Help I Inherited IBM Cognos and IBM Planning Analytics, Now What?

Help I Inherited IBM Cognos and IBM Planning Analytics, Now What
Help I Inherited IBM Cognos and IBM Planning Analytics, Now What
Written by Heather L. Cole, September 1st 2022

With the great resignation in full swing, there are a number of people that find themselves in charge of systems they are not familiar with.  If you find yourself thinking, “Help I inherited IBM Cognos and IBM Planning Analytics, Now What?”  Stay tuned this blog is for you.  We will share the questions you should be asking when you take over.

When is Your Support Renewal Due?

The first thing you need to know when you are assigned responsibility for IBM Cognos or IBM Planning Analytic licensing is when is your support renewal bill is due.  The reason this is so important is that if you let support lapse you could find yourself with a system down and you won’t be able to log a case with IBM!  This is not how you want to be known when you take over responsibility for a system.  Additionally, if you let IBM support lapse you may have to pay a reinstatement free to get support back. 

IBM Proof of Entitlements: To find out when your support renewal expires you can check your most recent IBM Proof of Entitlements.  This is a PDF that IBM or your partner sends you when you renew.  It states the quantity and type of licenses and the duration of your support.  This document will also tell you your IBM site number which you will need to update IBM that you should receive the support bills in the future.

If you don’t have access to your Proof of Entitlements, Lodestar Solutions can help.  Just email us at Renewals@lodestarsolutions.com or call 813-415-2910.  Christina our support renewal specialist is happy to help.

How Do I Renew Support?

It’s important to know that IBM will automatically send clients a support renewal quote about 90-120 days prior to your renewal.  But they will send this email to the person on record in the IBM systems for the renewals.  If the prior IBM Cognos or IBM Planning Analytics owner left the company, then you probably will not receive the IBM Quote.  Note it’s been our experience if IBM receives a kickback email stated Jane Doe is no longer with the company, they do not try to find the new person.  So, you want to make sure you update the contact names with IBM.  See our blog, How to Change Your Primary Contact with IBM.

Renew with Lodestar Solutions - A better option is to renew your support with an IBM business partner, like Lodestar Solutions.  At Lodestar Solutions, we will educate you on what you own, evaluate if you are in the optimal license mix for your situation, explain licensing and clients get access to our private client only user group.  So, if you would like a competitive quote and to better understand your options email us at Renewals@lodestarsolutions.com or call 813-415-2910. 

Warning:  There are a number of what we call “paper pushing partners.”  These are partners that might offer you a discount on support to handle your renewals of many different software brands.  But watch out!  We have received numerous calls from clients that have renewed their support with a “paper pushing partner” only to find out they were at risk of failing an audit, misclassified causing them to pay 60% more than they needed to, or they were paying for support on licensing that did not allow them to download the latest version of the software like flexpoints.  (Flexpoints and Cognos What You Need to Know) 

If IBM or your IBM partner is not walking you through licensing options and functionality with your renewal, it’s time to find a new partner!   Lodestar Solutions can help! Email us at Renewals@lodestarsolutions.com or call 813-415-2910.

Update Your IBM Contacts

Believe it or not IBM periodically sends important information to the names they have on file.  For example, IBM will send you a quote for support renewal to the renewal name on file.  This is important in the event the partner you worked with fails to send you a quote.  Additionally, the names on file with IBM also determine who can contact IBM support with an issue.  For more information on updating your IBM Contacts see our earlier blog.

How to Change Your Primary Contact with IBM.

IBM Site

How do I get support when I have issues?

If you inherited IBM Cognos or IBM Planning Analytics you might find yourself with an issue, the worst being your system goes down.  And you need help ASAP.  There are a couple options when you are having issues. 

  1.  If you are current on IBM support, you can log a case with IBM and wait for their response.
  2. If you are not current or want help immediately, Lodestar Solutions has a team of amazing resources we can assign to help.  Note if you are not current on support, we can help but will not be able to log a case with IBM on your behalf or provide any IBM patches or software updates.  We recommend that you consider signing an emergency support SOW with Lodestar so we don’t have to wait for paperwork before we can help you.   For more information on our services email Services@lodestarsolutions.com or call 813-415-2910.

What Do You Own?

Another question you need to ask when you inherit IBM Cognos or IBM Planning Analytics is what the heck do we own?  If you are now responsible for the analytic system, you need to know what licensing you own, what functionality it has, what version is supported….

The fastest way to discover what you own is to first see if you have a copy of your Proof of Entitlements from IBM, that will tell you the quantity and type of licensing.  Next you want to find out what version you are on and if that version is a currently supported version.  IBM has a web page they update with the supported versions: Here’s the link to IBM Lifecycles

Next, call Lodestar Solutions and ask to see a demo of the latest functionality and for a complimentary What the Heck Do I Own Session.  This session will get you up to speed quickly.  To schedule this meeting email services@lodestarsolutions.com or call 813-415-2910.

In Summary

If you are tasked with overseeing IBM Cognos or IBM Planning Analytics because you inherited IBM Cognos, you need to first get a lay of the land.  The questions above will get you started.  But you don’t have to go it alone!  Lodestar Solutions is here to help guide you through the process, and IBM red tape if you need it.  So, let’s have a chat. 

Contact Heather at 813-415-2910 or email hcole@lodestarsolutions.com.

Who Should Keep the IBM Cognos When Part of the Company is Sold?

Who Should keep the IBM Cognos When Part of the Company is Sold
Who Should keep the IBM Cognos When Part of the Company is Sold
Written by Heather L. Cole, August 18th 2022

The mergers and acquisition world has been busy recently.  If your company divested part of the organization, who should keep the IBM Cognos?  The original entity or the sold entity?

When part of the entity is sold there are many moving parts.  But it’s important to think through how the licensing components of your IBM Cognos or IBM Planning Analytics software are handled.

