Where IBM Cognos Clients Can Go to Get Questions Answered (Part 1)

Where IBM Clients Can Go to Get Questions Answered Part 1
Where IBM Clients Can Go to Get Questions Answered Part 1
December 10th, 2020

Are you a Cognos or TM1 administrator that inherited IBM Cognos?  Maybe you took a new job, and the company uses IBM Analytic solutions, but you don’t even know what IBM Cognos licenses you own, what IBM Cognos functionality is included in your licenses or how to get answers from IBM?  You are not alone.  In this post we will share where IBM Cognos clients can go to get questions answered. 

The first step is to understand the IBM structures, then where to go to get your questions on Cognos licenses, functionality, support renewal and technical issues answered.  This is part 1 of a 2 part, Where IBM Cognos Clients Can Go to Get Answers series.  In part one we will cover IBM Cognos licensing, IBM Cognos functionality and IBM support renewals.  In part 2 of this series, we address how to get technical issues addressed.  (Link to part 2 coming soon!)

Understanding IBM Structures

Before we dive into where to get specific IBM Cognos, Planning Analytics/TM1, SPSS or Controller questions answered, it helps to understand how IBM is structured.  Every IBM client has many IBM representatives assigned to them, and to add to the confusion IBM rotates their teams like the wind. Here are the basics on the IBM structure, but this too can change.

1. IBM Analytics Software Sales Representatives -

The title for the IBM sales rep has changed many times over the years but basically there are people whose job is to sell you additional IBM Cognos licenses and upgrades.  They will say they are there to support you and see you successful, but they are compensated on selling additional IBM Cognos licenses.  They have varying degrees of knowledge, but few really know the software.  However, they are a good source to go to understand what you own, and what upgrades are available.  But remember their goal is to sell you the latest and greatest IBM Cognos licenses.

The IBM Analytics software reps are divided down further by market segment which IBM classifies as IBM Led (the really big companies), Co-Led (typically larger companies) and Business Partner Led (mid-market clients that they want the partner channel to serve).  Over the years IBM has expanded companies they classify as Mid-Market because they are committed to serving these clients and have realized that Business Partners like Lodestar Solutions are better equipped to handle mid-market clients.  This initiative started in 2010, to learn more check out this CIO article.

IBM separated their clients into industry segments as well.  Within the above segments they have IBM Cognos industry specific reps.  Over time IBM changes course on this and sometimes segments clients by geographic territory but for now they have industry focused reps.  But do not get too excited, I still can’t figure out what belongs in each segment.  Recently I was speaking with a professional services firm that IBM classified as the communication industry. 

Where to go if you have IBM Cognos Licensing or IBM Cognos Functionality Questions?

Where should you go if you have a question on your current licenses, or functionality of IBM Cognos or TM1?  Well, you can try to find your sales rep, or you can reach out to Lodestar Solutions.  As a certified IBM Business partner, Lodestar Solutions will not only help you find your IBM assigned Cognos rep, but we will even provide you with a complimentary, “What the Heck Do I Own” session where we discuss your specific IBM Cognos licenses and IBM Cognos functionality.  If you want to find out who your IBM Cognos Analytics rep is and schedule a licensing discussion just email us at Sales@lodestarsolutions.com and we will find your rep for you.

2. IBM Renewal Representatives –

In addition to an IBM sales representative, every IBM Cognos Planning Analytics/TM1, Cognos Analytics/BI, SPSS and Controller client is also assigned an IBM renewal representative.  It’s the renewal representative’s job to make sure you renew your support on-time.  The support rep is not normally knowledgeable in IBM Cognos licensing or IBM Cognos functionality.  The renewal team handles a huge volume of accounts at once and again it is not uncommon for IBM to move their territories around.  So, it can be challenging to find out who your assigned renewal rep is. 

The first place to look is on your last IBM Cognos support renewal bill from IBM, but don’t be surprised if that person is no longer assigned to your account. 

Where to go if you Have IBM Cognos Support Renewal Questions?

If you have questions on your IBM Cognos support renewal bill like, “why did my IBM renewal cost increase 10% over last year?” or “what functionality do my Cognos licenses have?” Lodestar Solutions is happy to help.  We can connect you with the correct renewal rep, answer your IBM Analytic licensing and functionality questions, and help get you the best price on IBM support.  What makes us unique is we understand renewals, licensing and functionality.  Additionally, we implement the solutions so it’s like one stop shopping.  Just email us at renewals@lodestarsolutions.com

You also might want to check out our blogs on renewals such as
Save money on IBM Support Renewals.

 At Lodestar Solutions, we are here to serve.  We hope you now know, Where IBM Cognos Clients Can Go to Get Questions Answered.  But we can make it even easier.  Just contact us at Sales@lodestarsolutions.com.

Difference between Cognos Express and Enterprise Licensing?


If the code and versions are the same, then what’s the difference between Cognos Express and Enterprise licensing?

Answer: User counts and Price!

Difference between Cognos Express and Enterprise

IBM made a big change in Cognos Express this spring when they announced they would eliminate the separate code base of Express. This means Cognos Express would be the same software and version of Cognos Enterprise. Check out Lodestar’s blog on this announcement - Cognos Express Version 10.2.2 = Big Changes. However, the change by IBM’s Business Analytics team actually confused a lot of people.


The biggest restriction is really a licensing or paperwork distinction in the number of users you are allowed to have in Cognos Express. IBM Cognos Express is designed for smaller deployments and mid-market companies. In IBM Cognos Express, you can’t exceed 100 total users of which no more than 50 can be Express TM1/ Performance Management users. If you exceed it, you need to trade up to IBM Cognos Enterprise licensing. Look for a future Lodestar blog on this topic.


