Great Reporting with Cognos BI
Updated April 12, 2016

Great Reporting with Cognos BI

Lori Lambert | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Modules Used

  • Query Studio
  • Report Studio

Overall Satisfaction with IBM Cognos

We use Cognos across the university for reporting and some dashboards. This includes student data, financial data, and human resources data. It allows us to create robust reports from a variety of data fields from multiple data packages and provides the reporting we need for both day to day operations as well as for yearly requirements, such as audited financial statements.
  • Very robust functionality that allows for a variety of report types as well as reporting structures.
  • Report prompts make reports easy to run for end users even when reports are very complex.
  • Ability to set up security classes that restrict access to end users based on their need to know and use the data.
  • The learning curve for Cognos is fairly high due to the high level of functionality available. It would be helpful to have some less expensive training options available.
  • Instructions for using Cognos could be more robust, but I realize that's partially dependent on how it's used and documentation writers would not necessarily be able to anticipate all uses.
  • Instructions for creating a cross tab report with formatting and subtotals could be better.
Our main comparison was with Argos, due to companies that supply reporting capabilities for our ERP. I found that Argos, while potentially easier to create new datasets, did not have the ability to create publish-ready reports. With Cognos, we can create reports that can be printed and given to upper management and the board of trustees without making any changes. Cognos also allows for new datasets that are only limited by our IT department's ability to support such changes.
Vena Solutions, Cornerstone OnDemand, Banner Travel & Expense Management
We have mainly only connected Cognos to Ellucian Banner ERP data. Ellucian supplies a package of datasets, but we have added others for fields that are not contained in the dataset package. We have chosen not to connect Cognos to the ERP directly for real-time data, but that may be done in the future to allow for greater reporting capabilities. We have one IT person supporting our use of Cognos, so we have to prioritize the changes we would like to make.
Security classes are created and users are assigned to the security classes based on their roles. Access is also limited based on the type of role (author vs. consumer). Sharing across teams can be easily accomplished by setting up the required security classes and placing reports in designated folders. Reports can be scheduled and delivered in a variety of formats via email when necessary.
If simplified reports are needed - mainly drag and drop fields without much formatting or specific subtotals, then Cognos may be too complicated for that type of reporting. However, if the data requires joins between data sets and views or specific formatting is required, then Cognos is a very robust option for creating such reports. I've rarely found a report that was not possible in Cognos, and when that has happened, it's more due to the data field structure than Cognos itself.

IBM Cognos Analytics Feature Ratings

Pixel Perfect reports
Customizable dashboards
Report Formatting Templates
Not Rated
Drill-down analysis
Formatting capabilities
Integration with R or other statistical packages
Not Rated
Report sharing and collaboration
Publish to Web
Not Rated
Publish to PDF
Report Delivery Scheduling
Pre-built visualization formats (heatmaps, scatter plots etc.)
Not Rated
Location Analytics / Geographic Visualization
Not Rated
Predictive Analytics
Not Rated
Multi-User Support (named login)
Role-Based Security Model
Multiple Access Permission Levels (Create, Read, Delete)
Responsive Design for Web Access
Not Rated
Mobile Application
Not Rated
Dashboard / Report / Visualization Interactivity on Mobile
Not Rated

Using IBM Cognos

250 - All business functions including the Provost area, Finance and Budget, Human Resources, Facilities and Student Development. Top level management, mid level management, academic administrators, finance functions - purchasing, accounts payable, reporting, budget, payroll, benefits, student advisors, faculty and others.
5 - We have one IT person who provides support for the backend database and connection to Cognos, as well as creating new packages and views for use in Cognos. She also handles Cognos upgrades and upgrades to the database used by Cognos and provides some training on using Cognos. Others in the university handle report writing and distribution to others as needs arise. We generally have one report writer for each functional area.
  • Greater use of analytics and dashboards
  • Greater distribution of reports - allowing more end users to run their own reports based on security access and roles
  • Monthly & year-end financial reporting (different structures)
  • Student class rosters
  • Regulatory reporting for Human Resources
  • Financial Aid awards and disbursements
  • Created reports that were previously only possible by manually entering data into Excel spreadsheets
  • Joins between a variety of data sets to build reports that were not otherwise possible - allows us to see connections in the data not seen in the past
  • Reports to support a variety of business processes to provide information to end users not previously available.