IBM Cognos Express and TM1

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IBM Cognos Express and TM1

Postby cbergen » Thu Sep 03, 2009 6:01 pm

Does anyone know anything about IBM Cognos Express and how similar it is to TM1. I heard that its TM1 repackaged can anyone confirm that?
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Re: IBM Cognos Express and TM1

Postby Alan Kirk » Thu Sep 03, 2009 9:53 pm

cbergen wrote:Does anyone know anything about IBM Cognos Express and how similar it is to TM1. I heard that its TM1 repackaged can anyone confirm that?


I suggest that you take a look at the (currently) previous thread in this forum. As I indicated, TM1 is basically a calculation engine. You can build a BI solution around that, albeit from the ground up. Cognos products, on the other hand, have been more about having tools to create a front end as you may be able to glean from this low-content, high visual candy YouTube presentation from Rob Ashe. The site itself also offers no real insights into what Cognos Express is. Indeed the only information that it does offer is that you need to "drive greater efficiencies, manage costs and identify new growth opportunities". This is a piece of perspicacity which would leave most business owners sighing, rolling their eyes and uttering "well duh" under their breath.

As I indicated, Cognos is setting about integrating TM1 as the back end storage / calculation engine, and my understanding (given the lack of solid, hard, useful content leading up to Cognos Express' release) is that this will be the same. So no, it's not TM1 repackaged so much as TM1 plus a light version of Cognos tools to build your applications. This is probably going to be an enhancement to both products, since Cognos needed some calculation grunt and TM1 could do with some easy to deploy presentation tools beyond Excel. Accordingly if the product is what I expect it to be, it will probably be a pretty useful package. However its value to a business will also depend on its price, and for once it would be nice to see transparent price lists.

I do not hold my breath on that point.

According to a newsletter that I received from QueBit this morning, the release date will be October 1 (with the virtual launch event on September 29), so hopefully we'll get some more solid information around that time.

Or at least more talking head, multi-camera view videos skewed to the attention deficit disorder demographic.
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Re: IBM Cognos Express and TM1

Postby Tom De Kuyffer » Tue Sep 08, 2009 8:11 am

FYI :

Some Course-suppliers already have some IBM Cognos Express Offerings, whose content is pretty similar to the TM1 courses....
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Re: IBM Cognos Express and TM1

Postby Alan Kirk » Wed Sep 16, 2009 10:16 am

cbergen wrote:Does anyone know anything about IBM Cognos Express and how similar it is to TM1.


A couple of new articles on it:

IBM Targets Mid Market with Cognos Express from ITJungle.com:

IBM yesterday showed it's serious about competing in the mid market business intelligence space with the launch of Cognos Express, a collection of analytics, reporting, and budgeting tools for groups of 100 users or less. With its in-memory OLAP capability, streamlined implementation, and Web- and Excel-based interfaces, the $12,500 offering can be used without much help from IT staffs, which will put it up against the likes of in-memory OLAP leader QlikTech.


Which, I must admit, I was unfamiliar with. I initially thought that this article might have been a shill (especially after a bone-headed comment about IBM "(dusting) off the older TM1 in-memory OLAP database"), but after researching it a little further it looks like the product really is getting a head of steam up. I shall be interested to look at it further.

Before designing the product, IBM consulted with CIOs and CEOs of 2,500 medium size organizations (which IBM defines as having from 100 to 999 employees), and asked them what they looked for in a BI tool, and three things kept bubbling to the surface, Plummer explains.


That's Ben Plummer, whose name is familiar to me but I can't place it. The article describes him as ex-Cognos but I think he may have been an Applixian at some point. Or certainly in some way involved in TM1.

This feedback led IBM to dust off the older TM1 in-memory OLAP database that Cognos obtained with its acquisition of Applix. On top of this core, IBM built the three Cognos Express modules: Reporter, Xcelerator, and Advisor. The modules can be used together or purchased separately for $12,500 each (an unlimited license for up to 100 users) or financed for $25 per user and up.

