain to them your idea.  Even if you know where the data is do not tell them you need access to a particular data source, rather ask them how they think you could get the data you need.  They are the keepers of the data.  You want to honor their role and that sometimes you do not know the best place to get the data.  Most organizations have data lakes, mart, source systems… all containing valuable information.  But only the data experts know where you should get the cleanest data.   

Want to know more about clean data?  Check out this Forbes blog The Death Of Dirty Data: The Importance Of Keeping Your Database Clean. 

5. Create a Pilot Plan for Your First Analytic Destination

Now that you have an idea of what challenge you are tackling with data and analytics, and you identified the stakeholders and data experts, it is time to create a plan to pilot your analytics idea.  The great thing is even if you do not own a robust Business Intelligence like Cognos or Planning software like IBM Planning Analytics today, you can do this in Excel.  I believe you need to work with what you have available to prove your theory.  If you have heard me speak, I often talk about the MacGyver approach to analytics.  Here’s a link to an earlier blog I wrote on the MacGyver approach, The MacGyver Approach to BI and Analytics when you have limited resources.

For IBM Cognos Planning Analytics Clients:  If you happen to own Cognos Planning Analytics (TM1) you are set!  I love Cognos Planning Analytics for building your analytics pilot.  Cognos Planning analytics can bring in data from multiple data sources and allow you to model and report off the information.  The latest version of Planning Analytics (Workspace) even has dashboarding capabilities in IBM.  For more information on the latest version of Planning Analytics Workspace check out our blog, What’s New in Planning Analytics Workspace Version 61 and 62. 

Planning Analytics Workspace

Regardless of the tool you are using, remember, this is a pilot.  As soon as you create your analytic dashboard, report or scorecard, someone will say, “can you have it do….”  But that is okay.  This is an agile process.  Your goal should be to create a deliverable that you can share with the stakeholders and get their feedback. 

6. Deploy For your First Analytic Destination on Your Roadmap

Now that you have a plan, it is time to deploy your plan and start your journey on your analytic roadmap.  It does not matter what tool you are using, whether it is in Excel, IBM Cognos Planning Analytics, or another tool, you must just start!  It will not be perfect, it will need modification, but you started!  And getting started is the first step in any journey. 

As a smart person once said (not me originally),

“You don’t have to be great to start.  But you have to start to be great!”

It is important to know that U-turns and rerouting during your journey is absolutely okay!  That is how we refine and improve.

7. Repeat Steps 1-6

Once you have accomplished steps 1-6, guess what?  It is time to celebrate and repeat the process with another analytic idea.  Like any good journey your analytic adventure will not just have one destination.  It will have many and like life will continue to evolve as your organization and the world changes. 

Need Help with Your Analytics Roadmap?

If you need assistance or want to have someone help you facilitate discussions around your Analytic Roadmap, reach out to me at hcole@lodestarsolutions.com

In Conclusion

I am so excited for you to start your adventure.  If you have tried to start and had a misstep, don’t worry.  Lodestar Solutions has your back!  We are happy to discuss your specific journey and challenges. 

We are hosting a complimentary webinar for you to ask questions.

How to Create your Analytics Roadmap without Hiring Expensive Consultants

Thursday June 24th, at 12:30 PM Eastern

To Register click here

In the How to Create your Analytics Roadmap without Hiring Expensive Consultants webinar I will share stories from decades of implementing analytic solutions including Cognos Analytics and Planning Analytics.  I will also provide additional secrets to success to create your Analytics Roadmap.  

Four More Things Every Cognos Client Needs to Know About an IBM Audit (Part 2)

Four More Things Every Cognos Client Needs to Know About IBM Audits
Four More Things Every Cognos Client Needs to Know About IBM Audits
March 26th, 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 Cognos and Planning Analytics software usage.  Last week we shared Six Things Every Cognos and Planning Analytics Client Needs to Know About IBM Audits.  This week here are four more things every Cognos and Planning Analytics client needs to know about an IBM audit.

1. IBM requires many Cognos and Planning Analytics clients to order and install a tool to monitor core processing usage (ILMT Tool).

If you have Cognos Analytics or Planning Analytics in a virtualized environment and your licensing includes Processor Value Unit licensing (PVU) you will be required to install the IBM License Metric Tool (ILMT).

