Reducing Cognos Licenses – Will I still be in compliance?

Reducing Cognos Licenses can be tricky and we understand that the needs of your business change overtime, whether it’s due to moving to a different software solution, finances or re-organizations.  Every now and then a client may want to reduce the number of licenses they renew.  This can lead to a gray area regarding licensing compliance.  If you originally purchased 100 Authorized User (AU) licenses and you want to reduce them to 50, you cannot continue to allow 100 users to use the software.  Only 50 AUs can now use the software.

Stepping back for a moment, when you purchase your IBM software it comes with one year of Subscription & Support.  The purchase of your software means it’s yours in the state that it was received and you own it now free and clear.  The Subscription & Support portion means that you are now entitled to upgrades, fix packs and to be able to make Service Requests.

Once your Subscription & Support expires, you can continue to use your IBM software product.  It’s yours. You own it.  However, you can no longer receive fix packs, upgrades or make Service Requests.  Now, you may think, “I don’t need to renew.  My product is working fine and I won’t need Support.”  Not necessarily true.  Like other software products, many of them rely on Microsoft, Java, web browsers, etc and when changes are made to those specific software items, it may require you to download a fix pack for your IBM product.  If you are not current on support, you cannot receive the fix pack.

So that leads to the gray area of our initial example.  If you are only renewing 50 AUs of your initial 100 AU licenses, then you cannot have any AUs from the 50 dropped licenses in the system.  The reason is that if you are not paying the support of your dropped 50 AUs and you have installed an upgrade or fix pack, you would then be considered stealing that improvement for 50 licenses that you did not pay support on, since the improvement would be applied to the product and not by specific user.  Remember, IBM reserves the right to audit your compliance and can fine you if you are not in compliance.

IBM Cognos Support Renewal – What the Heck Do I Own?

IBM Cognos Support Renewal – What the Heck Do I Own?
October 13, 2019

Are you a new IBM client receiving your first IBM Cognos Support Renewal? Or maybe you’ve been a client for a long time, but you are starting to wonder, “Why do I have to continue to pay support on my licenses every year?”

Lodestar is here to help you better understand what your IBM Cognos Support Renewal payment is getting you. Yes, you can call IBM Cognos Support and log a case. You have access to service packs and patches. You can upgrade and receive all the new cool stuff IBM has included. (See IBM’s list of why to renew and details.) But there is more!


What you are really receiving from the IBM Cognos Support Renewal payment is an opportunity for you to look good in your company. Yes, that’s right… IBM Support is your backup plan. It’s the safety net because, let’s face it, whenever something happens with software, it’s IT’s fault! It is our goal to improve the image of IT and to help IT get the respect they deserve. It just takes one time of Microsoft sending you an automatic update that breaks something in Cognos and if you don’t have support, you look really bad. I don’t know about you, but I want a backup plan.


We know that IBM Cognos Support Renewal quotes look huge! And that’s where Lodestar Solutions can help! Instead of dumping support, let us help you understand what you really own, how you can leverage it, and how it can serve the business. And, by renewing with Lodestar verses directly with IBM, we can usually save you money! Lodestar Solutions offers a helpful tool that we call our, “What the Heck Do I Own?” session. We dive into each clients licensing to see if they can benefit from any changes and to help with any current frustrations they have. Check out our blog on how we helped one client reduce their support costs by $30,000! 


 We are a team of educated consultants and business intelligence leaders that are equipped with many tools to help make you successful! Let us help you learn how you can increase your end user adoption by creating internal training videos for your users. (Camtasia is a great tool for this.) Do you want to wow business users that go rogue and dump everything in Excel? We can teach you how to give a Cognos Insight Workshop where they can drag and drop CSV files, create a quick dashboard and do “what if” analysis while leveraging Cognos. And yes… you probably own Cognos Insight after the massive IBM licensing changes!

Last but not least check out our BAAM 2.0 (Business Analytics Agile Methodology) - this is Lodestar Solutions’ proven Cognos implementation methodology that has been updated to make you successful even when time and resources are limited!


