IBM Cognos Business Intelligence Review

Armonk, NY
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Why Cognos

IBM Cognos software is a business intelligence tool that can be used to improve strategic management and monitor financial performance. Cognos is unique for its scalable products that can be tailored to the size of the business, ranging from the individual, a larger workgroup, an entire department, a small business, or a major corporation.

Product Details

IBM Cognos software is an online-based business intelligence platform that offers a complete array of BI software to address company goals. Considered one of the leaders in the field of business intelligence, Cognos is comprised of over thirty different products. Cognos’ abilities include dashboarding, reporting, analytics, scorecarding, and, notably, data integration.

Among its greatest strengths is its attention to customer feedback in the design of its products, consistently earning it high scores as a manufacturer that understands the needs of its clientele very well. Its advanced analytical decision making software has especially been noted, allowing for organizations to automate and strengthen sound business decisions. Furthermore, the latest version of Cognos, Cognos 10, is completely compatible with other software products and older versions of Cognos. Cognos 10 is able to meld together information from multiple platforms, allowing for different systems to run together seamlessly. Essentially, this means that products from Microsoft, Oracle, or other competitors’ data structures can easily be unified into the Cognos infrastructure.

Cognos also contains unique products that completely separate it from the broader field of business intelligence by being able to simultaneously cater to both the largest corporate giants on the one hand, and smaller to midsize companies on the other, with the same system. Cognos Express is designed specifically for departments within larger companies, and smaller and midsized companies, that are unable to afford exorbitant implementation fees. Express is limited to 100 users and has all the same reporting, querying, dashboarding, and scorecarding capabilities of the full-scale software. This allows businesses that before now have been largely unable to afford the technology to use the same analytical processes as its much larger competitors.

Cognos is also easily manageable by IT, as data access control tools allow a centralized system to determine the extent of what an individual user is able to see and do. Such tools maintain proper levels of clearance and ensure both internal and external data security. In the case of Cognos Express, the smaller scale of the implementation also makes it easier for IT to manage.


Cognos is usable with multidimensional and relational data sources from various companies, such as Oracle, SAP, Microsoft, and more.

Featured programs include: Cognos TM1, Cognos Insight, Cognos Express, Cognos Enterprise, Cognos Disclosure, Management

Analysis Features
  • Ad Hoc Analysis?
  • Issue Indicators?
  • Online Analytical Processing (OLAP)?
  • Predictive Analysis?
  • Profit Analysis?
  • Trend Indicators?
  • User Friendly Interface?
Reporting Features
  • Ad Hoc Reporting?
  • Automatic Scheduled Reporting?
  • Customizable Dashboard?
  • Customizable Features?
  • Dashboard?
  • Financial Forecast/Budget?
  • Graphic Benchmark Tools?
  • Multiple Languages?
  • Performance Measurements?

Target Market

IBM services over 23,000 companies from a broad cross-section of industries including aerospace, defense, banking, education, healthcare and many more. Below are some of their clients:

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Customer Service & Support

IBM has a comprehensive customer support system that includes training and certification courses, and customer service available for users of their Business Intelligence programs, such as Cognos.

They offer trainings that can be individualized based on specific roles within a company, and can be implemented both online and in-person. They also offer private courses, and specialized certifications to reflect expertise that aid in career advancement.

Online tech support provides customers with access to IBM specialists that can address
questions or potential problems with software.


Critics of the product cite its difficulty to use, especially for those new to advanced software. Of particular note are the error messages that continually pop up, and have been noted to be very difficult to cipher and even more difficult to resolve. Data reports also take almost twice as long to compile with Cognos as compared to most competitors. And in comparison to the competition, IBM Cognos scores lower in terms of the overall customer experience, including support and sales interactions.



IBM World Trade Corporation, a company of over 435,000 employees globally, is based in Armonk, New York. It specializes in the creation and marketing of computer hardware and software around the world. It also offers general consulting services in areas such as mainframe computers and nanotechnology.

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User Reviews



  1. Ruud van Nieuwkerk says:

    Very easy to implement and to work with. The BI tool, which can be used perfectly with excel and easy to learn and use.

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