Over the years IBM changed their agreement and introduced the requirement to install their IBM License Metric Tool (ILMT).  This happened when more clients moved to virtualized environments.  And if you think about it, it makes sense.  In a virtualized environment it is easy to allocate more cores to your environment to increase performance.  Since the PVU licensing is by core, IBM needed a way to monitor the core usage to ensure people who had PVU licensing were not exceeding their licensing.

See our earlier blog ILMT Tool Questions and Answers for more details on the ILMT.

What’s the Penalty?

If you have virtualized your Cognos environment and are only using a fraction of the cores for your Cognos or Planning Analytics solutions, then you fall under IBM’s sub capacity rules.  The IBM contract language states that if you do not install the ILMT then IBM reserves the right to charge you the full capacity of your environment.  That can be HUGE!

Lodestar Solutions has seen well intending IT professionals increase the cores used for Cognos and Planning Analytics only to cause the organization to fail an IBM audit.

Candidly IBM did not do a good job of informing Cognos and Planning Analytic clients of this new requirement, but it the client’s responsibility to ensure they do not accidentally become out of compliance.  Ignorance of the rules is not a defense.

How Do I Know If I Have the ILMT Installed?

First look at your Proof of Entitlements and see if you have the ILMT listed as a part you own.  If it’s not on your entitlements, you would not be able to download it.  If it is listed, then check with your IT team to see if it was actually installed and if they are downloading the reports at least every 90 days.

Lack of having the ILMT tool installed is a primary cause of audit failure.

2. Upgrading Your Cognos or Planning Analytics environment could affect your Cognos licensing needs.

When you upgrade your Cognos or Planning Analytics environment it is recommended to put the new environment on new hardware.  This could result in the PVU rating of your machines to increase from a 70 rated machine to a 100 PVU rated machine.  (To see the latest machine ratings from IBM check out Processor Value Units)

If this happens you will need more PVU licensing to have the same number of cores assigned to our Cognos system. 

Additionally, clients moving from older TM1 or BI versions to the latest may find that they need additional cores assigned to the new Cognos environment.  Remember if you are on the PVU licensing and you allocate more core processing power, you will need to buy additional IBM Cognos licensing.

Lodestar Solutions fully appreciates how confusing the PVU licensing can be.  Here is an earlier blog on What the Heck is an IBM Cognos PVU?  Just know you don’t have to figure this out alone. Lodestar is here to help.

Email Services@lodestarsolutions.com and we would be happy to share our PVU calculation tool so that you can ensure you are not overusing and subject to failing an IBM audit.

3. Many clients are in an outdated licensing model which may result in paying more than you should for IBM support.

Over the years IBM Cognos and Planning Analytics licensing has changed many times.  Some clients purchased their licensing many years ago but have not updated their licensing.  As a result, they could be paying more than they should for their Cognos or Planning Analytics system. 

Cognos Express Licensing

Lodestar Solutions has helped many clients that have smaller deployments under 100 users move into the Cognos Express and Planning Analytics Express licensing model which is designed for mid-market clients and smaller deployments. The Express licensing is the same software just a different licensing.

Moving Cognos Analytics clients from Authorized Users to Processor Value Unit Licensing

For other Cognos Analytics clients who had a lot of casual Cognos users and owned authorized user licensing, Lodestar moved them to a PVU licensing.  The PVU licensing model for these clients saved the Cognos client significant support dollars and allowed them to add more users at no additional cost.  Typically, this is an option to be explored when a Cognos Analytics client has over 500 Cognos authorized users. 

Moving Planning Analytics clients from server plus user licensing to PA Advanced

The majority of IBM Planning Analytic clients are on a server plus user licensing model.  This model does require PVU licensing for production and non-production along with individual user licenses.  A few years back, IBM introduced a new license called the Planning Analytics Advanced licensing that has two flavors; PVU based, or Users based.  This is a fabulous and more simplified licensing that Lodestar recommends all Planning Analytic clients evaluate.  The best time to migrate your licenses is at renewal time.

If you want to discover what your licensing option are, Lodestar Solutions is here to help.  Email us at Renewals@lodestarsolutions.com to set up a free Cognos licensing consultation.

