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!

IBM Cognos Support Renewals Consolidated With Other IT Assets?

Should We Consolidate IBM Cognos Support Renewals With Other IT Assets?

Consolidating IBM Cognos Support Renewals with Other IT Assets

August 22, 2019

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…

Procurement may save you money on Cognos but could expose you to failing an audit.

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.

The Audit

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.)

Replacement Program 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.

What to know before IBM Audits Your IBM Cognos Analytics and Planning Analytics Licenses.

IBM Audits
IBM Audits
1/3/19

Have you ever received a notice that IBM is auditing your IBM Cognos Analytics and/or Cognos Planning Analytics licensing?  Did you get a hot flash of adrenaline?  You know the oh sh*t moment?  Today, I’ll share some valuable information on what you should know before IBM audits your IBM Cognos Analytics (BI) and Planning Analytics (TM1) licenses.

Last week I was talking to a Business Intelligence (BI) Manager at a client.  This individual was relatively new to his company and within a month of taking the job he received a notice from IBM that they were auditing him. He was very frustrated because this was the third company that he had join and every time he received a notice of audit from IBM shortly after starting a new job.  I explained to him, he’s not being targeted, but IBM audits regularly, and it doesn’t matter how big or small your IBM Cognos deployment. Everyone who is a client, is subject to an audit.  And so are you!  

Cognos IBM Audits should not be a big deal if you understand the licensing and are compliant! 

Here’s what you should know before IBM Audits Your IBM Cognos Analytics and Planning Analytics Licenses along with links to more detailed blogs on related topics.

What type of Licensing Do You have?

The two primary types of IBM Cognos licenses are Authorized Users and Processor Value unit.  Many Cognos Analytics (BI) clients have only authorized users licensing but some clients with a large number of users may have some users as authorized users like their administrator as well as some users as PVU (server) based licensing.  Whereas, Cognos Planning Analytics (TM1) is typically sold as a server + user licensing model where both PVU’s and authorized users are required. 

Authorized User Licensing

An authorized user is a unit of measure by which the Program can be licensed. An authorized user is a unique person who is given access to the Program. The Program may be installed on any number of computers or servers and each Authorized User may have simultaneous access to any number of instances of the Program at one time. Licensee must obtain separate, dedicated entitlements for each authorized ser given access to the Program in any manner directly or indirectly (for example: via a multiplexing program, device, or application server) through any means. An entitlement for an authorized user is unique to that authorized user and may not be shared, nor may it be reassigned other than for the permanent transfer of the Authorized User entitlement to another person.

For more license definitions see http://www-01.ibm.com/software/passportadvantage/about_software_licensing.html#types

In other words, every user needs to have their own license! This includes your consultants regardless if they are IBM Consultants, an IBM Partner like Lodestar, or an independent.  Yes, as partners we pay to have access to the software through our partnership, but it prohibits us from using our licenses in your environment.

More information you should know about the authorized user model

https://lodestarsolutions.com/protect-yourself-in-an-ibm-cognos-audit/

Processor Value Unit (PVU) Licensing

 A Processor Value Unit, PVU,  is a unit of measure used to differentiate licensing of software on distributed processor technologies (defined by Processor Vendor, Brand, Type and Model Number). Simply put, it is a calculation of power and speed that is translated to a licensing model and thus licensing cost.   For Cognos Analytics (BI) licenses that are PVU based have unlimited number of users provided you are experience good performance.  You can read more about IBM PVU by clicking this link to our blog https://lodestarsolutions.com/what-the-heck-is-an-ibm-cognos-pvu/or going to the IBM site at http://www-01.ibm.com/software/passportadvantage/pvu_licensing_for_customers.html#fullsubcap

Watch out for server upgrades if you have PVU licensing. 

A common situation for clients that fail an audit is that at some point in time they upgraded their servers to get better performance without ever thinking about the licensing ramifications.  Upgrading our servers may result in the server having a higher PVU rating and therefore requiring you to purchase additional IBM Cognos licensing. So, before you upgrade your servers always check if the PVU rating of your new servers is higher than your old and check how many cores you have allocated. 

How do I count my PVU’s for IBM Cognos Analytics and Planning Analytics?