True Story:

Lodestar Solutions had a client that spun off a significant portion of their business.  Both the original company and the spin off wanted to keep the IBM Cognos licensing.  It was determined that the original company would keep the Cognos licensing and the new entity would have to buy new licenses.  But the when the new company went to purchase their Cognos licensing, the partner, not Lodestar, and IBM failed to create a new enterprise number.  They just created a new site under the original company.  So, the new company didn’t technically own their licenses.  The issue was not discovered until the support tickets for the two entities were getting comingled.  Needless to say, this was not a good situation.  And you don’t want to go through this!

Today, I’ll share things you need to consider and do when you are spinning off part of your organization.

Deciding Who Gets the Cognos Licensing

The first decision is who should get the IBM Cognos BM Planning Analytics licensing.  Now you might be thinking, of course the original company should keep them and the spin off should purchase their own.  But that’s not always the best solution, at least not for the original company. 

Do you need all the licenses after the divestiture?  The original company may not need all the IBM licensing after they spin off part of the company.  In this case they may allocate a portion of the licenses to the spin off, so they do not get stuck with the support bill on licensing they won’t need.

Are you in the optimal IBM Cognos or Planning Analytics licensing type?  IBM has a number of types of licensing such as Express for smaller deployments under 100 users, authorized users and processor value unit licenses, for large deployments.  They also have SaaS versions of Cognos and Planning Analytics.  If your user count will significantly reduce after selling off part of your organization, you may be better off including the Cognos licensing in the sale and buying new licenses that put you in the optimal licensing mix.

Is Your IBM Support Bill at List Price?  Another thing to consider is the current cost of your IBM Cognos support subscription bill.  If you are paying list price for your support, which means you typically have owned Cognos or IBM Planning Analytics for a number of years.  You may find that by including the licensing in the sales of part of the company, it would allow you to buy new licensing at a discount, and therefore lower your support renewal costs. 

True Story:

I had a client that was divesting part of their company to an overseas entity, and they gave them all of their Cognos licensing because they were able to buy new licenses at a discount and change the type of licensing saving them 100K a year in support.

Get Help!

You are not expected to be an expert in IBM licensing.  So, if you are planning to or recently sold off part of your company, Lodestar Solutions can help you evaluate your unique situation to determine what’s best for you.  Just email us at Sales@lodestarsolutions.com and we can discuss your situation.

Confirm the Licensing is in the Right Name

Now that you have decided if you are going to keep all the IBM  Cognos or Planning Analytics licensing, or sell it as part of the transaction to divest part of your organization, we need to focus on the process with IBM.

If you decide to give all or part of your IBM Cognos licensing to the new company, you will need to sign some documents with IBM stating you are transferring your interest to the new company.  Lodestar Solutions can help facilitate this process. 

First the new company must get a new Enterprise account set up with IBM, if they don’t have one already.  You do not want them to just create a new site under your enterprise number.  They will also need to create a new site number under their new IBM enterprise number for the licenses. 

Once that is done, IBM can create the transfer documents that should specify the from account, the too account as well as the quantities and part numbers to be transferred.

If you go it alone, double check the quantity and part numbers on the documents are correct.  You also want to make sure that all the site numbers are correct.  Attention to detail is very important in this process.

If you decide to give all the licenses away, you will want to work with someone to identify your optimal licensing configuration and determine if there are any special promotions available.  The important thing is to not let your licensing lapse.  So, make sure you buy new licensing before giving yours away.

Check the IBM Contact Names on File

When companies spin off parts, it’s not uncommon for the players associated with Cognos or Planning Analytics to change.  If this is your situation, or if you have had attrition of team members, it is important to update the contact names within IBM.  If you don’t update them, you might not get support renewal quotes, notices of versions or licensing changes, and worse you might not be able to log a support case.

Look for an upcoming blog on changing contact names, but if you need help contact renewals@lodestarsolutions.com and our team will walk you though the process.  Or check out IBM’s information

At Support Renewal Time

When you receive your first support renewal quote after the divestiture, you want to double, no triple check that they have not accidentally left the licenses you sold with the divestiture on your site.  I have seen it happen.  IBM moves the licensing to the new site but does not remove them from the original company site.  You don’t want to be paying for support on something you don’t own!

Lodestar Solutions is happy to help you review your support bill and provide a competitive quote for your renewal.  For help with renewals email renewals@lodestarsolutions.com

Call to Action:

It’s important to review your licensing after a divestiture because you don’t want to be paying too much for support, and you don’t want to accidentally lose your licensing because someone moved the wrong site.  So, don’t go it alone!  Lodestar Solutions is here to help.  Call us at 813-415-2910 or email  personally at hcole@lodestarsolutions.com.

If you happen to be acquiring a company that also has Cognos or Planning Analytics see our blog, Tips for Acquiring a Cognos Client

I hope you found this blog on “Who Should keep the IBM Cognos When Part of the Company is Sold?” beneficial.  If you have questions please include them in the chat so everyone can learn.

Benefits of Diversifying Your IBM Planning Analytics and Cognos Consultants

Benefits of Diversifying Your IBM Planning Analytics and Cognos Consultants
Benefits of Diversifying Your IBM Planning Analytics and Cognos Consultants
Written by Heather L. Cole, February 24th 2022

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket!  It’s quote we often hear in reference to investing.  There are horror stories of people who put all their money in the stock of one company like Enron or one investment advisor like Bernie Madoff only to watch their life savings go poof!  But did you know that saying also applies to hiring consultants?  Today we will discuss the Benefits of Diversifying your IBM Planning Analytics and Cognos Consultants. Diversifying your IBM Cognos and IBM Planning Analytics Consultants means you work with more than one consulting firm. 

Having a Second Set of Eyes

Have you ever had a problem you were trying to solve and just wanted to have a second set of eyes?   Or maybe you have a repetitive task, and you think, “there has to be a better way”.   Whenever I have that thought, I reach out to someone I think will know the answers.   It took me years to learn, but I now know that although I probably could figure out the problem myself, time is the most limited resource we have.  And if I just phone another IBM Planning Analytics or Cognos expert in my network, I can solve the problem in a fraction of the time. 

If you diversify and contract with multiple Cognos consulting firms, and you have access to not just the consultants assigned to you, but also their teams.  The bigger your network the faster you will get answers.