  1. Email for a free customized, “What the Heck Do I Own – IBM Cognos” session to review your IBM Cognos Licenses.
  2. Email us at to receive a quote on your next support renewal bill.
  3. Attend our events and learn how to be more influential as well as how to demonstrate Cognos Insight. Attendees surveyed said that they increased their influence by 25% and gained valuable software demo skills. Click here to view our upcoming events. 

With all the licensing changes, you many benefit from being on an updated licensing model. We have saved clients an enormous amount of money by updating their licensing structure. For information email us at

IBM Support OnBoarding & Getting Started with IBM Help

We know from experience that finding information can be difficult while trying to navigate on IBM’s website. IBM SupportHowever, IBM Support is trying to make that easier. Whether you are new to managing your IBM Business Analytics products or just need a refresher, I suggest that you participate in one of their upcoming webinars to better manage your account. I would also like to remind you to make sure that you keep you company contacts current in your IBM profile. Outdated contacts can delay support requests, especially if they have left the company.

These IBM support presentations are 30 minutes, followed by Q & A, and will focus on one of three subjects:

• Gaining and Managing Access to Your Software – including managing contacts, roles, responsibilities – Passport Advantage Online
• Getting IBM Support – including getting help on demand – SR tool, Support Portal, Notifications
• Gaining and Managing Access to IBM SPSS License keys – live demo

Click here to link to the page with all information on the recurring OnBoarding sessions.

Lodestar Solutions also recommends that you check out these links for additional information.

Getting started with IBM Support
 VIDEO: Honey, have you seen my keys? (Related to SPSS)

What do you mean, My Cognos licenses expired?

What do you mean, My Cognos licenses expired?

For those of you who have been taking advantage of price savings by moving your IBM licenses to an IBM Passport Advantage Agreement (PA#), you may run into this situation.  IBM has changed the way they have been emailing notices for your licenses that are due to expire.  Instead of sending the email 75 days prior to the expiration of the license, they are sending out the email 75 days prior to your PA# Anniversary Date.  This could result in IBM licenses that are expiring prior to the Anniversary Date being left in the lurch.  I have not seen IBM put a client in the position they have to have the expired license reinstated and pay a penalty.  However, it could put you in a precarious position when you attempt to log a support ticket by finding out your license is flagged as expired.  During a time when you need their support, the last thing you need is to jump through hoops to get IBM to manually authorize an extension for support.  As we all know, this will only happen at the most inconvenient time possible and will only add more stress to the problem that is requiring you to log a support ticket.

In essence, keep track of IBM licenses that expire mid-term and follow up with your Business Partner to see if you might run into this situation.

As an additional reminder, make sure that your Primary and Secondary contacts authorized with IBM are current.  Only the Primary is allow to download software and updates, authorize the Secondary to be able to log support requests and will be the only one to receive notice of license expirations.  Many clients forget when an employee is moving to a different position or is leaving the company to have this updated before that occurs.

How Much Does IBM Cognos Support Cost When I Purchase Cognos?

Allocation of support/maintenance costs from purchase of Cognos… IBM doesn’t haven on official statement on the break out of support as a percentage of the purchase price. In fact, IBM typically will respond that the first year of support is included in the purchase price.

This response does not help when the client is trying to apply the rules of accounting and needs to break out the cost. So let’s take a look at the costs. When you purchase IBM Cognos software, the purchase price includes one year of IBM Cognos support and the second year is 20% of the listed price of the software. If you work with Lodestar Solutions for your support renewal, we can help negotiate your support and get you certain discounts; however the list cost of the second year support is 20% of the listed price. So, let’s say we purchased $100,000 of software, year two support would be $20,000. Therefore, if we subtract $20,000 from the $100,000 for year one, we see the software cost is $80,000. Now divide the $20,000 in support cost by the $80,000 of software. As a result, we realize first year support is closer to 25% of the license portion of the purchase. Thus, you can determine if you believe the support for help desk, website knowledge base updates, etc. in year one is 25% and the subscription or license is 75%.

Note this is not to be deemed legal or professional accounting advice, but for a reference point. Talk to your tax professions to determine how you will account for the purchase.

