IBM Cognos Analytics software is an online-based financial reporting software platform that offers a complete array of BI software to address company goals. But, what is financial reporting and why is it important?

What is a Financial Reporting Software & Why Do You Need It?

In any industry, whether manufacturing or service, we have multiple departments, which function day in day out to achieve organizational goals. The functioning of these departments may or may not be interdependent, but at the end of the day, they are linked together by one common thread – Accounting & Finance department. The accounting & financial aspects of each and every department are recorded and are reported to various stakeholders.

There are two different types of reporting – Financial reporting for various stakeholders & Management Reporting for internal Management of an organization. Both these types of reporting are important and are an integral part of the Accounting & reporting system of an organization. But considering the number of stakeholders involved and statutory & other regulatory requirements, Financial Reporting is a very important and critical task of an organization. It is a vital part of Corporate Governance.

What is IBM Cognos?

Cognos provides a complete solution for Performance Management and Business Intelligence solution along with budgeting, strategic planning, forecasting, and consolidations. This software is a perfect solution across various platforms such as finance, operations, sales and marketing, and human resources department.

With this tool, users can get formatted, interactive dashboards and analytical reporting. These features allow you to interact with reports on mobile devices or even when they are offline and disconnected.

Cognos Analytics 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.

Read our latest review, about finance reporting tool IBM Cognus

The Benefits of IBM Cognos

IBM Cognos is useful for ensuring that you meet all your operational requirements in a cohesive manner. Users can instantly share useful insights by incorporating these solutions in into their daily operations.

You can make use of this tool effectively across teams, organizations, and ecosystems for the purpose of increasing their value, scalability and overall performance. Cognos Analytics provides a total web-based experience without needing any desktop tools. Users do not have to worry about transferring their data since everything is on the cloud.

IBM Cognos Analytics gives businesses with a very intelligent and intuitive smarter self-service that directs them in creating insights from data for impressive and effective presentation. With experience in delivering mission-critical analytics, Cognos Analytics ensures that you meet all your organization’s requirements in one integrated solution that is deployed on-premise or in the cloud.

Cognos Analytics is ready when you are with a unified experience that can be achieved from a web-based interface or mobile devices, allowing you to immediately find, evaluate, generate, and share insight. Users can instantly share insights by amplifying and incorporating them into daily processes. With an interactive and intuitive web experience, users can easily add their personal touch to the content and make dashboards from anywhere, anytime, whether from a desktop or mobile device.

The guided self-service approach predicts user intent, provides recommendations and automates the analytics process to immediately and independently provide you with the results. IBM Cognos Analytics also enables you to work effectively across teams, organizations, and ecosystems to increase value and offer the scalability, governance, security, and performance that many organizations today demand.

With Cognos Analytics, you get a total web-based experience that doesn’t require desktop tools. Whether you are using your desktop or working on your mobile device, your user experience remains consistent. On top of that, users enjoy the convenience and benefits of the cloud with no need to transfer your data.

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Key Features of IBM Cognos

Some of the IBM Cognos key features include:

  • Intuitive interface for authoring content
  • Drag-and-drop dashboard creator via desktops or mobile devices
  • Contextualized smart search
  • Automatically recommends best visualizations for particular data templates
  • Data modeling features, such as direct reporting from data sources, automatic data model generation based on keywords, and uploading personal and external data
  • Data protection by using layers of permissions and authentication

IBM Cognos offers product enhancements in its latest release (November 2017), such as:

  • Support for the chart values
  • Advanced calculations for data modules and dashboards
  • Better filtering in visualization and reports
  • Ease of reports users to drill down into the data

Here are some other overall features:

  • Simple, intuitive interface
  • Smart search works in the context
  • Personalized experience
  • Scheduling and alerts
  • Interactive content available online or offline
  • A complete web-based experience
  • Easy upload of personal/external data
  • Report directly off a data source
  • Effortlessly combine data sources
  • Data models can be automatically generated based on keywords
  • Dashboards created using drag and drop on mobile device or desktop
  • Best automatic visualizations
  • Various reporting templates and styles
  • On-demand menus for access to full capabilities over a clean workspace
  • Single interface to create ad hoc or pixel-perfect reports frees up IT
  • Data protected with layers of permissions, authentication, and history
  • Report integrity maintained regardless of the range of inputs across business
  • Controls to protect data whether you’re creating one report for many or many are creating one report
  • Scheduling and alerts

Pricing Plans for IBM Cognos

IBM Cognos have different packages and are available at varying prices. Users can choose from the following packages based on their requirement.