But let me share a little secret, if a consultant makes a mistake, many firms will back them and their work.  They don’t want to admit that a mistake was made.  By diversifying and using more than one Cognos or IBM Planning analytics consulting firm you have a built in BS detector.

Diverse Offerings & Experience

The next benefit of diversifying your IBM Cognos and IBM Planning Analytics consultants is that firms often time have different offerings.  One might be really good at Data Warehousing and Planning Analytics, whereas another might offer executive strategy sessions to discover what really needs to be designed.  Additionally, one might have a financial service background while another distribution.  Believe it or not, you can benefit from someone with industry expertise that is different from your own, as they can bring innovative ideas to your project.

Different Cognos and IBM Planning Analytics partners have different offerings and expertise.  You can benefit from their wealth of knowledge.  In the U.S. most of the partners know each other and many partner with each other all the time.

Knowledge of New Releases

Not all Cognos and IBM Planning Analytics consulting firms invest in educating their teams on the latest versions.  Candidly if they are primarily focused on billing and revenue generation, training takes away from billing.  So, there could be functionality that is available in a new release that your consultant doesn’t know about.  By diversifying your Cognos consultants, you increase the likelihood of leveraging the latest functionality.  At Lodestar Solutions, we pride ourselves on educating our clients on what’s new every quarter. 

Knowledge saves time and money copy

Knowledge of IBM Licensing

Did you know there are Cognos and IBM Planning Analytic consulting firms that don’t know IBM licensing?  Yes, there are some amazing consultants that are fabulous on the product but don’t know how to save you money on your IBM licensing and IBM support renewals.  Lodestar Solutions has many clients that came to us after working with another partner and failing an IBM Audit.  It doesn’t have to be that way!  By diversifying and working with a partner that understands licensing you can save money and reduce the risk of failing an audit. Here’s a link to our webinar on, How to Avoid Failing an IBM Analytics Audit.   And our blog, How to Save Money on Support Renewals

 If you have IBM licensing questions or are in the middle of an IBM audit, email us at Services@lodestarsolutions.com.

Additional Client Offerings

Finally, a big benefit of working with multiple Cognos and IBM Planning Analytics consultants is that some offer client only benefits.  For example, at Lodestar Solutions we host a client only virtual user group every quarter where we share the new releases, what works and what doesn’t, and have straight talk.  We share 3rd party tools we think clients will benefit from and we network with our peers.  But that’s not all, we record the sessions, so clients can access our client only portal and watch the sessions at any time.   Our clients love the user groups, but it is a closed group.  

Want to participate, in our next user group?  Have us quote your IBM support renewal.  Email Renewals@lodestarsolutions.com for a license evaluation and renewal quote.

Tips in Working with Multiple IBM Planning Analytics and Cognos Consulting Firms

Now that I have shared some of the benefits of diversifying your IBM Planning Analytics and Cognos Consultants.  I want to share a few more tips. 

  •  Be transparent.  Don’t hide the fact you are working with multiple firms, find firms that can work together.
  • Find a firm like Lodestar that is willing to subcontract other firms, so you have the diversification but one stop shopping.
  • Interview a few firms and ask around about their strengths.  Here’s a link to where you can find IBM Partners. 
  • Check Linkedin and see how well connected their team members are.  A strong network can provide rapid, creative solutions.

Next Step

Let’s talk about your project and challenges.  Lodestar Solutions can help you diversify your consultants, save money on IBM licensing and support, learn the latest version and network with your peers.  We would love the opportunity to be one of your go to partners and show you the benefits of diversifying your IBM Planning Analytics and Cognos Consultants.  Contact us at Services@lodestarsolutions.com for a complimentary review.

What is the Number One Reason Why Analytic Software Projects Fail?

What is the Number One Reason Software Analytics Projects Fail?
What is the Number One Reason Software Analytics Projects Fail?
Written by Heather L. Cole, July 15th, 2021

Organizations will spend significant hours and resources evaluating analytic solutions like IBM Cognos Analytics.  They will then spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on analytic software and consulting services.  Heck some clients even decide their Analytics project was a failure, so they investigate other tools and spend more money on the migration only to be in the same spot but with a lot less money in their accounts.  Analytic Software Project failures are not unique. But there is one question we never hear organizations ask in the software evaluation process and it is the one question everyone should be asking. “What is the number one reason why Analytic Software Projects fail?”

I have been working in the analytic software space for over 25 years, and I believe I have only been asked this question once.  Yes, once in 25 years. 

Answer why analytic projects fail…

Imagine if I could let you in on a secret of why analytic software projects fail and to solve this problem would not cost you a dime.  That’s right regardless of why you are using Microsoft Power BI, IBM Cognos Analytics, Tableau or Qlik, there is one common reason analytics projects fail and to solve the problem is easy! The reason is…. 

EXPECTATIONS!

Expectations

When was the last time you were disappointed?  Was it this morning when they did not give you the cream you asked for in your coffee?  Was it when your friend cancelled your golf outing?  Whatever it was the only reason you were disappointed was that your expectations were not met or exceeded.  Think about it.  If your back was hurting and you really didn’t want to play golf, you would not be disappointed.

If you want to learn more about your personal expectations, here’s two good resources from one of my mentors, Brendon Burchard.

How to Better Manage Your Expectations – Brendon

Power of Expectations - Brendon

Analytics and Expectations

The number one reason analytics software projects fail is that expectations of the executives or end users were not met or exceeded.  If your executives, or end users are not happy with your deployment because they expected something easier to use, faster, more dynamic or to contain information they deemed essential and it did not deliver, then they will not view your analytics projects as a success.

Solving the Biggest Problem in all Analytics Projects

Now that you know the biggest challenge in any analytics software project is not meeting or exceeding expectations, let’s discuss how to solve the problem.   I mentioned earlier that the solution doesn’t even have to cost you a dime! 

Host An Analytics Workshop

Step 1.  Set proper expectations in the first place.

Lodestar Solutions coaches our IBM Cognos Analytics clients to run internal workshops to identify what the executives really want.  If you do not have an analytics roadmap defined yet, don’t worry it doesn’t have to be a big undertaking.  To learn more, check out our recent blog series:

How to Create your Analytics Roadmap without Hiring Expensive Consultants – Part 1

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

Ultimately you want the executives to define one or two dashboards or reports that can be game changing.  But let them define it, don’t assume!

