Mastering IBM Cognos Analytics License Compliance: Key Challenges and Solutions for Your Organization

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If your organization has been notified of a pending software license audit from IBM, or you read the recent announcement that IBM customers must now report their license consumption, or you just want to optimize usage of your IBM Cognos Analytics licenses, read on to learn how to master IBM Cognos license compliance. 

Software licensing is complicated due to many factors. The four main license compliance challenges are as follows:

  1. Having a cross-team understanding – Procurement, Analytics and Admin teams – of your agreement and the IBM Cognos licensing roles.

    Now that may seem obvious but in most organizations the agreement gets thrown in the drawer and only one or two people fully understand the licensing roles. We recently polled more than 200 people on the question of Licensing roles and have found repeatedly in organization after organization that around 90% of the time, only one or two people really understand the licensing roles well. That can get organizations into a lot of trouble because people who are not familiar with those roles could grant access to a license not understanding the liability side of what that could present to your organization. Thus cross-team awareness is very important for software licensing.

  2. Establishing a solid baseline of where your organization stands right now from a license perspective.

    We polled 200 plus people on this topic as well and learned that in over 90% of cases, people are tracking licenses through spreadsheets, through their ticketing system and through emails and notes. For them to pull together a baseline is an extraordinary amount of manual work. Many believe that the Cognos audit reports would be helpful in an audit; however, these reports answer a different set of questions. Cognos audit reports advise only data that has been accessed and not who can access reports or data.  As well if you must pull together this information you need someone expert who understand IBM Cognos objects often have to merge in authentication information from Microsoft Active Directory or Google. Most customers don’t have the resources or time to turn this into reusable analytics..

  3. Compliance reporting

    Do you have a push button process, or does it require a lot of effort for people to run around to pull this information together when you need it? If you had a quarterly review of licensing, would you be able to just pull it together quickly or would it consume a lot of time with your best people ? From our recent polling, most organizations fall into the latter category.

    Effective May 1, 2023, IBM updated their Passport Advantage license agreement, such that customers must now, at least once per year, declare their license consumption to IBM, and do so within 30 days of an IBM request. This change underscores the need for robust, accurate, and instant compliance reporting.

  4. Change management

    From a change management standpoint, in most organizations today, there is a 30 percent churn, meaning onboarding, offboarding, and other role changes that occur throughout the year. If you had 10,000 people in your organization that would mean 3,000 tickets at a thirty percent rate. Each ticket typically has multiple line items that must be addressed. Inside of all of that, you need to manage change easily and seamlessly so that each change that impacts a license is captured every time without fail. If a team gets too busy, many times they set that license issue aside and they may not come back to it.

This summarizes the key challenges related to license compliance. In the world of IBM Cognos, all users need to be authenticated before gaining access to the system. After authentication, ensuring that only valid and licensed users have access is accomplished through an overall authorization process. A solid authorization process answers the following types of questions: a) what license are you allowed to use? b) what content can you view? and c) what data can you see?

How can these be addressed? Attain Insight Security 4X (S4X) allows you to move to a managed and automated approach for granting access licenses, content and data. S4X provides you with a baseline of where your organization sits right now for license usage, and it has more than 25 built-in license compliance reports that give you full visibility to your overall position, at any point in time, including now.

Want to learn more about S4X or have questions about how to navigate a software audit? Connect with us today.  


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