Cognos vs. Tableau: Choosing a Business Intelligence Software

Posted by LPA Software Solutions on Jun 10, 2020 10:40:00 AM

IBM Cognos and Tableau are two of the better-known business intelligence software on the market. But there are a few differences between the business software that places Cognos a step above Tableau. 

Is your company looking for better business data? Read on to compare Cognos vs. Tableau business intelligence software. Find out why Cognos is the premier BI software.

What Tableau Offers 

Tableau has useful visualization tools and a modern interface.  Users can create clean dashboards and clear reports.  

What Cognos Offers

Cognos provides everything Tableaus provides, but it doesn't stop there. Cognos focuses on a complete business intelligence platform, boasting many tools for data analysts. 

Comparing Products

Tableau is simple enough. It has intuitive tools and an easily accessible interface. Data experts can create reports and visualizations without too much hassle. It's also easily accessible to almost any company. 

But Tableau simply doesn't stand up to Cognos past the essential functions of business intelligence software. 

For companies looking to step it up a notch, Cognos Analytics software offers the complete arsenal of BI software tools. 

Cognos offers more than thirty products, which includes reports, analytics, and, most notably, data integration. 

Cognos Vs. Tableau: Different Objectives 

Much of the difference between Cognos and Tableau stems from each company having a different area of focus. 

1. Visualizations

Tableau's primary concern is visualizing large data sets. Even amateur data analysts get clear pictures and can delve deep in the data sets.

Tableau's user-friendly visualizations suffice for simple tasks.  

While Tableau's visualizations suffice for simple tasks, Cognos is for the advanced data experts. Cognos changes data into metadata so experts can fully explore what's at their fingertips.

Cognos excels at giving real data experts the ability to create more advanced data visualizations.  

If your company only needs to create and share data visually, Tableau might be best for you. If you need a full platform, Cognos is the way to go. 

2. The Business Environment

Comparing Cognos vs. Tableau also comes down to what type of business intelligence system companies need. 

For example, companies can use Tableau without IT assistance. A marketing professional could generate visuals on how the latest advertising campaign performed without skipping a beat. 

The marketing professional would have to be familiar with Tableau, but they wouldn't have to understand data analysis. 

Cognos users understand how to manage complex data. Data warehousing and data integration are two examples of what Cognos user skills. 

Tableau doesn't provide tools in these areas. But these tools uphold the high-quality data standards companies want and need. 

While Tableau can provide simple daily insights, it fails to maintain the data's quality. Source data is often incorrect. Moreover, the user doesn't understand how to recognize when the data is erroneous. 

Cognos users must be data experts. In turn, Cognos provides higher integrity data. Cognos also offers a bevy of tools that scrub the data before releasing it for business use. If you have a data science team, Cognos is for you. 

Comparing Services and Offerings

The following is a comparison of other vital details about Cognos vs. Tableau. 


Cognos handles implementation differently than Cognos. The following is a comparison. 


Tableau provides enterprise-level deployment in four-steps. 

  • IT planning: The IT planning phase maps out the architecture, pre-install checkup, server installation, and security validation for the software. 
  • Data Migration: Phase 2 focuses on working with data mining, data extraction, and business workflow. 
  • Classroom Training: Phase 3 has a two-day classroom training session featuring advanced coaching on building and formatting visualizations. 
  • Tableau Expansion: The final phase focuses on expanding Tableau throughout the company's ranks. The main methods for developing Tableau throughout the company are implementation workshops and evaluation meetings. 


First, it's essential to map the company's goals for using the system. Then the team installs the server and client components for Cognos Analytics. After installation, the team configures the ETL

Once the team completes installation and configuration, they load the master data and historical data loads. After loading the data, the team deploys all other pre-built applications.

After the system is fully loaded, the team performs an end-to-end test and provides remote support for up to two days after installation. 

Customer Service

Each vendor offers different customer service packages. 

Tableau offers four different customer service packages: complimentary, technical, Elite, and OEM. Complimentary is a basic customer service package that covers non-critical issues such as software bugs. 

Technical support is included with one-year license purchases and handles some critical issues. The Elite program provides a technical account manager. And the OEM package assigns a Partner Support Engineer who can help with integration issues. 

Because IBM provides Cognos, it has a comprehensive customer support system that includes training and certification courses. Cognos's training can be individualized for specific roles within a company. That training is easy to implement both online and in-house. 

As if that's not enough, IBM also offers private courses and certifications that can build Cognos expertise throughout the company. Online tech support can also provide customers access to IBM specialists to answer any questions or problems.

Tableau Shortcomings

Although Tableau can connect to many different data sources, it cannot easily integrate these sources for analysis. 

Tableau's visualization capabilities are robust, but that's about all it provides. Its ability to extract, manage, and secure data is also lacking compared to Cognos. 

Cognos Strong Points 

Cognos provides more business intelligence tools and uses experts to analyze those tools. Companies don't have to worry about incorrect data or spending too much time trying to learn the system. 

Cognos's implementation process is also more natural than Tableau's. Cognos walks the company through the implementation process and makes it easier for companies to continue training. 

With dedicated training programs and certification options, Cognos is a more robust business intelligence software package than Tableau. 

Start Your Business Intelligence Software Today

When it comes to Cognos vs. Tableau, Cognos offers more capabilities for businesses who are serious about data analysis. Click here to learn more about what Cognos can provide your business! 


Comparison Guide: Cognos vs. Power BI vs Tableau

Topics: Cognos Analytics, Data Science & AI