Cognos (Cognos Incorporated) was an Ottawa, Ontario-based company making business intelligence (BI) and performance management software. Founded in 1969, at its peak Cognos employed almost 3,500 people and served more than 23,000 customers in over 135 countries.

Originally Quasar Systems Limited, it adopted the Cognos name in 1982. On January 31, 2008, Cognos was officially acquired by IBM. The Cognos name continues to be applied to IBM’s line of business intelligence (BI) and performance management products.

In January 2010, as part of a reorganization of IBM Software Group, Cognos software and software from recently acquired SPSS were brought together to create the Business Analytics division.

Acquisition of Cognos by IBM

In 2007, following SAP’s acquisition of Business Objects and Oracle’s acquisition of Hyperion,[8] IBM announced its acquisition of Cognos in November for $4.9 billion.[9] It continued to operate as a wholly owned subsidiary (Cognos, an IBM company) until January 1, 2009, when it was absorbed into IBM’s Information Management brand within the company’s Software Group. The software is now called “Cognos Business Intelligence and Financial Performance Management” or Cognos BI and FPM.

BI market

IBM’s purchase of Cognos and other business intelligence software vendors was a step in establishing IBM as a BI “megavendor” (along with Oracle, Microsoft, and SAP). This consolidation may prove beneficial for customers to have fewer vendors to deal with, but this raises concerns about integration of the software as more vendors are bought out by the big four. Another challenge is maintaining the same level of customer service.


IBM Cognos 8 BI, initially launched in September 2005, combined the features of several previous products, including ReportNet, PowerPlay, Metrics Manager, NoticeCast, and DecisionStream. There are also Express and Extended versions of Cognos 8 BI. Full features:

* Report Studio (Professional report authoring tool formatted for the web)
* Query Studio (Ad hoc report authoring tool with instant data preview)
* Analysis Studio (Explore multi-dimensional cube data to answer business questions)
* Metric Studio (Monitor, analyze, and report on KPIs)
* Metric Designer (Define, load, and maintain metrics to be available in Metric Studio)
* Event Studio (Action based agents to notify decision makers as events happen)
* Framework Manager (Semantic metadata layer tool which creates models or packages)
* PowerPlay Studio (formerly PowerPlay Web)

IBM Cognos Express, launched in September 2009, is an integrated business intelligence (BI) and planning solution purpose-built to meet the needs of midsize companies. The features of Express are:

* Cognos Express Reporter (Self-service reporting and ad hoc query)
* Cognos Express Advisor (Freeform analysis and visualization)
* Cognos Express Xcelerator (Microsoft Excel-based planning and business analysis)

IBM Cognos TM1

IBM Cognos TM1 (formerly Applix TM1) is enterprise planning software used to implement collaborative planning, budgeting and forecasting solutions, as well as analytical and reporting applications. Data in IBM Cognos TM1 is stored and represented as multidimensional OLAP cubes, with data being stored at the “leaf” level. Computations on the leaf data are performed in real-time (for example, to aggregate numbers up a dimensional hierarchy). IBM Cognos TM1 includes a data orchestration environment for accessing external data and systems, as well as capabilities designed for common business planning and budgeting requirements (e.g. workflow, top-down adjustments). The latest version, IBM Cognos TM1 9.5, became publicly available on February 9, 2010.