Expectations

Step 2:  When things don’t go as planned, you want to Reframe Expectations.

Let’s admit it, analytic software projects always have at least one unforeseen situation. Maybe the data needs cleansing, maybe you don’t have the data you thought you had.  There’s always a hurdle.  But when things don’t go as planned with your software analytics project you want to reframe expectations. 

In the CIO.com article, 8 Project Management Tips for Setting and Managing Expectations, they identify the importance of being honest when things go wrong and to present workaround options or solutions.

By openly and honestly presenting the situation and proposing options, you will be reframing expectations.  They might not be happy with the new outcome but at least they know it’s coming and that you are working on making it right.

Are Your Executives Happy with Your Analytics Initiatives? 

Now that you understand the importance of setting proper expectations and reframing expectations when necessary, I want to challenge you.  Now this will take courage, but I know you are up for it.  Go ask your executives how happy they are with the organization’s analytics initiative.  I like to ask them to score it 0-10 (amazing).  Be prepared for the answer, it might be lower than you think.  Don’t get defensive, just use this as an information gathering opportunity.  And ask, “What is one thing you wish we were delivering that you don’t currently get today?”  Then listen! 

As an Executive Analytics Coach working with IBM Cognos Analytics clients, I am often faced with executives that are not happy with their analytics deployments.  Some are going as far as looking at other solutions to replace Cognos Analytics.  But when I start to ask questions, we discover the client is on a very old version or they never deployed the new functionality.  Many have never run a workshop with the executives.  It’s not surprising the executives are not giving Cognos the highest scores, when the analytics team never really asked what the executives want.  So, stop blaming the software!  Maybe we need to look in the mirror and think if we asked the right questions and set the right expectations!

If you are an IBM Cognos analytics client and asking is this the best solution for me, you might be interested in the fact that IBM Cognos Analytics was named an exemplary vendor in Ventana’s 2021 Analytics and Data Value Index.

Time to learn more about Analytics Projects and Expectations

Now it’s time to learn more about the number on reason analytic software projects fail and how you can avoid it without spending a dollar more.  In fact, our methods will help you save money on your analytics project.  On Thursday July 22, 2021, I’ll share the secrets to running a successful Analytics Software Project. 

Power of Setting Expectations for Successful Analytics Projects

Join me on Thursday July 22, 2021

When: Jul 22, 2021, 12:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Register in advance for this meeting - click here to register

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

If you have specific questions, please email us at Services@lodestarsolutions.com.

Lodestar IBM Cognos User Group Review – Feb 2021

Lodestar Solutions User Group
Lodestar Solutions User Group
February 26th, 2021

On February 16, 2021, Lodestar Solutions hosted our 2nd virtual IBM Cognos User Group.  Our IBM Cognos User Group is unique and has been extremely well received by our clients.  We host sessions in the morning related to Planning Analytics, Cognos Analytics in the afternoon with technical or other value-added software in between.  We set our clients up in our Kajabi library that holds all the videos and information for each user group.  The truly great part of this user group is after each video, we meet live with our clients in zoom for Q&A and then we go into breakout rooms to network with each other.  This is the true power of our IBM Cognos User Group.

Latest Agenda!

PA Section

  • PAfE Tips and Tricks with Demo with Q&A
  • PA Breakout groups
  • Deep Dive on ILMT / PVU’s with Q&A
  • PA Breakout groups
  • Break
  • Motio Soterre Demo and Discussion, Q&A
  • CA Section

  • Data Sets vs Data Modules – plus data sets demo, wtih Q&A
  • CA Breakout Groups
  • Motio PI Free / Motio PI Pro – Breakdown and demo with Q&A
  • Break
  • Client Discussion of Cognos Administration and Motio
  • Q&A
  • Breakout Groups
  • Highlights of Q&A and Breakout Groups

    In the Q&A and breakout groups we discussed each of the topics in more detail.  The day started with a breakout on PAfE and Perspectives, discussing the differences and how to convert from PAfE to Perspectives.  We then had a discussion on ILMT and the importance of ensuring it is set up correctly and reporting in case IBM sends that “love letter”.  Our last session was based on Soterre and how that applies to each Planning Analytics system.  If you have not seen Motio Soterre and you are a customer of Lodestar, contact us to get set up in our Lodestar Customer Library and watch the power of Soterre.  You can learn more about Soterre in this blog

    In the IBM Cognos User Group afternoon session on Cognos Analytics, we started the session with a dive into data modules and data sets.  We had good discussion on uses, limits and some problem solving on certain situations.  In our next session we did a dive into Motio PI and Motio PI Pro.  If you are a CA Administrator and you haven’t looked at Motio PI, you should stop what you are doing now and watch the video in our Lodestar Customer Library.  Again, if you are a customer of Lodestar but have not received access to this library, please contact us.

    We finished the IBM Cognos User Group with a general Q&A and talked about several different things related to PA and CA.  We even did an on-the-fly Cognos Analytics security demo based on a question from one of our clients.  Speaking of security, stay tuned to the customer library and the next user group for a lot more on both CA and PA security.

    Next User Group

    Our next IBM Cognos User Group is scheduled for May 18, 2021.  We have not finalized the agenda, yet, but I can tell you that security will be a topic.  If you have other things you want to see, please contact us services@lodestarsolutions.com with your ideas.

    Planning Analytics and Motio Soterre Event

    Are you looking for a better way to plan, budget or forecast your business?

    During this webinar we will show you the amazing power in IBM Planning Analytics/TM1.  We will discuss how leveraging virtual dimensions and dashboards within TM1 is a game changer for clients. And we will demonstrate how maintenance of models can be simplified for power users with a powerful 3rd party tool by Motio called Soterre.

    This event is for individuals not familiar with Planning Analytics as well as seasoned TM1 professionals that want to see what's new and how to better maintain their system.

    Join us March 16 at 2pm est!

    To join this webinar, click here!

