Cognos Express has changed. Changed for the better I hope. IBM have announced the simplification of the licensing model for the Express version. Cognos Express, or CX as the bods at IBM call it is one of the first fully integrated planning and reporting platforms available to the mid-market at a very reasonable price and is currently one of my favourite products and one of the big growth areas for us here at Bedford.
As I wrote a few weeks back, CX is a derivative of its enterprise brothers – TM1 and Cognos BI. It has the full functionality of its siblings but has a reduced maximum user number. It was previously broken down into four connectors – Advisor, Reporter, Planner and Xcelerator. Thankfully IBM have reduced this now to two connectors – Reporter is renamed Business Intelligence and Planner and Xcelerator merge into Performance Management. The Advisor product sails off into the sunset. A simplified connector license leads of course to simplified user licenses, Admin, User and Consumer. Admin & Consumer licenses cover all connectors and the User license is specific to each connector. The slight kicker is that purchases are limited to 50 users for Performance Management and 100 users for Business Intelligence. Overall it’s a welcome simplification, the previous licensing could be cumbersome and difficult to explain to clients, this is certainly more succinct and gives less room for confusion.
Over here in Bedford towers we’re big fans of CX. It really is a robust upgrade for businesses from existing spreadsheet systems and can be picked up relatively quickly by power Excel users. Having completed two installations myself recently, it’s not technically challenging to anyone with some basic IT understanding and this is a major plus versus some of the enterprise software. At the mid-market level cost is always going to be an issue. CX is priced at a level which makes it a relatively easy sell, the ROI is quick, the risk in implementation is minimal.
We’re definitely starting to see a shift in the economic situation of a lot of mid-market companies as confirmed today by Mark Carney at the Bank of England. Almost every day we’re getting new enquiries from companies who have secured budget to upgrade out dated Excel systems and CX is filling that gap nicely. Companies who have been hoarding cash through the tough recession years are now coming out of the shadows, they’re fed up with the lack of analysis, lack of auditability and lack of flexibility their spreadsheets give them and they’re looking to upgrade. They don’t have hundreds of thousands to spend like some of our bigger clients, so price is a keen differentiator when they go to market. I’m glad to say IBM have recognised this and we’re delighted to partner with them to bring CX to the UK mid-market