Cognos - Adequate for Reporting, Needs A Friend or Two for Analysis
September 10, 2014

Cognos - Adequate for Reporting, Needs A Friend or Two for Analysis

Joseph Frank, PhD, CCP, GWCCM | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 5 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Software Version


Modules Used

  • Query Studio
  • IBM Cognos Connection

Overall Satisfaction with IBM Cognos

IBM Cognos is locally known as RAPS (Reporting, Analysis and Planning System). RAPS is a reporting tool that sits atop the data warehouse managed by Information Systems & Technology. It is used for reporting on a variety of business operations areas, including finance and human resources.
  • Strong at pulling data from a single package.
  • Allows for some data analysis and changing of field names.
  • Provides tools to summarize data and extract into other formats.
  • Limited ability to do advanced analysis.
  • Often crashes when querying more than 500 records on a single filter.
  • Does not easily allow for connections between multiple data sources.
  • Documentation is unclear / unavailable to power users.
IBM Cognos is definitely more robust as a reporting and analysis tool than PeopleSoft Human Capital Management, in my experience. PeopleSoft is primarily transaction-oriented, rather than data-driven.
We are well-established as an Enterprise user of Cognos, so I am sure WUSTL IS&T will continue using it for years to come. Eventually, it will replace WebFocus for legacy reporting.
Many departments still use Focus, WebFocus, and various home-grown legacy systems. But penetration of Cognos is growing, as the IS&T Data Warehouse grows and more packages are made available.
IBM Cognos does not make it easy to connect multiple data sources. I typically pull the data out using the Excel export option, then work with data in a database environment or in statistical software in order to answer complex business questions.
I probably have not explored the sharing capabilities fully, there are some but I'm not as familiar as I am with the individual packages.
I've heard that Cognos is supposed to have new visualization tools, but I have not seen them in action yet.
Cognos is great for just pulling lists of data, but at least the way it is deployed at WUSTL, it does not allow for advanced analysis. The underlying data must be pulled into a format like Microsoft Excel, and then transferred into other tools like statistical software.