Before you are audited you want to make sure you know how many PVU’s you are using.  We recommend you review your PVU usage at least annually with your support renewal.  To calculate the PVU’s you look up the PVU rating of your server on IBM’s website and then multiply that buy the number of core processor you have allocated. In order to get the PVU rating of your server go to the IBM website here .

http://www-01.ibm.com/software/lotus/passportadvantage/pvu_licensing_for_customers.html But wait, if it could only be that easy. There are a couple of points you must note.
  1. If you don’t have the ILMT (IBM License Monitoring Tool) installed, IBM might determine you need licensing for the entire server, even if you virtualized it. (More on this later)
  2.  You need to know what servers to count to calculate the PVU.  We have another blog written on this topic with more details. https://lodestarsolutions.com/calculating-pvu-processor-value-unit-in-ibm-cognos/
I have a mixed environment consisting of authorized users and PVU. 

For some of you, you have a mixed environment of authorized users and PVUs. For Cognos Planning Analytics this is almost always the case as the typical enterprise (not Express) licensing model for on premise software is server + authorized user.  But if you have BI licenses you may have what I call a creative environment.  Creative because someone that was trying to save as much money as possible may have decided that light weight users didn’t need as much processing power so they decide to have those users be under a PVU licensing model, maybe for the Information Distribution licenses.  Where as other users are authorized users so they can be routed to more powerful servers. This is accomplished by leveraging dispatchers. .  We have another blog written on this topic with more details.

https://lodestarsolutions.com/separating-authorized-user-from-pvu-users/

THE Big Gotcha for many clients facing IBM Audits is not having the ILMT Tool installed. 

The IBM Licensing Monitoring Tool, ILMT is typically required for enterprise clients that have virtualized their environment and have IBM Cognos Analytics BI PVU licensing or Cognos Planning Analytics (TM1). The IBM License Metric Tool [ILMT] helps maintain an inventory of the PVU based software deployed for your Full Capacity or Virtualization (Sub-) Capacity environment and it measures the PVU licenses required by software. It is intended to help you manage your IBM software licensing requirements and help you be ready if you get audited. Customers are responsible for supplying hardware and installation services required for installing the tool. It is not part of the software download and not typically installed by IBM partners implementing BI or TM1. It’s up to you to know if you need it and get it installed.

Here’s a few links to other blogs on this topic.
Another common issue is not having licensing for non-production environments: 

Here the deal if you have PVU licensing and you have a non-production environment like test, dev, QA you most likely need to pay for licensing for your non-production environment too.  You do not need additional licensing if you are a authorized users licensing model without any PVU licensing.  Now there are a few exceptions and if you are wondering it they apply to you, just email us your configuration of licensing and we will let you know our thoughts. Email Services@lodestarsolutions.com

What if I suspect I have a licensing issue? 

If you suspect you may need more licensing your options are contingent on if you already received a notice of IBM Audits. 

  • If you have already received the notice, my advice is to clean up end former employees in your system and keep open lines of communication with the auditors.  IBM will not let you buy additional licenses at a discount from IBM or a partner before the audit is over to resolve an anticipated audit issue

Note IBM reserves the right to charge clients list price plus back support for any licenses they deem you are using beyond what you own.

  • If you have not received an notice of audit, call us at Lodestar Solutions 813-415-2910 or email Sales@lodestarsolutions.com We will help you understand where you stand and provide a plan to make sure you don’t have any licensing issues, while getting you the best price possible.
  • Are you in the optimal IBM Analytics licensing model?

    If your IBM licensing is complex and you have either a lot of Cognos Analytics (BI) users or if you have Cognos Planning Analytics (TM1) with a lot of PVUs and relatively small number of users or if you have a lot of users and a relatively small number of PVUs, there may be a more advantageous licensing model for you.  Let’s chat.  Email Sales@lodestarsolutions.com and get a free initial consultation. 

    A word of caution

    Don’t avoid the auditors. The more open you are with them, the better off you will be. If you are a jerk, they may be too. 

    The best way to avoid issues with IBM Audits

    Lodestar Solutions offers all of our clients a free annual review with your renewal.  In this review we will help you understand what the heck you own. Contact Lodestar for more details. 