Cognos Express Reporter is a Web-based ad hoc query and reporting tool that can be used against an organization's existing relational or flat-file data store, or against the Cognos Express suite's underlying OLAP data store. Reporter comes with canned reports and dashboards--delivered in the user's choice of Web browser, PDF, Excel, e-mail, or Web portal formats--that are easy enough for novices to learn quickly, IBM says.

Cognos Express Xcelerator effectively turns a user's Excel spreadsheet into an interface for running advanced OLAP queries. The software lets users analyze their data and perform "what if" modeling from the comfort of Excel, which is probably what they were previously using for analyzing their numbers. There is also a Web-based interface for Xcelerator.

Cognos Express Advisor is the most advanced component of the suite, and delivers the most powerful interface to the underlying TM1 OLAP server. This software lets users slice and dice and drill down into their data. It also delivers more advanced data "visualizations" than the other two modules.


This corresponds to a post that I recall Lotsaram making recently.

I'll leave y'all to read the rest at your leisure.

The second article is from IntelligentEnterprise.com and is I think potentially the more interesting one; "IBM Cognos Express Hits and Misses":

I'm glad to see that IBM Cognos is making the most of good assets. Rather than introducing a light version of Cognos enterprise technologies to meet the needs of midsize companies, IBM yesterday bowed an IBM Cognos Express offering that is really one part Cognos and two parts Applix TM1.

I have not heard much about Applix since it was acquired by Cognos way back in 2007. Apparently it's going strong as a stand-alone product, but it should have been sharing in all the attention QlikView and Spotfire have been getting these past two years. The speed and ease of in-memory-based "what-if" analysis has helped make QlikView one of the fastest-growing products in BI for the past few years.


Further down:
Like SAP's BusinessObjects Edge series for the midmarket, IBM Cognos Express is targeted at companies with 100 to 1,000 employees, but I'm a bit mystified as to why IBM is using a named-user licensing approach. Deployments of the IBM Cognos Express Reporter (reporting), Advisor (analysis) and Xcelerator (planning, budgeting and forecasting) modules start at $12,500 each for five named users. The standard edition of SAP BusinessObjects Edge starts at $19,000 for five concurrent seats, which means any five users can tap into the functionality at any given time. Edge tops out at 100 concurrent seats, which could easily support as many as 1,000 users. In contrast, IBM Cognos Express tops out at 100 named seats, so IBM is effectively saying that only 10 percent of the workforce at a 1,000-employee company will be a BI user. That's not very flexible, nor is it in the spirit of what most people say BI needs to become: a widely used tool for everyday decision makers.

Whether it's $19,000 or $12,500, these companies are still fighting a perceived five-figure gap between what companies can get from SAP or IBM and what they can get "built in for free" when the organization uses the combination of Microsoft Office, SQL Server and SharePoint. As I wrote in this story on IBM Cognos Express, the other differentiator IBM is counting on versus Microsoft (in addition to in-memory analysis) is the performance management-oriented planning, budgeting and forecasting functionality of Xcelerator. But to play Devil's advocate for a moment, would Microsoft have pulled the plug on Microsoft PerformancePoint if it really sensed strong demand for performance management functionality?


What's of interest to me is the wildly varying reports of the price (and as I've said often enough, it's all about the money, honey); the first article stating that it's "The modules can be used together or purchased separately for $12,500 each (an unlimited license for up to 100 users)", the latter stating that "Deployments of the IBM Cognos Express Reporter (reporting), Advisor (analysis) and Xcelerator (planning, budgeting and forecasting) modules start at $12,500 each for five named users". 5, 100... that's a pretty big gap. If it's really 100, that's a really good deal for TM1 for SMEs. If it's 5... not so much.

And this presupposes that it's an all inclusive price, no garbage about extra per core, etc.
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