Should I continue IBM Cognos Support?

I am repeatedly asked by clients whether they should continue IBM Cognos Support.   I am a big believer in maintaining IBM Cognos Support as there are a number of benefits.  Many benefits clients don’t even know exist.  There are three basic levels of IBM Cognos Support – Standard, Advantage, and Premier.
Most clients have Standard Support, so I’ll focus on the benefits associated with standard support.

New Releases
The biggest benefit is access to new maintenance releases.   As long as you continue support, you have the right to upgrade your software to the new maintenance release.  Please note that when significant functionality is added, there may be a migration fee or a need to upgrade your licenses to get this new functionality.
As long as you continue to be supported, you will have access to contact IBM Cognos Support if you have issues.  Clients have on-line support access to service request management and research issues in the knowledge base.  If you are designated as a support contact for your organization, you have the ability to log service requests via the web or phone.  There are different levels of designation which are primary, secondary and authorized caller.
See the chart from the IBM Cognos Support Plans Guide:
What happens if you let IBM Cognos support lapse?
You will not get access to support and will not be able to upgrade your licenses.  If you recently lapsed, we recommend you contact your support renewal representative and try to get reinstated.  You may be penalized for letting it lapse.  If your support lapsed a long time ago and you want support or to upgrade, contact Lodestar Solutions and we can provide you a competitive quote on new licenses.
Should I pay for support for licenses I am not currently using?
That depends on if you think you will use them.  The prices for IBM Cognos have increased, so if you let maintenance lapse on some of the licenses and you decide you want to use them later, you will be required to purchase new licenses at a higher price.  IBM Cognos Maintenance is 20% of the purchase price and it’s a lot cheaper to pay maintenance instead of buying new.   I recommend you evaluate if other departments in your organization may need licenses or see if you can expand IBM Cognos to solve another business issue.
If you need more information please check out IBM Cognos Support.
The below chart is from the IBM Cognos Support Plan Guide:

Save Money on BI Purchase – Part 2

This article is a Part 2 on how to Save Money on BI Purchase.

4. Support Renewal– Software Maintenance/Support renew fees are recurring, so when you negotiate your contract consider the support renewal. Software providers often state it’s a set percentage of the price. Remember that the savings you negotiate upfront on support/maintenance will result in savings every year.

Secret 5: Support Maintenance a percentage of the purchase price. Some companies make the support renewal a percentage of the list price. However, ask for it to be X% of the purchase price after the discount and make sure it’s written in the contract.

Secret 6: You can cap the increase of Support Maintenance. Put language in the contract that says the annual maintenance fees can not increase by more than Consumer Price Index + 3%. This will protect you years down the road if the software company is sold to a huge company that wants to jack the prices by 10%.

Secret 7: Often times the first year maintenance is bundled in the purchase price. So if they are charging you 20% of the purchase price for support, guess what – you are paying twice as much. If you bought it for X, this includes the license + 1st year Maintenance. In year two, you will receive a maintenance bill for 20% of X – this is equal to 20% of (License +1st year maintenance). You might not be able to get this changed, but just knowing it helps your negotiating power.

5. Lock in Pricing – When you negotiate a large purchase, you may underestimate the number of licenses. Yes, you can always buy more, but shelf-ware is expensive. In the initial purchase contract, ask for price protection for one year. They rarely go over a year or past their fiscal year end. By asking for language in the contract stating for one year you can buy licenses at X, you make sure you protect yourself when your project is successful and you need more licenses.

6. Put everything in the contract – I am surprised that people don’t request the descriptions of the licenses to be included in the contract. Software companies regularly change their license mix and pricing. So make sure the contract clearly states what functionality is included in the Administrator license. Years from now, when you can’t recall your license mix and the names have all changed, you will appreciate this detail in the contract.

7. You have what they need – Software sales representatives have needs too. Besides selling licenses, they need good references, presenters and clients willing to do press releases. While you are beating up your sales representative because now you are an educated consumer, offer him/her a bone. Instead, suggest that after a successfully completed project you would be willing to be a reference, do a press release or present at the annual user group in Vegas. Maybe you’ll even get a free trip out of it.

Keep these tips in mind the next time you or your company is about to make a major software purchases.

See Part 1 of Save Money on BI Purchase HERE