    One more word of caution. 

    Don’t avoid the auditors. The more open you are with them, the better off you will be. If you are a jerk, they may be too. 

    Steps to Mitigate Your Risk of Failing an IBM Cognos License Audit

    1/14/2016

    Do you currently own IBM Cognos BI, TM1, or SPSS licenses? As a Business Analytics Coach at Lodestar Solutions, I advise clients where the risk factors are in all aspects of their Cognos implementation. IBM licensing, as with any software licensing, comes with a risk.  IBM reserves the right to audit your licenses and the biggest exposure I see for clients is that they did not purchase enough BI, TM1 or SPSS licenses for their users and consultants. Yes, you need to own a license for your consultants! We will now give you some tips so you can limit your worry about an IBM Cognos license audit.

    IBM Cognos licensing models (Cognos Express and Cognos Enterprise) come in two main flavors: user based with “Authorized User” and capacity based with “Processor Value Unit (PVU)”. Please note that there are other IBM licensing models but I will focus on the most common.  Authorized User is the most common model, especially for power users or modelers. A PVU model, conversely, is common in larger BI deployments and required for TM1 along with authorized users.

    Most consultants are brought onboard to develop models or reports, create framework packages and basically be a power user. They hopefully coach your team to be power users.  Since most power user licenses like the BI Admin & the TM1 Modeler are sold as authorized user, we will focus on the definition given by IBM.

    “Authorized user

    “Authorized User is a unit of measure by which the Program can be licensed. An Authorized User is a unique person who is given access to the Program. The Program may be installed on any number of computers or servers and each Authorized User may have simultaneous access to any number of instances of the Program at one time. Licensee must obtain separate, dedicated entitlements for each Authorized User given access to the Program in any manner directly or indirectly (for example: via a multiplexing program, device, or application server) through any means. An entitlement for an Authorized User is unique to that Authorized User and may not be shared, nor may it be reassigned other than for the permanent transfer of the Authorized User entitlement to another person.

    For more license definitions see http://www-01.ibm.com/software/passportadvantage/about_software_licensing.html#types

    In other words, every user needs to have their own license! This includes your consultants regardless if they are IBM Consultants, an IBM Partner like Lodestar, or an independent.  Yes, as partners we pay to have access to the software through our partnership but it prohibits us from using our licenses in your environment.

    STEPS TO MITIGATE YOUR RISK OF FAILING AN IBM COGNOS LICENSE AUDIT

    1. Review the users that are set up with logins to your Cognos system and evaluate what access they need.
    2. Determine what license relates to their access. Lodestar can help you with this or check out our licensing video.
    3. Compare your license needs to your IBM Cognos license entitlements. You IBM Cognos support renewal bill will have your entitlements or email Lodestar to get a copy of them. Sales@lodestarsolutions.com.
    4. If you have Authorized User licensing and don’t have enough, you are at risk and need to do one of two things. Either delete users or purchase additional IBM Cognos Licenses. For a competitive quote from Lodestar, contact us and we will help review your licenses and quote any licenses you need.
    5. If you have Cognos BI PVU licenses, determine what functionality your consultants need. This will govern the license they need. The grid below is provided to help you and is subject to change by IBM.   
    Don't risk an IBM Cognos License Audit
    Property of Lodestar Solutions Inc

    Please note that the BI Analytic user now includes Report Studio so the consultants may be covered under your PVU BI Analytic User license.

    If you're looking for competitive quotes on IBM Cognos licenses or have specific questions about a possible IBM Cognos licensing audit, feel free to call 813-254-2040 or email Sales@LodestarSolutions.com.

    Better yet, if you'd like to get out of the snow and cold, Lodestar is hosting a Cognos Licensing Analysis & Auditing workshop on March 25th, 2016 in sunny Tampa where you can learn more about licensing, auditing and getting more out of what you own. Couple that with our “Destination Dashboard” workshop the prior two days of March 23rd & 24th and it becomes a learning bonanza!

    The “Destination Dashboard” workshop will teach you time saving techniques for your projects, ways to make yourself look like your company's analytics rock star, and repeatable methodology that will help you set each of your projects up for massive success.  To register for either workshop, sign up at AnalyticLeadership.com.

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