4. Cognos clients cannot maintain support on a portion of the authorized users installed and in service.  It is all or nothing.

Cognos and Planning Analytics clients that want to decrease their user counts can do so, but there may be a hidden penalty.  If you are currently paying below IBM list price for your Cognos or Planning Analytics support, and you want to decrease your user counts, you may see a greater uplift on the ones you keep.  This is because you are no longer qualifying for the same IBM volume discount.

The second thing to know is that if you decrease the number of users you are paying to support, you MUST delete the unsupported users from your system.  You are not allowed to pay for support on a portion of your licenses and keep using all your original licenses. 

For example:  If you owned 2 Cognos Administrators and 100 Cognos Analytic users but at renewal time you wanted only to renew 1 Cognos Admin and 50 users, you must remove the 1 admin and 50 users you discontinued support on.

It’s important to know that if you have on-premise, perpetual licensing, it is an asset.  And you have a legal right to use your Cognos licenses indefinitely without support.  Although Lodestar does not advise that.  However, IBM does not allow you to try to cheat the system and pay support only on a fraction of your licenses and use all the licenses originally purchased.

Lodestar’s recommendation is to always keep your Cognos and Planning Analytics users under IBM’s support and maintenance program.  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.

Summary

We realized our list of ten things every Cognos client needs to know about IBM audits may have just created more questions.  Oh, if you missed the first 6 things you need to know about an IBM Audit, click here to see our earlier blog.  

Lodestar Solutions is here to help you answer all your IBM Cognos and Planning Analytic licensing and IBM support questions.  But you should also check out our recent webinar on How to Avoid Failing an IBM Analytics Audit.  This is now available on our Lodestar Solutions YouTube channel.  You might want to subscribe to our Lodestar Solutions YouTube Channel   while you are there.

Call Lodestar

For your complimentary What the Heck Do I Own Cognos Consultation and to ask questions you may have, reach out to Sales@lodestarsolutions.com or call 813-415-2910. We are here to show you a better way.

Six Things Every Cognos Client Needs to Know About an IBM Audit (Part 1)

Six Things Every Client Needs to Know About IBM Audits
Six Things Every Client Needs to Know About IBM Audits
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 renewals@lodestarsolutions.com 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!

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!

Questions You Should Ask When Upgrading to the IBM Cloud Pak for Data

Questions You Should Ask When Upgrading to Cloud Pak for Data
Questions You Should Ask When Upgrading to Cloud Pak for Data
March 11th, 2021

IBM is actively encouraging existing IBM Cognos Analytics and Planning Analytics (TM1) clients to migrate to their new model of licensing called Cloud Pak for Data.  IBM renewal reps, sales reps and partners are all encouraged to present and encourage clients to migrate.  They call this the Cognos Modernization Upgrade program.  For forward thinking Cognos and Planning Analytics clients, this is a great opportunity.  This blog will cover the Questions You Should Ask When Upgrading to the IBM Cloud Pak for Data.

What is an IBM Cloud Pak for Data?

With the acquisition of Red Hat, IBM is in the process of combining their technologies.  As a result, in 2020 they released the new IBM Cloud Pak programs which packages Red Hat OpenShift with various IBM offerings.  These programs also come with new licensing models that allow Planning Analytics and Cognos clients to leverage Red Hat and IBM’s containerized environment.  The concept is that the containerized environment will allow for faster upgrades, more integration, and more flexibility.  

Reference: See our earlier blog, Modernizing Cognos Licenses the Path to the Future with Cloud Pak for Data which goes into more details on IBM Cloud Pak for Cognos Analytics and Planning Analytics customers.  Or visit IBM’s site

Does your company currently own IBM Cognos Analytics or Planning Analytics on-premise, perpetual licenses? 

If you have owned Cognos for a while and are not leveraging IBM’s SaaS option where IBM does all your upgrades and backups, you are probably on a perpetual license, which means you own it as an asset on your Balance Sheet.  The reason you want to know this is that this helps to determine which options are available to you when trading up to the IBM Cloud Pak for Data. 

If you don’t know what type of licensing you own, email renewals@lodestarsolutions.com and we can help you.

