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.

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.