    Summary

    We have a lot going on at Lodestar Solutions.  We are striving everyday to add more value to our clients through user groups, client only library’s, partner software demos and so much more.  If you have any questions or need us, we are here.  Contact us at services@lodestarsolutions.com

    How do I find our IBM Cognos Sales Representative?

    Find our IBM Cognos Sales Representative
    Find our IBM Cognos Sales Representative
    July 9th, 2020

    Are you a Cognos Analytics or Cognos Planning Analytics (TM1) customer and wanting to talk to your IBM Cognos sales representative? You have a question on licensing or upgrades. Or, maybe you inherited Cognos and do not even know where to start?  You are not alone. IBM is a huge company and their people move around a lot.  Today I will share insights on, “How do I find our IBM Cognos Sales Representative?”

    You Have Multiple IBM Cognos Sales Representatives

    The first step is to identify why you need to talk to your IBM Cognos sales representative?  You must answer this question first because in IBM there are many representatives assigned to your account. There are many pillars in the IBM system. You have a Cognos Renewal Specialist. Their job is to get you to maintain support on your IBM Cognos software.  Then you have an IBM Cognos Sales Representative that focuses on selling products like Cognos Planning Analytics (TM1) and Cognos Analytics (BI).  If you have SPSS then you have another IBM Sales Representative for that too. For those of you that want to preserve cash you have an IBM Global Financing Representative.  If you need to contact support, there is another pillar for that. Oh, and then there is a Client Executive that over sees your account in general.  And the list goes on.

    IBM Pillars

    How to Navigate IBM Red Tape

    So, I am going to let you into a little secret.  You do not have to get frustrated and spin around in the blue sea of IBM.  IBM has an entire ecosystem that is designed to help you.  The IBM Partner Channel is a robust network of people that have been working with IBM and understand the IBM ways.  Lodestar Solutiosn prides itself in helping clients cut through the red tape to get clients rapid results.  Because we regularly work with all the areas within IBM, we have connections, friends and know who you need to talk to, and if we don’t, we will make a few calls and figure it out. All you have to do is reach out to Lodestar at Services@lodestarsolutions.com or call 813-415-2910 and we will point you in the right direction.

    Midmaket Clients and IBM Partners

    If you are a smaller client in IBM’s eyes, then let’s admit it you are a small fish in a very big IBM pond.  But IBM still loves you, however they know that they cannot give everyone the attention they deserve.  So, IBM has created a system where partners are assigned to serve you.  See CIO article, “How IBM Sold Business Analytics by Relying Solely on Partners” to learn more about IBM’s strategy. So, if you find your IBM Cognos rep and they recommend you talk to your partner you know why. They have identified that you are probably better served by a partner that will give you the attention you need.

    Why Working with Lodestar is Better Than IBM

    Did you know if you find the right partner it can be better than working with your IBM Cognos Sales Representative alone?  IBM partners like Lodestar Solutions are better equipped to serve you!  Yes, I may be a little bias here but let me explain. Lodestar Solutions has been a partner working with the IBM Analytic solutions for over 16 years.  Our team consists of team members that were clients and consultants in the trenches battling shrinking budgets, internal politics, and system issues just like you.  So, we understand your struggles, but we also have been swimming in the IBM sea for decades and understand how to cut the red tape and help you resolve your issue and get the best deal on IBM Cognos support and licensing. 

    How to Get the Best Deal on Cognos Software & Support

    Want to get the best deal on Cognos software and Cognos support? Contact an IBM certified business partner like Lodestar Solutions because we understand IBM licensing.  Many of you may be on the wrong licensing model and paying more than you should.  See our blog, How to Save Money on Cognos Analytics and Planning AnalyticsOthers may want to buy new licensing but want to minimize the support costs too.  Well a partner is perfect to help because in IBM the Cognos sales team and the Cognos support team are different and they have different personal incentives.  To get the best deal for you, you need to navigate both teams at the same time.  Lodestar does that every day while working with your IBM Cognos sales representative.  But, we take it a step further.  This last quarter we helped many clients secure 0% financing over 36 months, for their new Cognos purchase and Cognos renewal.  IBM Global Financing helped them preserve cash and get their project approved.  See our blog on IBM Global Financing.

    Still Doubting the Value of an IBM Cognos Business Partner?

    Just call us to chat about your Cognos challenges.  We will share our ideas, connect you with the right people and even help you answer, “How do I find our IBM Cognos Sales Representative?”  So, you have nothing to lose.  Call us at 813-415-2910 or email services@lodestarsolutions.com.

    Struggling to Migrate from Cognos to Power BI or Tableau?

    Cognos Move
    Cognos Move
    June 18th, 2020

    Stop Struggling to Migrate from IBM Cognos to Power BI

    How many business intelligence solutions does your firm have today?  Cognos Analytics, Tableau, Power BI… maybe you don’t really know all the business intelligence solutions that are hiding in your organization. You are not alone. Gartner estimates that the average company has 3 to 5 Business Intelligence tools. Many companies are working to reduce the number of business intelligence tools their IT must support.  I have talked to several companies that are struggling to migrate from IBM Cognos to Power BI or other BI solutions. 

    Why Consolidate to One BI Tool

    I fully understand the desire to reduce the number of BI solutions. By reducing the number of tools, you can:

    • Save money on support costs
    • Become the expert in one tool instead of many
    • Control the silos of data
    • Reduce training costs
    • Reduce consulting costs
    • Provide better security

    But, for many the road to reducing the number of tools can be challenging. 

    Stop the Migration

    It has been my experience talking with hundreds of clients, that many Cognos clients made the decision to move off Cognos for the wrong reasons.  Reasons like, Cognos not having the pretty visualizations like Tableau, or Microsoft Power BI is cheaper than Cognos.  But as they start down the road of the migration, they hit the realization that they did not do their due diligence!  

    Due Diligence - Functionality

    I believe due diligence requires the examination of the functionality available in the latest version of Cognos Analytics.  Cognos BI 10.2 should not be used to compare alternative solutions.  I know you may not have upgraded, but what if you did? Do you even know what amazing functionality has been added like, visualizations and data modules? 