IBM Has a Couple Flavors of IBM Cloud Pak for Data for Planning Analytics and Cognos

  •  A perpetual license that requires you to upgrade your existing licenses to one that includes the Cloud Pak for Data entitlements.
  • A subscription model that can be on-premise, but is a subscription so typically an operating expense, not an asset.

There is no right answer as to which is a better option.  The best flavor of the IBM Cloud Pak for Data depends on a few factors that are unique for each client, like does your CFO want operating expenses or capital expenses? 

For more information on this check out the CIO.com article, Can I capitalize my system implementation or get tax advantages?

Lodestar Solutions is happy to discuss the options to help you choose the right option.  Just email us at sales@lodestarsolutions.com.

Does your company plan to leverage advanced technology and simplify the costs of connecting to lots of data sources?

If you answered no, I must ask you, “What are you thinking?”  Of course, your company wants to leverage advanced technology.  IBM has invested in amazing technology and now they are starting to blend them to better serve their clients.  I fully appreciate that maybe now is not the time to implement the new technology.  Maybe you don’t want to be an early adopter, but what if I told you there’s a why to upgrade your licenses so when you are ready you already have the licensing needed?

Now is a good time to set yourself up for long term success!

This is purely speculation, but I have seen it many times in the tech industry, clients that upgrade their licenses early in the roll out usually do so at the lowest price.  So, if I was a Cognos or Planning Analytics client, I would consider trading my licenses up now, but keep my software on-premises or in the cloud, so business as usual.  This would allow me later, when I am ready, to use the new technology of the IBM Cloud Pak for Data.

Here’s the IBM Secret -

The IBM team, at least in North America, has committed to help make it possible for clients to leverage their support renewal dollars to upgrade their licenses.  Everyone’s situation is a little unique, but let’s chat and see how you can get even more functionality out of your IBM Planning Analytics and Cognos support dollars.

When is your current IBM software up for renewal?

The best time to upgrade your licensing is the same time it’s always been.

BEST TIME TO CHANGE PLANNING ANALYTICS AND COGNOS LICENSING IS AT TIME OF RENEWAL!

When you upgrade your licensing, IBM includes 1 year of support and subscription.  Therefore, the best time to discuss upgrading to IBM Cloud Pak for Data Analytics is a couple months before your renewal.  The worst time is if you just renewed.  Contact Lodestar Solutions today and let’s start the IBM Cloud Pak for Data conversation and explore if trading up your licensing is a strategic move for you!

Email Renewals@lodestarsolutions.com to set up a complimentary discussion about your licensing.

More Questions?

I hope this blog on Questions You Should Ask When Upgrading to the IBM Cloud Pak for Data was informative, but I also appreciate this is just the tip of the iceberg.  This technology and licensing is so new, it’s constantly evolving, but I believe it’s time to start seeing down the road and set your IT team up for success.  Let’s continue the conversation.  Email Sales@lodestarsolutions.com and set up a time for us to discover how you can get more out of your IBM Planning Analytics and Cognos investment.

Modernizing Cognos Licenses the Path to the Future with Cloud Pak for Data

Modernize my Cognos Licenses with IBM Cloud Pak for Data
Modernize my Cognos Licenses with IBM Cloud Pak for Data
March 4th, 2021

Has IBM reached out to you stating that you qualify for an upgrade to modernize Cognos licensing?  Recently, several Lodestar Solutions’ clients received emails from IBM renewal reps and sales reps indicating they qualify for an upgrade on their Cognos licenses which IBM calls the “modernization” of the Cognos licenses.  So, I thought I would help answer the question, “Modernizing your Cognos licenses the Path to the Future with Cloud Pak for Data and what does it mean?” 

What does Modernizing Cognos licenses with IBM Cloud Pak for Data Mean?

IBM like all software companies is constantly creating new technology and with that comes new licensing and subscription options.  You may remember the last major overhaul of IBM Cognos licenses took place in 2014 where they simplified and supersized your Cognos BI licensing. See our blog on 2014 IBM Cognos BI License Changes or our video.

In July 2019 IBM purchased Red Hat for $34 Billion. IBM bought Red Hat for its development of the largest portfolio of open source technology, its hybrid cloud platform and a vast open source developer community.  The acquisition makes IBM the world's leading hybrid multi-cloud provider.