Allocating Software Maintenance Costs From Purchase Price

Most of the major software vendors sell their licenses and include the first year of support and maintenance.  As a client, your accounting department will probably ask you to separate out the support and maintenance costs from the license cost.  So, you ask your vendor to break it out and they may respond that there is no break out as it’s included. Let’s discuss how & why the accountants should be allocating software maintenance costs from the purchase price in the first place.  Accountants are governed by the AICPA guidelines, SOP 98-1 that basically states that they need to allocate the maintenance costs out of the purchase.  They then need to expense the maintenance where the license is capitalized and therefore amortized over a number of years.

So, what if the vendor doesn’t give you the breakdown? Then it’s up to you and the accountants to come up with an allocation of costs.

Allocating the Costs:

I suggest you look at the cost of support in year two being typically between 18%-20% of the purchase price.  You may decide this is the amount you will allocate to maintenance costs.

This link will shed some light on why accounts need the breakdown.

Highlights from the link above:


Perhaps the situation that will require the most judgment is when entities purchase internal-use software and the package includes software training, maintenance, data conversion, reengineering or rights to unspecified future upgrades. The purchase price may cover some or all of the features the seller provides.

Entities must allocate the purchase price among the individual package elements based on objective evidence of their fair values. Even if the contract breaks out the purchase price by element, that itemization still may not be a good enough measure of fair value (because some sellers may be willing to break out the purchase price any way just as long as they get their price).  Should you need more info on allocating software maintenance costs from the purchase price, feel free to email us at

Changes to IBM Passport Advantage Program

I learned recently that IBM removed the hurdle faced by many clients to qualify for a Passport Advantage (PA) program over the Passport Advantage Express (PAE) licensing program.  We will now discuss some of the changes to IBM Passport Advantage Program in more depth.

The hurdle was that to qualify for PA, you needed your initial purchase to equate to 500 points.  If you are just using IBM Cognos this is a substantial purchase, so most clients only qualified for PAE sites.  PAE is like having Silver Status on an airline while the version PA is like having Platinum Status.

I recommend clients consider moving their license to a single PA site.  With a PA site, if you make a significant purchase you may be able to negotiate special terms in an addendum, which is not available in a PAE site.  A PA site has one anniversary date for support renewals, so you only get one bill per year.  In a PAE site, you will receive separate support bills for each previous purchase.  And finally, if IBM decides in the future to apply level pricing to IBM Cognos like they do other brands, you will benefit by consolidating all your PAE sites to one PA site so you achieve a higher level.  This is similar to when airlines consolidate and your two frequent flyer accounts merge and how you have a higher point balance.  Currently, IBM shows levels for the IBM Cognos brand on the price sheets but all the levels excluding Government and Education have the same price.

I encourage you to act now if your licenses are up for support renewal and consolidate your sites.  Your level will be set at the first and subsequent anniversary dates.  So if IBM changes the IBM Cognos brand and levels determine discounts, you will already be set!

Lodestar Solutions can help you with these changes to IBM Passport Advantage Program and provide competitive support renewals!

Contact Kelly Ray for more information.

Ibm Passport Advantage Agreement Changes

IBM Cognos purchases are governed by the IBM Passport Advantage terms.  IBM recently announced IBM Passport Advantage Agreement changes which are designed principally to support the expanding offerings available under the program.  Changes automatically become effective on July 18, 2011, unless you notify IBM in writing prior to that date, that you disagree with the change.

You can find a copy of the agreement at :


Please carefully review the information for changes and enhancements being made.  I wanted to bring to your attention a few that will affect my IBM Cognos clients.

• Virtualization Licensing (also called “Subcapacity Licensing”). Terms related to Virtualization Licensing that have been separately available for many years, and that have been included with all new enrollments since 2005, have now been incorporated into the Agreement, making this rapidly-expanding technology solution available to all customers without separate action being required.

