IBM Cognos OLAP Modeling Tools – Which should I choose?

IBM Cognos OLAP Modeling Tools As business analytics coaches, we are often asked many questions about what are the right IBM Cognos OLAP modeling tools for particular projects.  IBM Cognos OLAP modeling tools come in a number of different options with IBM Cognos. Each modeling tool has a number of differentiators that, depending on your situation, may make it the modeling tool for you. Below you will find a chart that lays out four of those differences.

IBM Cognos Transformer
(File-based MOLAP cube with pre-aggregation)

  • Optimal to provide consistent interactive analysis experience to large number of users when the data source is an operational/transactional system, and a star or snowflake data structure cannot be achieved.
  • Cube architecture that includes pre-aggregation is such that scalability requires careful management using cube groups.
  • Data latency is inherent with any MOLAP cube technology, where data movement into the cube is required.
IBM Cognos TM1 (In-memory MOLAP technology with write-back support)
  • Optimal for write-back, what-if analysis, planning and budgeting, or other specialized applications.
  • Medium data volumes.
  • Aggregation occurs on the fly, which can impact performance with high data and high user volumes.
IBM Cognos Dynamic Cubes (In-memory accelerator for dimensional analysis)
  • Optimal for read-only reporting and analytics over large data volumes.
  • Aggregate-aware, with extensive in-memory caching for performance.
  • Star or snowflake schema required in underlying database (highly recommended to maximize performance).
Dimensionally modeled relational (DMR) (Dimensional view of a relational database)
  • Easily create a dimensional data model over low data volumes in an operational/transactional system. Latency needs to be carefully managed.
  • Well suited for complex security requirements.
  • Caching on the Cognos Dynamic Query server helps performance.
  • Processing associated with operational/transactional systems impacts performance.

As you can see, there are a number of IBM Cognos OLAP modeling tools and we would love to talk with you about your business requirements for a modeling tool for business analytics.  If you have any questions about this or any other aspect of IBM Cognos or Business Analytics coaching, please reach out to us at 813-254-2040 or email us at