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

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