    Due Diligence - Cost

    Finally, due diligence must include a detail cost analysis of the software costs, support costs, as well as the cost and time to migrate to a different solution.  For many clients they discover Power BI is more expensive than they thought.  For clients looking to upgrade Cognos Analytics check out our video The Cost to Upgrade to IBM Cognos Analytics

    For many, the decision on which BI tool to use is a political battle. But should it be?  What if we stopped the migration and did a proper analysis of needs, functionality, anticipated work and cost? Might we determine that migrating is not the best solution but upgrading to Cognos Analytics is?  

    I am a believer that U-turns are okay.  It is okay to stop, investigate the situation of where we are, where we want to go, and what options we have. 

    How to Analyze your BI Roadmap

    Analyzing if and how to move from Cognos BI to a new BI environment is like moving your family from your current home.  The steps include requirements discovery, assessing where you currently live, comparing to what is available and evaluating how much stuff you need to move.

    1. Requirements Discovery

    When evaluating if you should move you must first assess what your family really needs in a home or a BI solution.  With a house you determine how many bedrooms and baths you need.  With a BI tool what data sources you need access to. The requirements discovery stage is the most important step as you want to make sure all the important people like your spouse or boss are involved. You want to document what challenges you are having. What you would like to improve? What new data sources do you need access to?  What new users would like to view?  A simple timer and sticky notes can get you started identifying your needs.  

    2. Assessing Your Current Environment

    Imagine if instead of moving you could just do a few improvement projects to upgrade your house?  Life would be a lot simpler and in many cases a lot less costly.  Well, migrating to a new BI solution is similar.  Once you know your requirements, you must educate yourself on the new functionality in Cognos Analytics. Many clients are shocked and excited when they see what is possible with Cognos Analytics, and to get educated is simple.  Lodestar Solutions is happy to show you the cool new functionality and discuss your needs at no cost.  Just email us at Services@lodestarsolutions.com.

    3. Determining What to Move

    When moving your house, you would not have movers show up and start moving your stuff to a new house without assessing how much junk you have and purge some of the clutter right?  You would inventory your furniture.  Get rid of the stuff that doesn’t meet your needs like, the crib in storage, and plan the move. You would estimate how many boxes you will need, how big the moving truck should be and how many movers.  Well a BI migration that is either from Cognos BI 10.2 to Cognos Analytic or to a new BI solution is the same. You need to identify how many reports are valid, how complex the reports are, and if anyone really needs the reports.  To do this, you need to get visibility to what is in your Cognos content store.  Maybe you did not realize that clutter in your Cognos content store can even cause performance issue.  Here’s a previous blog on the topic.

    What's in Your Content Store?

    If you are not sure what is in your content store, there is some good news!  Motio has created an amazing solution to help you gain visibility on what’s in your content store.  At Lodestar Solutions, we recommend Motio to every Cognos BI client that is looking to upgrade to Cognos Analytics, has already upgraded or is struggling to migrate from Cognos to Power BI or another solution. You must read our blog Don’t Upgrade to Cognos Analytics without Motio

    Once you have an idea of the type of house you need for your BI, you have assessed if your current Cognos house meets your needs, and looked at how much stuff you have in your house you can properly plan the timing of your move or upgrade, and the estimated costs. 

    For many of you, if you follow these steps you will determine that just improving your current BI by upgrading to the latest version of Cognos Analytics and learning the new functionality you will save valuable time and money. But, you don’t have to do the analysis alone!  Lodestar Solutions is here to help! 

    On June 23rd, Lodestar is excited to be presenting a complimentary one - day insightful hands on virtual workshop with Motio for all Cognos BI power users.

    IBM Cognos Analytics Migration Virtual Classroom
    Tuesday, June 23rd, 2020

    VIRTUAL
    9:30-4:30 Eastern
    Registration Required – Seating Limited.

    Register here now!

    What you will learn:

    • Newest features in Cognos Analytics in action - understand how to leverage the new features to achieve your business goals. (For information check out our blog What’s New in Cognos Analytics 11.1.6

    • Inventory your Cognos implementation - grasp the scope of what you have in Cognos...learn how easy it is to identify the analytic gems from the junk (report complexity, duplicate reports, reports not being used, poorly designed content, etc.). Prioritize what to modernize after your upgrade.
    • Reducing the size of your Cognos migration (upgrades, CQM to DQM or Cloud) - a straightforward approach that speeds up your migration by simply removing the junk your organization does not use/need.
    • Repeatable testing reduces upgrade costs - experience the methodology and automated testing techniques that reduce the time/effort of your upgrades and ensure data accuracy/reliability in your upgraded environment.

    This is an event you do not want to miss!  The last event filled up quickly so register to reserve your seat today.  If you are reading this after the event.  Contact us at services@lodestarsolutions.com for future dates.

    Stop Struggling to Migrate from IBM Cognos

    So stop struggling to migrate from IBM Cognos to Power BI or Tableau, register here now to learn how to either upgrade your Cognos or at least identify what needs to be migrated to your new tool.

    If you have questions about Cognos Analytics, licensing or even your renewal, contact us at Services@lodestarsolutions.com.

    Consequences of Not Renewing IBM Cognos Support

    Consequences of Not Renewing IBM Cognos Support
    Consequences of Not Renewing IBM Cognos Support
    April 8th, 2020

    Given the uncertain nature of our world today many IBM Cognos users are scrutinizing all of their costs, including their annual IBM support and subscription renewal, which some call maintenance.  I can’t say I blame people for thinking, “hmm maybe we should not renew our IBM support.” However, there are a number of consequences of not renewing IBM Cognos Support for BI, Planning Analytics (TM1) and SPSS that you should know about before you stop your IBM Support.

    Can we still use IBM Cognos BI/ TM1 If we don’t have support?

