IBM Cognos Cloud vs On-Prem Licenses


​Cognos Cloud vs On-Prem - Solutions Guide

Are you looking at IBM Cognos Performance Management (TM1) as a budgeting and forecasting solution but confused by the various options for TM1 licenses? As a business analytics coach and expert in TM1 licenses, I want to clarify what options IBM offers for Cognos Cloud vs On-Prem

Note that most people call IBM’s budgeting solution TM1. However, IBM renamed it Cognos Performance Management which, to me, is confusing. I liken it to naming your dog, “Dog”. So I will use the terms TM1 & Performance Management interchangeably.

Flavors of TM1 Licenses - Cognos Cloud vs On-Prem

IBM Cognos Performance Management/TM1 comes in three flavors,

  • Cognos Express Performance Management – On Premise Solution
  • Cognos Enterprise Performance Management – On Premise Solution
  • TM1 Cloud – Software as a Service

Cognos Cloud vs On-Prem

Cognos Express Performance Management/TM1 is targeted toward Mid-market and clients with smaller deployments. It has about 98% of the functionality of the Cognos Enterprise TM1 solution but has licensing limitations. Clients cannot have more than 50 users of Cognos Express TM1. If they exceed the limit, they will need to purchase the trade up to the Cognos Enterprise TM1 solution. However, the Cognos Express TM1 price point is significantly lower and enables small organizations that never thought they could afford IBM the opportunity to purchase it. Cognos Express is an “on premise” solution which means you actually buy the license and it’s a capital asset but you could put it in a cloud like IBM or Amazon cloud if you don’t want to purchase the hardware.

Cognos Enterprise Performance Management/TM1 is targeted toward larger clients over 50 users. It has all the functionality including robust budgeting, forecasting, planning and recently added scorecarding. It includes some of the Cognos BI functionality for dashboarding but you are limited to using TM1 data in your Workspace. If you want to access non-TM1 data in your dashboards, you would need a license that include Cognos BI functionality. Cognos Enterprise TM1 is also an “on premise” solution, once again, meaning you actually buy the license and it’s a capital asset, but you could put it in the cloud.

TM1 Cloud is a Software as a Service Model (SAAS), which means you do not own any software. It’s similar to you renting it. IBM manages and maintains the environment, so you don’t have to worry about installation, or upgrades. It’s important to note that TM1 Cloud does not have all the same features and functionality of the TM1 “on premise” solution at the time of this blog, but IBM is working hard to resolve that. For example, TM1 cloud leverages Cognos Analysis for Excel CAFÉ instead of Perspectives. Data uploads are via flat files not an ODBC connection.

In summary, if you want an “on premise” solution, the key criteria in determining which version of TM1 licenses are best for you is determined by the number of users. If you have more than 50 users, you should look at Cognos Enterprise Performance Management. If less, you will probably want to look at Cognos Express Performance Management. If you want a TM1 SAAS solution, check out our video on TM1 Cloud.

If you are a Cognos Planning client looking to move to TM1, check out Lodestar Solutions can coach you in determining which TM1 Solutions is best for you.

If you would like to talk to one of our TM1 coaches about your specific situation, email us at or call 813-254-2040.