Proof of Concept – By Quote

Maximum 6 months subscription and comes with a 50% discount

  • Full features,
  • Unlimited users
  • Full product capacity
  • The full spectrum of user capability
  • Access to on-premise and cloud data
  • Easily migrate to a subscription

Workgroup – Starting at $1,990/month

Add users as required

  • 25-500 users
  • Self-service governance
  • Shared analytics & visualizations
  • 100GB user storage & backup
  • Email delivery/subscribe services
  • Secure & interactive mobile use
  • Access on-premise and cloud data
  • Guided reports & dashboards
  • Technical support
  • Single tenant environment

Standard – Starting at $10,100/month

Meets the needs of organizations of all sizes

  • 100+ users
  • Include Workgroup features plus
  • Additional pre-production environment
  • 250GB user storage & backup
  • Optional: cloud throughput capacity
  • Optional: 250GB personal cloud storage

Enterprise – Starting at $19,950/month

Powered to meet critical performance needs

  • 150+ users
  • Includes Standard features plus
  • High-performance environment
  • 500GB user storage & backup
  • Optional: cloud throughput capacity (ask for pricing)
  • Optional: additional 250GB user storage (ask for pricing)
  • Bare-metal server

Hybrid Entitlement – By Quote

On-premise deployment option with access to IBM hosted environment

  • 100+ users
  • Two purchasing options
  • Buy with Standard hosted service or Enterprise

Pros & Cons of IBM Cognos


  • Cognos Active Reports are transportable
    • They can be e-mailed
    • They can be stored on jump drives
    • They can be saved to shared areas of a filesystem
  • Cognos Active Reports are great for offline consumption
    • You can execute them while away from the office
    • Field employees can access data without an Internet connection
    • Users can work in remote locations, such as airplanes
  • Cognos Active Reports work with iPads
    • Executives want this
    • iPad usage is often synonymous as ease-of-use
  • Cognos Active Reports can be flashy
    • Flashy information is more likely to be consumed than basic information
    • The wow factor is likely to bring positive attention to your business intelligence group


The disadvantages of using the MHT files are as follows:

  • Cognos Active Reports files can become very large
  • Cognos Active Reports are very difficult to secure
  • High price and difficult to maintain
  • A lot of training is required for optimal use of the software

Top IBM Cognos Reviews

1. Kurt Hokanson– “Cognos – Efficient and Effective”

Profile: Event Manager
Reviewer source: Capterra

 Overall score- 5/5
 Ease of Use- 5 / 5
 Features & Functionality- 4 / 5
 Customer Support- 5 / 5
 Value for Money- 5 / 5


  • Intuitive. Drag and drop features for creating reports work the way that you think they should.
  • Generates information quickly. Lag time behind running large complex reports is not long.


  • Only available on windows. Macintosh requires Parallels to let the program run.

2. Brian Schwartz- “Really helpful tool to determine key performance indicators and metrics ”

Profile: Affiliate Manager
Reviewer source: Capterra

 Overall score- 5/5
 Ease of Use- 4 / 5
 Features & Functionality- 5 / 5
 Customer Support- 5 / 5
 Value for Money- 5 / 5


  • Daily KPIs including Daily Registrations, New Client conversions, Channel by Channel Breakdowns, Existing Client Base Revenues
  • Client lifetime values from a particular referring source help determine traffic quality


  • Functions better in IE would prefer to use in Firefox or Chrome
  • Would be great to have a preview option to see how the reports would render

3. Nabeel C. – “Business Intelligence Software with Standard Reports and Self Service BI”

Profile: Finance Minister
Reviewer source: Software Advice

 Overall score- 4 / 5
 Ease of Use- 3 / 5
 Features & Functionality- 3 / 5
 Customer Support- 4 / 5
 Value for Money- 4 / 5


  • Cognos is an incredibly powerful reporting tool offered by IBM and it has a wonderful ability to be customized across different industries and companies. It can transform work efficiency but automating virtually any data that exists in a company’s primary accounting and finance system.


  • Cognos is not very user-friendly and often times it can take a while for an individual working with Congos to get familiar with the functionality and the power this tool possesses. Furthermore, report writing and query studio functionality require some database knowledge so the true power of the tool is sometimes limited by these factors.

Top IBM Cognos Alternatives


Tableau has a longer history than most other BI platforms, having emerged from Stanford University’s Department of Computer Science in the early 2000s. Tableau was originally billed as a “data visualization” platform, and the organization of complex data into easy-to-understand graphs and charts is still one of its most popular features.

Tableau is able to interpret information in relational databases and data cubes, whether on-premise or stored in remote (or cloud) data centers. It was designed with best practices of design and data visualization baked into the software, ensuring even novice users can produce professional results.


Originally launched by a Swedish company in the early 1990s, QlikView has grown to become a popular BI platform with many satisfied customers from around the world. Fans praise QlikView for its ease-of-use, speed, and overall value.

QlikView enables the creation of custom BI applications that companies can deploy in-house. While other BI platforms have similar functionality, QlikView is often singled out for the relative ease with which even non-technical users can create effective BI applications.


BusinessObjects by SAP is a fully integrated collection of BI applications with many satisfied users across a range of industries, including manufacturing, insurance, and underwriting and financial services. It’s popular mainly with larger organizations and multinational enterprises.

BusinessObjects includes a number of applications designed to improve a company’s working efficiency. Its Enterprise Performance Management application, for example, helps clarify the relationship between performance-tracking metrics of individuals and individual lines of business with the performance of the business as a whole.

IBM Cognos Free Trail

If you are still confused about IBM Cognos, you can take the free trial to check out the features and ensure this is the perfect software for you!