The other big difference is the price! Express is priced to make IBM Business Analytics affordable to smaller companies. (Kudos to IBM!) There are some other small difference but today I am going to focus on the cost. To help explain the price differential, I will show you two similar configurations that would be typical in a mid-market business analytics purchase. I will assume the client is looking for Cognos Performance Management (aka TM1) for Business Planning and Forecasting and the robust Cognos Business Intelligence functionality for dashboards, mobile, operational reports and more.

Let’s do a side by side comparison of the licensing cost for IBM Cognos Business Analytics. Cognos Express vs Cognos BI & TM1 Enterprise on premise software. The licensing cost does include one year support.


In Cognos Express, we do not distinguish between users and power users so the licensing is a little more simplistic. The connector covers the server components and gives you up to 1600 PVU’s so we don’t need to calculate the server’s processing power like we do in Cognos Enterprise. Finally, I used the separate licenses for the non-production to get the client a test environment. The two separate licenses (non-prod BI and non-prod TM1) are cheaper than the Non-Prod complete licenses that includes both. (Don’t ask me to explain why.)

1 Express Administrator

1 Express Complete Connector

20 Express Complete Users (TM1 and BI)

1 Express Non-Production Environment TM1

1 Express Non-Production Environment BI

TOTAL COST $48,940*


In Cognos Enterprise, we have different licenses if the user is a power user versus if they are regular users. To keep it simple, I assumed we have 1 BI Admin, and 2 TM1 power users that build planning models. I also included the non-production license for TM1 - however excluded the BI non-production because in Enterprise, the authorized user licenses of BI include non-production. (See also: Why buy a Cognos BI or TM1 Non-Production environment for Test/Development?)

The most confusing difference is that Enterprise TM1 requires an Analytic Server component that is based on Processor Value Unit. For more information on this check out my blog on this What the Heck is a IBM PVU? or visit IBM’s website http://www-01.ibm.com/software/passportadvantage/pvu_licensing_for_customers.html .

For this example, I’ll assume we are using 4 cores that are rated at 70 PVU’s but that might be low based on your models. Lodestar can help you estimate your PVU needs.

1 BI Analytic Administrator

15 BI Analytic Users

2 Performance Management Modelers (TM1 Power Users)

14 Performance Management Users (TM1 Users)

280 PVUs of Analytic Server (Estimated 4 cores at a 70 PVU rating)

280 PVUS of Non-Production Analytic Server

TOTAL COST $164,610*

As you can plainly see, there’s some serious value in Express.

For a similarly configured system you saved $115,670*!

*Please note that these numbers are based on the current IBM guidelines at the time of this blog posting and are subject to change. Please contact Lodestar at Sales@LodestarSolutions.com for an update as this information could change.

Support Savings:

But it doesn’t stop there! You must remember the second year of support is based on the purchase price of the software. So assuming 20% support cost, the difference in support the following year would be $23,134.

Am I on the Wrong Licensing Model?

Some of you reading this may be existing Cognos Enterprise clients with smaller deployments and wondering, “Am I on the wrong licensing model?” The answer is that you may be! IBM has changed the licensing quite a bit over the years. Back in the day, Cognos Express didn’t exist. To confirm if you are on the correct licensing model, call Lodestar Solutions and schedule a “What the Heck Do I Own – Cognos” session with one of our Business Analytic Coaches. We will help you decode your licenses and answer that question of, "What is the difference between Cognos Express and Enterprise?" to help you save money! Email us at Sales@LodestarSolutions.com for more information.

Buying Cognos Licenses – IBM Reseller or IBM Direct?

As an IBM Cognos Premier Reseller, Lodestar Solutions takes the time to fully understand the ever changing licensing structure from IBM Cognos.  We educate our clients on the licensing thru webinars, blogs and personal conversations. Below are some key benefits to working with a reseller like Lodestar Solutions for buying Cognos licenses:

Competitive Prices: We have very competitive prices and can meet or beat quotes offered by IBM Cognos directly.

Certified Sales Team: Our sales team members are certified not only in selling Cognos but certified as consultants on the functionality of the software.  Our understanding of the functionality each Cognos  license has helped our clients realize substantial savings by ensuring they have the correct product mix and don’t purchase unnecessary licenses.

Tax Laws: We recommend our clients explore state tax laws in the state they are going to purchase their licenses.  There are often times tax loop holes in which Cognos licenses are not taxed.  Many states don’t charge tax if software is downloaded, so we make sure the orders clearly state delivery via download only.  Other states have unique tests to determine if the software is taxable.  Whenever possible we will help you to meet state tax the guidelines.

License terms are with IBM:  The terms of the IBM Cognos  licenses you purchase from Lodestar Solutions are the same terms you will get directly from IBM.  All clients are processed under the IBM license agreements in either IBM Passport Advantage or IBM Passport Advantage Express.

Education on License Changes: Periodically IBM changes the licensing structures, and Lodestar educates all clients on the changes and how they could be affected.  For example, in the Spring of 2010, IBM changed their Cognos Planning Contributor licenses to include the ability to have TM1 Contributor Functionality.  This required a license migration and Lodestar has guided a number of clients thru the process giving them added functionality at no cost.

Education on Functionality and IBM Cognos offerings: As a client of Lodestar Solutions, you will receive valuable information about local events, educational webinars, and new programs related to Cognos.   We inform clients on IBM offerings like the FREE IBM Cognos blueprints that are available from the innovation center.

There are many benefits from purchasing IBM Cognos licenses from a reseller like Lodestars Solutions.  We would be happy to help you.  For more information on licenses please contact us at 813-415-2910.