When you spend $34 billion for a company you know you need to do something with the technology.  It’s not surprising in 2020 IBM launched a new licensing initiative that bundles their existing technologies like Cognos in with Red Hat technology, and they are doing so with what they call IBM Cloud Pak for Data.

IBM Cloud Pak for Data

According to IBM, “IBM Cloud Pak® for Data is a fully integrated data and AI platform that helps modernize the way you collect, organize and analyze data to infuse AI.  The platform is cloud native and is designed to add powerful new capabilities for data management, DataOps, governance, business analytics and AI.  There is no need to integrate costly point solutions.  IBM Cloud Pak for Data delivers the modern information architecture to turn AI aspirations into tangible business outcomes while improving governance and protecting your data.”

I don’t know about you, but I’ve read that numerous times and still asked myself, “What the heck is IBM’s Cloud Pak for data?” 

What the Heck is IBM’s Cloud Pak for Data

Let me attempt to decode IBMeze into something non-techies can understand.  IBM Cloud Pak for Data is a bundle of technology that can be deployed as a container.  As I explained in my earlier blog, What are IBM Cognos Cloud Pak for Data Containers?  containers are executable units of software which package up the application code along with its libraries and dependencies, so it can be run anywhere, like a desktop, server, or cloud.

For Cognos clients looking to move to IBM’s Cloud Pak for Data for Analytics by modernizing Cognos by leveraging the Cognos extension (called a cartridge), they will get 3 components:
  1. Red Hat OpenShift – (restricted use)
    2. Cloud Pak for Data Control Pane – Foundational Services
    3. IBM Cognos Analytics Software Licenses
IBM Cartridge

Why should I modernize Cognos and move to a Cloud Pak for Data for Analytics Licensing model?

There are several benefits to modernizing Cognos and moving to the Cloud Pak for Data for Analytics Licensing model.  The hybrid cloud does create an interesting flexible environment that many believe will help companies save money and time integrating all their data sources.  I appreciate many clients aren’t ready for this new technology but there’s a reason you might want to modernize your Cognos licensing so you can deploy the technology later. 

Modernizing Cognos Now!

IBM has done a cool thing in that clients that trade up or upgrade, “modernize” their licenses then the cartridge licenses have the dual deployment entitlement.  To move ALL licenses to dual deployment, a trade up or Upgrade (Modernization play) of all current entitlements to the cartridge parts is required. IBM is very determined to get clients to move to the new Cloud Pak for Data model which means OPPORTUNITY!

Clients that believe they will want to move to a containerized, hybrid cloud model, would be wise to seriously look at this opportunity now.  Currently IBM has created an environment where you might be able to move to the new Cloud Pak for Data Analytics at renewal time and do it for very little cost.

What If We Aren’t’ Ready for Hybrid Cloud?

If your organization is not ready for the new technology that’s okay!  By modernizing Cognos by investing in the Cloud Pak for Data Analytics cartridge for your Cognos and Cognos Planning Analytics you do NOT have to deploy the cartridge software.  The customer can install on/remain on Windows/Linux/Unix, in other words on premise and then when you are ready deploy the cartridge software.

It’s like the invest now strategy, like buying a lot in an area you know is growing and that someday you would like to build a house to live.  But buying it while the land is cheap.  Then when your family is ready you build on it.

Dual Deployment for Cognos

If you own the Cloud Pak for Data Cognos cartridge, you have entitlements referred to as "dual deployment," meaning you can deploy 100% on Windows/Linux/Unix, OR 100% on CP4D/OpenShift, OR a combination of both.  The only limitation is that you cannot exceed their total license entitlement.

Example:  If you own 50 Planning Analytics (TM1) licenses, you can use all 50 on Windows/Linux/Unix, OR all 50 on Cloud Pak for Data OpenShift, or any combination up to 50 total across both deployments (40/10, 25/25, and so forth).

Time is of Essence for Trading Up - ACT NOW!

Now is the time for modernizing Cognos licenses!  Rumor has it that in North America the IBM Data and AI sales has committed for a short time to matching end user price on cartridge parts as compared to stand alone parts.  I don’t think this will last forever, so Lodestar Solutions recommends we have a chat to see if Cloud Pak for Data is a good fit for your Cognos or Cognos Planning Analytics environment.  

