IBM's Cognos Analytics Product Tour and Onboarding Checklist

May 16, 2019
Product tour


IBM is known for its powerful B2B SaaS products. Their Cognos Analytics tool is an AI-driven business intelligence solution that provides a complete, self-serve toolset for interpreting, reporting, and monitoring analytics.

Like many complex enterprise products, IBM’s Cognos Analytics can feel overwhelming to new users and successful onboarding depends on users’ ability to prioritize between a wealth of useful features. Instead of dragging users through every single feature one by one, onboarding should provide context to a few essential features—and which features you highlight should ideally be tailored to users’ needs.

And that’s exactly what the IBM team did.

Let’s take a look at the user onboarding experience in Cognos Analytics, and explore why it’s an example of really good UX for enterprise.

The IBM Cognos Analytics onboarding flow

When a user first logs into Cognos, they’re greeted with a choose-your-own-adventure modal, asking which path they’d like to take.

If the user came for a specific purpose, they can choose to get straight to it. Or, they can opt in to the product tour.

This is a screenshot image of IBM Cognos Analytics tool's user onboarding experience. This is a great example of conumer grade enterprise UX. This image shows an IBM modal window example

In the modal below, IBM kicks off the product tour by providing context and setting expectations by giving users an overview of the features they’ll be reviewing.

This is a screenshot image of IBM Cognos Analytics tool's user onboarding experience. This is a great example of conumer grade enterprise UX. This image shows an IBM modal window example that says let's take a tour, and includes header text, body copy, an image and CTA button

After hitting “Let’s go,” the user is shown a series of contextual tooltips. Tooltips are attached to specific elements on the screen, which makes them great for orienting new users within the product and letting them know exactly where key features can be found.

This is a screenshot image of IBM Cognos Analytics tool's user onboarding experience. This is a great example of conumer grade enterprise UX. This image shows an IBM tooltip example along with an onboarding checklist example
This is a screenshot image of IBM Cognos Analytics tool's user onboarding experience. This is a great example of conumer grade enterprise UX. This image shows an IBM tooltip example
This is a screenshot image of IBM Cognos Analytics tool's user onboarding experience. This is a great example of conumer grade enterprise UX. This image shows an IBM tooltip example

The Cognos Analytics team has done a great job of providing additional context and conveying value through their tooltip copy.

This is a screenshot image of IBM Cognos Analytics tool's user onboarding experience. This is a great example of conumer grade enterprise UX. This image shows an IBM tooltip example

The tour concludes by letting users know where to find more resources, documentation, and video tutorials.

This is a screenshot image of IBM Cognos Analytics tool's user onboarding experience. This is a great example of conumer grade enterprise UX. This image shows an IBM tooltip example

Finally, the Cognos team congratulates the user and reinforces that more resources are available.

This is a screenshot image of IBM Cognos Analytics tool's user onboarding experience. This is a great example of conumer grade enterprise UX. This image shows an IBM modal window example that includes header text, body copy, images and CTA button

...But wait, there’s more!

When the product tour is over, the user is shown an onboarding checklist that outlines important next steps for getting started. IBM has smartly included the already completed product tour on the checklist and checked it off—that little sense of progress provides motivation for users to complete the onboarding process.

This is a screenshot image of IBM Cognos Analytics tool's user onboarding experience. This is a great example of conumer grade enterprise UX. This image shows an onboarding checklist example

Why this is really good UX

The Cognos team knows that with a powerful product comes the need for great prioritization and clear guidelines. The combination of the “choose your own adventure” product tour, clear directives, and a bank of resources for specific help allows users to feel empowered, not overwhelmed.

Visually, the tour contrasts just enough with the underlying interface to stand out, while retaining the look and feel of IBM Cognos Analytics’ branding. And the modal window and tooltip copy is clear, concise, and adds value to a succinct and selective onboarding experience.

All in all, it’s a wonderful example of consumer-grade UX for enterprise.