(Note: Subcapacity Licensing  is beneficial if you are investing in IBM Cognos PVU licensing and want to purchase beefier hardware to accommodate growth but don’t want to buy the extra PVU licenses. )

•Renewal of Software Subscription and Support. To protect customers from accidentally becoming noncompliant with the terms of the Agreement, it will now be required that for each Passport Advantage Site, the renewal of Software Subscription and Support for a particular product must either be for all licenses currently in service, or for none at all.

(Note:  The language states “licenses currently in service”, I believe this means if you have licenses not being utilized you can terminate those, but we have not received confirmation of that from IBM yet. )

In addition to the major enhancements, the IBM Passport Advantage Agreement has been generally reorganized and sections related to compliance, taxes, data privacy and security have been updated to make it easier to read and to better align with other IBM Agreements that you may have in place.

For more information, please visit the IBM Web site at or contact Lodestar Solutions at  813-415-2910.

IBM Support Renewal Through Lodestar Solutions!

IBM has recently approved Lodestar Solutions to resell a IBM Support renewal.  This is great news for IBM Cognos clients looking for competitive prices on their IBM Cognos Support renewal.

Effective April 1, 2011, Lodestar Solutions can help you with all of your IBM support renewal needs.
The benefits are:

  • Competitive IBM support renewal quotes
  • Support Service is still supplied by IBM direct
  • Quotes to Trade-up Cognos licenses to licenses that get the benefit of new C10 functionality
  • Educate you on IBM Cognos license functionality
  • Review your license mix to make sure you have the most advantageous product mix for your business needs
  • Competitive Quotes for additional licenses

IBM Support Renewal

How to get a quote:
Call Lodestar Solutions at 813-415-2910 or email

How to Understand IBM Cognos Licensing

Cognos Licensing Can Be Confusing

Did you recently inherit responsibility for IBM Cognos licensing?  Are you a power user that isn’t sure what you own?  Yes, when you first look at the licenses available from IBM Cognos, it gets a little overwhelming … but it’s like when you walk into a deli and they will customize a sandwich for you.  IBM Cognos offers a number of different licenses to meet your needs.

In addition to a number of different licenses to choose from, and if you had multiple purchases of Cognos licenses over the years, you probably have multiple site numbers.   A site represents the client location, however when licenses were migrated from Cognos to IBM the process often created a unique site number for all of your orders.  This also may mean you get multiple support renewal bills.

Steps to Understand Your Cognos Licenses

It is your responsibility as a client to make sure you do not exceed your licenses.  Most of the IBM Cognos licensing are named users not concurrent.  So everyone needs a license.

In order to better understand your licenses, we recommend you do the following:

  1. Contact Lodestar at 813-415-2910 and we can provide a listing of all of your currently supported licenses.
  2. Clients that purchased a license a long time ago may want to migrate some of their licenses to the new IBM structure.  This is particularly true of clients that own Cognos Planning Analyst or Reporting Administrator licenses.
  3. Lodestar Solutions can walk you thru your licenses to make sure you understand what each does.
  4. Identify the users currently set up in your system by accessing IBM Cognos security.

Identifying Your IBM Cognos Users

Cognos User Access is defined in the security tab of IBM Cognos Administration.  A list of Secured Functions is within the Capabilities Section. Capabilities will relate to functionality within the licenses such as Analysis Studio and Cognos View.  Candidly, deciphering this could be challenging as security is a mix of Cognos and External namespace settings.  If you own the SDK you could utilize it to gather license counts.  Using the query method with the search path of the group/role and setting ‘members’ as one of the properties to be returned will return members of a Cognos or external group/role.

query(searchPath, properties, sortBy, options)

Functions to Query Your Cognos Users

There are also some very useful functions which can be used in the ‘searchPath’ parameter of the query method. One of these is the expandMembers() function which will recursively expand group and role memberships returning a list of accounts.  Alternatively there are 3rd party tools for purchase that can help measure IBM Cognos usage.

  1. Internally evaluate if the license mix owned meets your needs.  If not, you may be able to upgrade licenses cheaper than purchasing new licenses.
  2. Lodestar would be happy to provide an estimate of costs for licenses and provide a worksheet that helps you plan for the licenses you need.

For help contact Lodestar Solutions at 813-415-2910 or