    The first question Lodestar Solutions, get’s asked when a client is considering not renewing IBM Cognos support is can we still use Cognos or Planning Analytics (TM1)? Assuming you have purchased IBM Cognos on premise, or local licensing (not SAAS) the answer in the USA is yes.  IBM licensing offers what we call a perpetual license and when you purchased it, you bought an asset.  Every year when you renew your support you are buying a year’s worth of access to the latest patches, updates and the right to call IBM for support. If you don’t renew your support you can still use the software, but you will not be able to upgrade or contact IBM support.  Additionally, Lodestar Solutions, or your implementation partner will not be able to log support cases on your behalf.

    Note if you purchased your IBM through a software or service company that has a contract with IBM that allows them to embed Cognos into their solution, you can’t call IBM and your terms are governed by your contract with the Embedded Solutions Partner.

    For the Lawyers

    For the lawyers in your organization, you can let them know that your on-premise lBM licensing is govern by the IBM Licensing Agreement.  Most IBM clients are under the Passport Agreement program. And, within that program the software licensing contract that governs is under the IPLA.

    Here’s the link. Click HERE to download the pdf.

    What If We Skip the Renewal this Year?

    If you decided to stick with not renewing your IBM Cognos support, you would have the legal rights to still use the version you are on. However, you could not upgrade, get updates or call IBM. Because we consider TM1 and BI mission critical systems, we don’t recommend going unsupported. If next year you decide you want to upgrade or get back on support IBM might make you buy the full license again. Not cheap. Or at least buy the back year of support plus the forward year and potentially a reinstatement penalty. 

    Risk of Not Renewing IBM Cognos Support

    Lodestar Solutions’ job it to protect our clients and as such I must share with you what I believe the biggest risk of not renewing your support!  It’s Microsoft or other 3rd party tools!  Yes, Microsoft!  You see, there are parts of IBM Cognos BI and TM1 that leverage connections to Excel, and/or Power Point.  If you don’t currently use the Microsoft integration contact us at Services@lodestarsolutions.com and we will share this cool functionality.  But, as you may have noticed Microsoft sends updates all the time!  We use Microsoft 365 and it’s always updating.

    Imagine this, it’s a day before your big quarterly presentation of the numbers. You have Cognos BI or TM1 connected to your Excel or PowerPoint to update all your slides.  But when you go to update the PowerPoint or maybe Excel, it doesn’t work.  You realized that Microsoft sent an update 3 days ago and it apparently broke the connection.  What do you do?  You call your support desk they walk you through a few things and say, hmm I think the update broke something we will have to get with IBM to get a patch.  Then a rush of adrenaline.  You know you can’t get a patch from IBM, because you are not supported. 

    You don’t want to live this scenario trust me.  But it has happened, and it will again.  And it’s not just Microsoft. Software companies are agile and flooding us with updates to protect us. But if we don’t maintain support on our systems it can hurt us too.

    Can I Turn Off my Microsoft Updates?

    You might be saying, well I’ll turn off the automatic updates and control when I get them.  Which I too thought was an option until I recently learned that with Windows 10 you can’t really control if updates are applied. You apparently can only delay it for up to 35 days. So, if you are on Windows 10 and don’t renew your Cognos support, Microsoft updates might break your connections.  I didn’t realize you can’t stop updates anymore. Check out this link for details.

    Options to Preserve Cash on Cognos Renewal

    We fully understand the desire to preserve cash and find cost savings in these uncertain times. That’s exactly why Lodestar has helped many clients get creative on their renewals. We recommend renewing your IBM Cognos support. Here’s a few ways we have helped clients save money on their renewals.

    1. Are you in the right Cognos licensing mix?
      Every year Lodestar clients get an annual license review where we meet with you and ensure you are in the right licensing mix. IBM changes licensing periodically. It’s like a cell phone plan, if you don’t evaluate if you are on the right plan, you could be paying way too much. If our analysis determines you could save money while getting the functionality you need, we will assist you in getting on the right licensing structure. Check out our blog on this topic. 

    2. Get a two-year quote for renewal.
      Did you know that Lodestar Solutions can provide you with a quote for two years of support and because you are contractually committing to renewing for two years, IBM offers a volume savings?  Because your annual support on Cognos is based on the prior year paid, you would end up saving money even in year 3.  Now this only works if you know you will stay on the IBM platform for two years, but a great way to save money.  Lodestar is happy to provide you a quote and review your licensing.  Just email renewals@lodestarsolutions.com.

    3. Leveraging IBM Global Financing. 
      Just last month Lodestar was able to help a client in a high-risk industry secure a 0% interest financing rate for their renewal from IBM Global Financing (IGF).  The client opted to pay quarterly over the next year, which really helped them with their cash flow challenges.  Lodestar has also helped clients leverage IGF to purchase a two-year IBM Support renewal, thus qualifying for a discount on their support for the second year. Clients have secured 0% on the two-year purchase and opted to pay quarterly over the two-year term. Now that’s like doubling down on savings!  The process to use IGF is quite simple and will not take a lot of work for your organization. Lodestar Solutions can walk you through the process. Click here for more information on IGF. I have heard that interest rates may be going up so, if you have an upcoming renewal, please contact renewals@lodestarsolutions.com.
    Leverage IGF for your Cognos Renewal

    In summary, we recommend you always renew your IBM Support.  The consequences of not renewing IBM Cognos Support can be very detrimental.  Other systems and software are sending updates regularly and that can break your IBM Software.  Lodestar Solutions is here to help you figure out how you can save money and protect your cash flow on Cognos BI, Planning Analytics (TM1), SPSS, Renewals and other IBM solutions.  But don’t wait, contact us today at renewals@lodestarsolutions.com to learn your options on your renewal, the more time we have the more creative we can be. 

    Will IBM’s RSVP Pricing Program Save Me Money on Cognos Licensing and Support?

    6/26/18 

    Recently, an IBM Cognos client reached out to me because IBM sent him an Improved Relationship SVP Level Notification letter. He asked me, “What the heck is this, and will IBM’s RSVP pricing program save me money on Cognos licensing and support?”   Here are the details:

    What is the RSVP (Relationship Suggested Value Price) Program:

    IBM created the Relationship Suggested Value Price (RSVP) Program to reward clients that spend more money with IBM.  Consider it like the frequent buyer discount program.  Clients must be signed up with an IBM Passport Advantage (PA) Agreement to qualify.

    https://www-01.ibm.com/software/passportadvantage/pao_customer.html

    Once you are in the program, IBM assigns points based on your initial spend with IBM.  They do reassess your level periodically.  Note that ‘spend’ is your total IBM spend under that Passport Advantage (PA) Agreement so it includes licenses and support fees, not just your Cognos spend.  Depending on the points you earn, clients are assigned a pricing level.  The level determines the list price for IBM licensing.  Clients that have larger purchases often negotiate ‘special bid’ discounts for even more savings.

