Decoupling from Cognos is a big lift. What could more runway do for your roadmap?
Searching for IBM® Cognos EOS alternatives? Make sure you look before you leap.
The IBM® Cognos family is large and long-tailed. It tends to be deeply embedded wherever it remains in operation. Its daunting complexity – even among other products from the same OEM – and the highly contextual use cases customers bring to the software have contributed to diverse adoption patterns in the market. Multiple major release numbers, many of which carry several minor releases behind them, exist concurrently and see continued use across an array of business settings through this day. This has led outside analysts like 6sense to posit the product family owns nearly 4.5% of its software category.
Rumors of Cognos’s demise have been exaggerated. However, there’s also little doubt many companies are looking to move away from the software, whether it is due to lacking feature sets, a perceived inability to modernize alongside newer applications, or migration pressure from within or outside the divisions leaning on Cognos.
Many companies might be willing to keep Cognos if they can overcome security, interoperability, or support availability concerns, despite 2022’s Cognos EOS announcements. Before moving on or updating your install, consider that you can probably keep utilizing the software your business currently uses, in a larger number of contexts than you might think.
Would you prefer to keep Cognos if there was an alternative to address security, interoperability, and support availability concerns related to Cognos EOS announcements?
Investigating Cognos EOS alternatives
Cognos has a reputation for being tough to master. Add in relatively high technical, skill, and cost requirements, and you have barriers to entry that double as migration issues at the end of the product’s lifecycle. It’s not typically easy to move away from Cognos when it’s entrenched.
Organizations that plan to migrate from Cognos usually fall into two camps:
Companies with a clear line of reasoning and exit plan. For instance, a business moving along a predetermined roadmap that involves switching from Cognos to Power BI – with adequate support to go with contextual internal knowledge – might have a firm idea of where it wants to land.
Companies that think they probably need something new but aren’t certain of viable Cognos alternatives to meet their use cases. This can be a challenging position if Cognos supports business-critical tasks, like daily reporting, and no clear successor is in sight. It can be difficult to find a single cloud platform that manages the same tasks, at the same depth and quality, with the same level of throughput.
In both cases, it can still be useful to sit down and create (or review) a list of must-haves for the platform you want to land on, whether you’re certain which one it will be or not. On top of discovering new tools, listing everything out can help your company determine whether the capabilities it needs can be derived from the current Cognos implementation instead.
The case for keeping Cognos: Enhanced capabilities through software changes
Companies with active on-premises Cognos implementations can often take advantage of their perpetual licenses by adapting their use cases and/or the software itself. Although modifying the source code is obviously not allowed under the terms of the license agreement, there are many instances in which organizations can implement legally and contractually compliant changes at the administrative/software level to achieve the desired outcome.
Cognos is a tool that often requires data scientists to utilize and teams of IT experts to keep running smoothly. Unless you have an uncommonly deep, cross-disciplinary knowledge of the platform, you might not know there are ways to process and review data in new ways without undergoing an upgrade.
Finding workarounds and creative ways to implement them isn’t always an easy ask, but following through with the help of an expert guide could earn your company a significant amount of runway as it plans where to go next. Likewise, weighing potential in-software fixes against your list of needs can save a lot of trouble and money going into a migration your company might not really need yet. Finally, adapting the software to your use case can allow you to keep using it in tandem with other business software that has more urgent update needs. In other words, it doesn’t need to be a roadblock to modernization.
The case for keeping Cognos: Ongoing independent support for unsupported versions
Several on-premises versions of Cognos are either past or rapidly approaching their end of service (EOS) dates with IBM, with programs like Cognos Analytics Continuing Support ending on April 30, 2024. Some companies with a high degree of confidence in their ability to leverage Cognos might continue to use products that have moved to EOS status but worry about what happens when an unknown issue arises and there’s no external team to raise a ticket with. Others might think that moving to a supported product version is the only way to ensure the ongoing level of support.
These two situations are far from the only ones in which Cognos support issues arise. Another example is migrating IBM customers who need active support to meet regulatory requirements but don’t wish to lock into multiyear service upgrade for twelve months or less of service.
In situations like these, you might think updating the version and locking into a new service contract is the only way to achieve Cognos support. But other options are available.
Because so many Cognos versions are running concurrently on the market, an independent third-party software maintenance (TPSM) provider might be the fastest way to achieve your desired objectives without expanded OEM service contracts, cloud migrations, and other potential headaches that come along with updating or upgrading.
You might think updating the version and locking into a new service contract is the only way to achieve Cognos support. But other options are available.
Third-party software maintenance for Cognos: Alternative EOS options with big impact
A sudden Cognos issue your company isn’t sure how to solve doesn’t need to be a showstopper, and a pending loss of support doesn’t mean there are no viable support choices for your Cognos implementation.
Keeping that in mind, is a move to a Cognos alternative the best idea for your current context?
The answer will vary from team to team, but many companies would be happy to keep using what they have if that option was available, whether the plan is to keep the software for a set period or to build out a bit more runway to see what comes next.
Because they help with migration planning, execution, and long-term management of software OEMs consider legacy, TPSM providers can provide a quick path to your desired outcomes without trappings like incongruent support terms keeping you locked into software you don’t wish to keep. Companies with a clear need to move away from Cognos can keep the software exactly as long as they need it, fully supported, even if the OEM won’t touch it without a new service contract or version number.
Cognos migrations can take years and require detailed input and planning from multiple internal and external teams, typically at a substantial cost. That could be the right next move for your business, or it could be that a few relatively minor changes administered by an expert can keep your current implementation secure and supported.