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Cognos Analytics wins the BIG Innovation Award for design

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Cognos Analytics wins the BIG Innovation Award for design

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We’re proud to announce that last week IBM Cognos Analytics was named a winner of the BIG Innovation Award 2019! The award recognizes the design work that went into Cognos Analytics 11.1, released in September 2018.

These awards, given by Business Intelligence Group (BIG), honor outstanding innovative work by individuals, companies, and specific product teams. Nominations for the award were scored across multiple business criteria using BIG’s proprietary methodologies, with final judging carried out by business leaders from around the world.

Design breakthroughs in Cognos Analytics 11.1

Last week, Arin Bhowmick, VP and Chief Design Officer for IBM Hybrid Cloud, wrote up a good overview of the design work that went into the award-winning software release.


In his post — well worth a read — Arin summarized the various layers of features in Cognos Analytics that “allow business users to get more information from their data and easily pinpoint deeper, underlying trends.” Then he framed that work in a business context when he wrote this:

“IBM Cognos Analytics being recognized by a business award shows just how much design can bring value to the world of business. Our team’s focus on high-quality user experiences and user research-driven design of this product, demonstrates that design strategy and execution matters for business results.”

For even more on the user-focused innovations embodied in this software, see “Cognos Analytics smart features: IBM product team goes deep into version 11.1.”

IBM’s long-running commitment to great design

Besides being a testament to the strengths of Cognos Analytics 11.1, the award reflects IBM’s deeper commitment to design. Back in the 1950s, legendary IBM CEO Thomas Watson, Jr. made design a major priority for the company; he famously summarized his rationale by saying “Good design is good business.”

That focus led to everything from the Selectric typewriter, designed by Eliot Noyes, to the Thomas J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, New York, whose architect was the great Eero Saarinen.


These days, IBM focuses much less on bringing in famous designers like Noyes, Saarinen, or Charles and Ray Eames, and much more on permeating all layers of the company with design thinking, especially through design studios around the world.1 If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you might remember our invitation to attend the “design jams” at IBM Analytics University last fall — another example of our design philosophy at work.

The head of our business unit certain agrees. Rob Thomas, General Manager of IBM Data and AI, spent years as a product development leader and has long evangelized for the importance of design. A couple of years ago, he wrote an article titled “Everything Starts with Design — You Should, Too.” In it, he surveyed the radically changing business landscape in terms of who companies hire, where they put their investments, and how they plan to grow. His summary? “Design is essential for companies that want to prosper in this new environment.”

Think of the BIG Innovation Award as one small payoff on that idea.

Try out the design of Cognos Analytics 11.1 now

Nothing takes the place of experiencing good design for yourself, so click here to get started on your free trial of Cognos Analytics.

And if you happen to be attending our Think conference this week in San Francisco, you can build your Think agenda to include many sessions that cover different aspects of design in general or for Cognos Analytics in particular. (One good place to start: Kevin McFaul’s “Roadmap Alert” sessions for Cognos Analytics on Wednesday or Friday.)

Stay tuned to this blog as we dig deeper into the design of Cognos Analytics in coming weeks!


1 Anne Quito, “IBM is gearing up to become the world’s largest and most sophisticated design company,” Quartz, September 11, 2016.

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