- categoryBusiness Intelligence
Sometimes, knowing the current state of your business is not enough. Understanding yesterday’s context and today’s developments remains essential. But knowing what is going to happen in the future gives a company the slight edge over its competitors. Fortunately, today’s business intelligence solutions include not only descriptive business intelligence but also predictive business analytics.
This Power BI vs. IBM Cognos article compares two popular enterprise business intelligence solutions that include descriptive, predictive, and other advanced analytics features. Comparing all the features of BI tools can be a daunting task. Use our Product Selection Tool and we’ll send you a set of recommendations that fit your feature requirements and data needs.
Power BI vs. IBM Cognos overview
Power BI is the business intelligence and analytics solution from Microsoft. It was officially released in July 2015, but was initially available in Office 365 in 2013 based on Excel add-in tools. Today’s Power BI is composed of the online service and the user interface available in several editions like Desktop, Pro, and Premium.
Power BI lets you connect to data sources, transform and model data using built-in query tools, and visualize it through reports and dashboards. It is collaborative, so you can publish and share your visuals with others. Customers such as Heathrow Airport, Meijer Supermarket, and Cummins are able to prepare for rather than react to business situations with the help of analytics.
IBM Cognos Analytics is a business analytics solution that supports the data analytics cycle from discovery to operation. It is one of two IBM business analytics products, the other being Planning Analytics — used for financial planning, budgeting, and forecasting. Cognos Analytics is available in two editions, a cloud edition and an enterprise edition, which can be hosted on IBM’s or the client’s own infrastructure.
IBM Cognos allows you to easily connect and combine your data. It verifies and helps join data into a single module. Your dashboards can then be shared in various ways. Team members can uncover insights that help you make better business decisions. Some of the organizations that trust the software are ECCO Ireland, Wimbledon, and WestJet.
Power BI and IBM Cognos feature comparison:
Data discovery and analytics
Power BI supports connection to hundreds of on-premise and cloud based sources. You can access up-to-date data from Dynamics 365, Salesforce, Azure SQL DB, Excel, and Sharepoint with its automated incremental refreshes. Data modeling tools help you prepare data faster. Use the self-service Power Query that is familiar to many Excel users to quickly transform, integrate, and enrich your data. Other features include:
- Quick measures
- Advanced modeling with DAX formula language
The natural language processing tools (NLP) lets users ask data questions in conversational language. Its familiar Microsoft product interface and experience lead to greater adoption. You can also pin your most relevant content assets for quick access, or promote them to your team members using administrative tools.
IBM Cognos connects to a wide variety of different data sources including spreadsheets. It has tools to auto-join multiple data sources that provide you with more powerful insights. An AI Assistant tool communicates in plain English, so you can ask questions about your data and get recommendations that are easily understood. Use the Explore tool to find new connections. Visualizations resulting from Explore come with AI-generated insights in plain language.
Reporting and visualization
Power BI lets you create reports with interactive visualizations. You can create your own visuals using its open source custom visuals framework or its drag-and-drop canvas with ready-to-use solutions from Microsoft and partners. Custom-design your report with a choice of themes, formats, and layouts. You can share mobile-optimized reports or embed reports into existing apps or websites. Pre-built visualizations and report templates allow you to get insights faster. You can share these insights easily with Microsoft Teams, Dynamics 365, or Power Platform.
IBM Cognos dashboards have an extensive selection of visualizations such as geospatial mapping and advanced analytics. The interactive dashboards let you drill down, rise up, or move horizontally through the visuals. It updates and responds in real time to display the particular set of data you pinpoint. Collaboration is possible by sharing your reports and dashboards by email or Slack. You can export also in a wide variety of formats and send reports to stakeholders by scheduled delivery.
Power BI Mobile is supported in iOS, Windows Phone, and Android platforms. You can securely access and view live dashboards and reports on any device. Access data whether stored in the cloud or on-premises SQL Server. Natural language query lets you ask questions, and the geographic location shows you relevant data according to your specific place. You can share live reports and dashboards, annotate reports with touch-enabled tools, and get push notifications for personal data alerts. Moreover, use 3D touch on iOS to quickly access shortcuts.
IBM Cognos native mobile apps for iPhone and Android devices give you secure access to your content. The interface adapts to touch-friendly control and navigation. It will only show capabilities that are supported by your mobile device. On-demand toolbar menus are touch friendly, while report prompts are converted to native controls. All reports and dashboards are interactive. You can continue to explore and create content in dashboards. Also, you can send and import Active Reports, and annotate and share your comments with the rest of your team. For the iPad running at least iOS11, use Mobile Safari to access the URL like you do in the desktop browser.
Ready to decide on Power BI vs IBM Cognos?
Power BI is a scalable business intelligence software valuable for mid-sized to large enterprises. It integrates with a great number of Microsoft products and third-party apps and services via the Microsoft AppSource. You can start for free with Power BI Desktop and upgrade as you see fit.
IBM Cognos is also ideal for medium to large enterprises, but it comes at a higher price range. Integrating it with other IBM products such as Watson or Cloud Pak for Data gives you greater functionality and more flexible deployment. A free 30-day trial is available.
For a custom set of recommendations of the best BI software for your company, try our Product Selection Tool. It’s free and only takes five minutes.