    Here is a sample of the levels and points needed to qualify for the various levels.
    IIBM’s RSVP Pricing Program
    Application for IBM Cognos Clients:

    Are you thinking, “Wow, I didn’t know about this.” It sounds great, right?  But sorry, there’s a catch for IBM Cognos Analytics (BI) and IBM Cognos Planning Analytics (TM1) clients.  For almost all Cognos part numbers, the list price is the same regardless of the level you are at.  Therefore, your pricing level doesn’t affect your IBM Cognos license pricing.

    Cognos Pricing Example:

    An IBM Cognos Analytics User Authorized User License with 1 year of support is the same price for all levels except Government and Education (Not shown on chart below). This is true for most of the parts within the analytics group. 

    IBM’s RSVP Pricing Program
    There is a benefit to IBM Cognos Clients? 

    If you buy IBM Cognos licenses or support renewals from IBM direct or a business partner like Lodestar Solutions, it could help you attain a higher pricing level which could impact your pricing on other IBM products.  But you must be on an IBM Passport Advantage contract to qualify for the RSVP programs.   IBM Passport Advantage Express accounts don’t qualify for the program. (Check back here on June 19 for the link to Differences in Passport Advantage Accounts blog).  If you have a Passport Advantage contract, IBM automatically calculates your level.  If you have multiple Passport Advantage contract numbers, which sometimes happens with mergers, you might want to consolidate your accounts, so you get the benefit of the combined spend. Check out this blog on Consolidating your support renewal bills

    So, the answer to “Will IBM’s RSVP pricing program save me money on Cognos licensing and support?” is NO probably not, but it will help you save money on other IBM products.  

    If you are looking to purchase IBM Cognos licenses, support or have questions about consolidating your IBM passport advantage (PA) accounts, contact us at sales@lodestarsolutions. We would be happy to review your specific case.

    How to Change The Primary Contact Name for IBM Cognos?

    6/12/2018
    Primary Contact Name for IBM Cognos

    Are you an IBM Cognos administrator that inherited the system and need to know how to change the primary contact name for IBM Cognos with IBM so you can download software?  Well, I’ll provide you the steps you need to take.  

    But first, I want to clarify what the role of the primary contact is.  The primary contact will get all communications from IBM regarding changes to the Passport Advantage Agreement or other contractual issues. Only your Primary Contact (or designated Secondary Contacts) can update contact information.  Everyone who buys IBM Cognos must provide a contact name, it’s mandatory.  So, when you buy software, don’t make this person a consultant or intern.   Make sure it’s an employee.

    Secondary Contact Recommended

    We recommend the primary contact designate secondary contacts in IBM Passport Advantage to assist with adding new users and determining access rights.  The secondary contact will have all the same management access rights as the primary contact except for creating new secondary contacts.  Up to four secondary contacts can be designated by the primary contact.  The secondary contact will need to know the Passport Advantage Site Number.  If a customer site has no nominated secondary contacts, the primary contact will be solely responsible for managing access rights.  Not sure I would want only one person to do that, best to have a backup assigned.

    If you buy with under the Passport Advantage program, you can also designate an Administrative Contact and a Site Technical Contact when you enroll.  The Administration Contact is your site’s designated contact for all administrative documents including Software Subscription and Support Renewal notices and Proofs of Entitlement. So, if a product is about to go unsupported, IBM will notify the administrative contact.

    Administrative and Site Technical Contact

    Your administrative contact is responsible for requesting and authorizing account information changes. If authorized by your primary contact, your administrative contact can manage Web and tool access for your organization and will have access to your Proofs of Entitlement online via Passport Advantage Online to confirm your authorized use of IBM software.

    The site technical contact is responsible for overall support compliance for your Passport Advantage site. The site technical contact maintains authorizations for entitled support-related Web and tool– including IBM Service Requests, PMRs and fixes.   Because you can have a technical person set by site, you might want to put licenses held in different regions on separate sites within your PA account.  This will allow them to have access to support in their time zones.

    Your IBM Cognos Support renewal quote will go to the Renewal Contact that is assigned to the site, and you will receive a separate bill for each site.

    How to Change Contact?

    Okay, now that you understand the different roles, here are the details about how to change the primary contact name for IBM Cognos.  But, I must warn you it’s a lot easier to change the primary contact for your Cognos system if the old administrator is still there.

    Assuming the current primary contact is still with the company, you will need to have that person email IBM.  In North America you will email paonline@us.ibm.com.  Typically, they respond within 24 hours.  You will need to provide the following in the email:

    • The IBM Customer Number of your organization, which can be found on your support renewal invoice or quote.
    • If your organization has more than one IBM Site ID, include the Site ID.  This will also be on your support renewal invoice or quote from IBM.
    • First name and last name of the previous Contact.
    • First name and last name of the individual to be designated as the new Contact.
    • Phone number of the individual to be designated as the new Contact.
    • Email address of the individual to be designated as the new Contact.

    If you don’t have your IBM customer number or site number, contact us at Renewals@lodestarsolutions.com and we will assist you. 

    Note, if the previous primary contract  is no longer at the company, or you don’t know whose name is on file with IBM, the new primary contact should email dswsoft@us.ibm.com or paonline@us.ibm.com with a request to make the changes.   Or, we can assist you.  Renewals@lodestarsolutions.com.  They will need to know your Passport agreement/site number, new contact’s full name, Email address, Phone number, and reason for update.

    For more information on how to change the primary contact name for IBM Cognos click here

    Have you recently acquired a Cognos Client?  Make sure you are prepared and check out our blog for all the tips on merging your Cognos licenses!
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