IBM Cognos and Sisense are giants in the BI software market. But they aren’t just big names — both solutions offer comprehensive and robust business intelligence features that can help you analyze important business data.

We’ll compare some of the features of IBM Cognos and Sisense in this article to help you pick the ideal BI solution for your business. If you want to see more BI software options, use our Product Selection Tool to get a free shortlist of business intelligence software recommendations in five minutes or less.

An overview of IBM Cognos vs. Sisense

IBM Cognos is an established BI solution that companies have been using since 1969. IBM Cognos has rich features for business intelligence such as reports, data preparation, data visualization, dashboards, analytics, collaboration, alerts, and mobile access. IBM Cognos is priced on the high-end and, as a result, is ideal for medium to enterprise-sized businesses.

Sisense has offices all across the globe and has clients in various industries. This BI software has plenty of data connectors and useful features like data visualizations, dashboards, reports, analytics, alerts, and mobile access. Pricing for Sisense is quote-based. Just like IBM Cognos, Sisense is more suitable for medium to enterprise-sized companies.

Comparing features

IBM Cognos and Sisense have similar features like dashboards, alerts, and mobile access. We’ll take a look at how each system handles the same features.


IBM Cognos has dashboards that help you keep an eye on events or activities at a glance. Dashboards provide key insights and analysis regarding your business data on one or multiple pages. You can use predefined templates in IBM Cognos or create your own. You can place visualizations in the dashboards where you want them, choosing from filters, widgets, and maps. If there’s a data visualization you want to include that’s not readily available in IBM Cognos, you can create one in the dashboard. Dashboards in IBM Cognos can be shared via email, through URL links, and may be embedded in web pages. You can save and export your dashboard content as a PDF file.

The dashboard feature in Sisense helps you stay on top of your business data at all times. Sisense has ready-to-use BI dashboard reports that have sample KPIs, data sources, and visualizations specific to your industry. You can add widgets, visualizations, filters, and formulas to your dashboards and change the layouts and color palette of your dashboards in Sisense. Dashboards in Sisense may be shared via URL links and through email. You can even grant the recipients permission to edit your shared dashboard.


IBM Cognos has an Alerts feature that sends notifications to users whenever there’s a relevant change in critical business data. Alerts can be sent to a user’s dashboard and to any other device included in the user’s profile in the system. You can set more than one user to receive the alert and can adjust the number of times you want the alert to be sent in a specific time period. You can include reports in the alert notification sent to concerned users.

Data alerts in Sisense are sent to users whenever there are changes in their data. With Sisense, you can customize your alert notification messages, the channels or devices through which they are sent, and the frequency the alert notifications are sent after the data changes. You can create duplicate alerts and adjust its settings in Sisense.

Read also: Sisense vs. Tableau: A Scalable Business Intelligence Comparison

Mobile access

IBM Cognos has a specially-designed mobile application for Android and iOS devices. This mobile app lets you access and interact with all of your reports and dashboards. IBM Cognos mobile app is available offline and online, so you can work even when you’re in a remote area. You may sync your Cognos content from the Cognos server or from email attachments.

Sisense also has a mobile application that you can download from the App Store or from Google Play. The Sisense mobile app lets you see the latest changes and trends in your data wherever you are, whenever you need it. Users can view and interact with all data visualizations and dashboards, too. You’ll never miss important data changes with the push notifications from the Sisense mobile app.


IBM Cognos has native integrations with useful applications and platforms for vendor management, forecasting, travel and expense management, business automation, and employee monitoring. These integrations include:

  • Workpuls
  • SAP Fieldglass
  • Limelight
  • Captio Expenses
  • NetDispatcher

Sisense integrates with a wide range of platforms and applications for team communication, analytics, file sharing, accounting, customer relationship management, and eCommerce. Sisense integrates with the following:

  • Slack
  • PayPal
  • Google Analytics
  • Box
  • QuickBooks Online
  • SharePoint

Choosing between IBM Cognos and Sisense

It’s not easy to choose between IBM Cognos and Sisense, especially when both solutions have quality features and capabilities. In making your choice, think of how your company will use the software to help you decide.

IBM Cognos might be the better choice if you have team members who travel frequently, as its mobile application may be used with or without internet access. You can also attach reports to alerts in IBM Cognos, which could come in handy if you’re always on the road. However, Sisense might be better for you if you require multiple users to collaborate and work on one project or dashboard. Sisense allows dashboards to be edited by different users depending on their permission level.

Still not sure if IBM Cognos or Sisense is right for you? Use our Product Selection Tool to get a free shortlist of the best BI software recommendations for your needs. Getting started is easy and takes less than five minutes.