Let's Talk:

Email us at sales@lodestarsolutions.com to set up a complimentary consultation on your licenses.  Or just call 813-415-2910.

How Do I Retrieve My Folder Cognos Content from a Deleted User?

How Do I Retrieve My Folder Cognos Content from a Deleted User?
How Do I Retrieve My Folder Cognos Content from a Deleted User?
August 15th
How Do I Retrieve My Folder Cognos Content from a Deleted User?

As a Cognos BI Administrator, you arrive early on a Monday.  While sipping your Americano coffee, you read an email. “HELP! We accidentally deleted Mary from Active Directory last week, but we recreated her profile. However, she still can’t see her reports in her Cognos My Folder. This is urgent!” You immediately think, crap the new Active Directory profile must have created a new CAMID in Cognos.  How do I retrieve My Folder Cognos content from a deleted user?

Deleted Cognos User’s Content Still Exists

When a user is deleted in a Cognos namespace all of their content in their My Folder gets orphaned and is difficult to access.  The good news is, you didn’t lose it. The content of a Cognos user that is deleted still exists.  For clients that have used Cognos BI for years you can imagine how much extra junk is sitting in your content store as a result of Cognos users leaving the company, and being deleted through Active Directory. But their content is still sitting in your Cognos Content Store, taking up space. 

How Can you Retrieve the content?

You could import the content store from last week, prior to the deletion, into a sandbox to find the profile that says the CAMID is missing. You could then run an SDK script to query the content store for orphaned My Folders. Just a note that every Cognos Administrator license now includes an SDK license, so you don’t have to worry about licensing of the SDK. If you didn’t know that IBM changed the Cognos BI Administrator licensing a few years ago, please see our previous blog on this topic:

But if you don’t have the Cognos SDK installed you can still manually retrieve the contents of the My Folder. Here’s a link to IBM’s site to explain how.

And if you want to install the SDK here’s a link to the Cognos SDK version 11 installation guide.

Now you might be thinking, Lodestar isn’t there an easier way?

The Easy Way to Access Orphaned Content - Motio

The easiest way to access the orphaned content is leverage the functionality of MotioPI. Motio is a fabulous company, and partner of Lodestar Solutions, that creates tools that every IBM Cognos Administrator should have. Their tools help save administrators huge amounts of time, and headaches. 

Motio Orphaned Objects Snapshot
MotioPI

MotioPI is a tool that includes the ability to easily identify the orphaned Cognos reports and objects and then either delete the content to clean up your ever-growing content store, or move it to an accessible location. To see a demo of how easy this is visit the Motio site by clicking ​HERE NOW. ​​​

The cool thing is that Motio makes some of their software available to everyone! Don’t have a budget, no worry. Motio has made their MotioPI tool, the basic version, free!

To get the free copy of MotioPI access this link.
When you register please select Lodestar Solutions as the Business Partner that referred you.    

So now you know the best answer to, "How do I retrieve My Folder Cognos Content from a Deleted User?” is to leverage the right tool, MotioPI.  But as we stated Motio does so much more! Yes, their free MotioPI is great! But when you want to get serious about maintaining your content store, doing mass changes and most importantly controlling your version, then we should talk about all of Motio’s offerings. Here’s a link to our previous blog on some of the other Motio tools for Cognos clients.

Let’s Talk

Lodestar Solutions is an authorized reseller of Motio tools. So, when you want to make your life easier, or when you are ready to upgrade to Cognos Analytics 11 and want to do it faster and cheaper, contact Lodestar Solutions. Email Services@lodestarsolutions.com to schedule a free discussion of how Motio tools can make you look like a Cognos Ninja! We want to hear your challenges and work with you to make life better.

Cognos – Rip & Replace vs Review & Renew

8/8/2017

rip-replace-vs-review-renew

We at Lodestar have been alerting IBM Cognos Business Intelligence users that standard support for version 10.2.X will be ending in April 2018 (EOS Cognos BI). Though not yet officially announced, IBM Cognos TM1 10.2.x won't be much further behind (EOS Cognos TM1). In case this is the first time you're hearing about it, "NO" Chicken Little, the sky isn't falling and no need to rip & replace.   As long as you are current on your Subscription & Support (S&S), you are entitled to the software free of charge for the new versions. Cognos Business Intelligence has been rebranded as IBM Cognos Analytics and TM1 has been rebranded as IBM Planning Analytics. Both of the new versions have made the user experience easier and have added additional functionality. These are best in class solutions that are scalable across your enterprise and embedded in IBM's progressive analytics platform.

In general, these Cognos products are not taxing on the resources of an IT department. Cognos has been designed for business users to maintain their own report writing and analytic modeling; therefore, they may fall off the IT maintenance radar.  Because of this, when upgrades need to be done and your IT resources are called in, their answer may be "We don't have the time for this" or "We didn't install it in the first place".   If your IT department doesn't have the resources available, the next conversation should be with Lodestar Solutions who can assist you with your upgrade.

Don't be a Chicken Little!!!

However, there are Chicken Littles out there that even if the consulting estimate is for $1.99, thinks that a rip & replace is the answer.

One Chicken Little can sound more like the typical get together with my family - "Why'd you buy it in the first place?", "Get rid of it!", "I got a guy that can fix it!", "What did it ever do for you?", "What did you ever do for me?", "You tell 'em where they can put it!" - all being shouted at once.

I mention this, because it is usually around the end of a version's support or right before the annual S&S renewal occurs that someone wants to rip & replace your existing solution. It's a knee-jerk reaction. Replacing software has expensive cost and resource implications, while dropping S&S on existing software without a new solution in place opens you up for a whole other can of costly and risky worms.

Renew & Review

That is why I suggest a review & renew approach.   IBM is giving you more functionality that is even easier to use in these upgrades.  Do an assessment of the validity of your existing reports and models - see what's working, what's not working and what you can do to improve your analytics. Not many companies can say their business is the same as it was 5 years ago, yet they continue to analyze it the same way. Time to clear-out the outdated, update your solution leveraging the new functionality and streamline maintenance that you've been putting off. Have Lodestar Solutions review your environment and see where you can make improvements. Upgrading your software and few quick review and design sessions could save you tens of thousands of dollars compared to rip & replace and you may even qualify for free consulting time!!!

So contact us at Services@LodestarSolutions.com and we'd be happy to help. 

Need Cognos Analytics v11 Training, click here!

 

 

Who Doesn’t Like Top Notch Service? Call Lodestar’s Concierge Service For The Best!

5/18/2017
concierge service

Concierge Service? Sign me up!

Do you find yourself running into Cognos road blocks from time to time? Maybe you just need a quick answer to an easy fix? Could it be that you have a simple question that you don't want to have to call IBM Support for? Well then you have come to the right place! Lodestar Solutions is excited to announce their new Concierge Service offering! If you are a new client or a new support renewal at Lodestar you may qualify for this amazing service. Now you are probably wondering how do I qualify for this service? You'll just have to keep on reading...

To qualify for our Concierge Service you must be one of the following:

  1. A net new Cognos customer for Lodestar Solutions
  2. A net new renewal client for Lodestar Solutions

If you are either one of the above please contact sales@lodestarsolutions.com. If you are a current Cognos shop we'll give you a comprehensive one hour What The Heck Do I Own session to learn more about your software investment and our Concierge offering. We can offer discounts from IBM pricing on your next Cognos support renewal bill. Trust me, you won't want to miss out on this amazing opportunity! 

Lodestar Solutions will quickly become a trusted advisor in your free one hour What The Heck Do I Own session. In this one hour session, Lodestar's Sales Team will take you through a thorough software entitlement review. This review will help to make sure your company is licensed properly, determine if any licenses can be dropped, or if you need to add additional user counts. 

After all, who doesn't like impeccable service at all times? Lodestar's Concierge Service will make your life easier by knowing that we are only an email or phone call away with an answer to your Cognos question. Don't miss out on this exciting opportunity, email us at services@lodestarsolutions.com

If you haven't gotten the opportunity to check out our Cognos Clubs please follow the link below. Our Cognos Clubs are packed full of videos and various things you may not have already known about! 

Always remember, what are the costs associated with bad service? Come to us for best in class Cognos service. We look forward to working with you and your company! ​




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