Top Cognos Competitors:
The Best Alternatives for Your Business

Businesses collect more data than ever before. It’s no surprise then that many businesses are asking: How do we use this data to become a better business? What strategic insights can be gleaned from the data? These are difficult questions which are best addressed with the help of business intelligence tools like IBM Cognos.

Business intelligence (BI) platforms provide a selection of analytical tools, some of which can seem foreign, compared to more familiar business processes. While it’s always important for businesses to select their software carefully, it’s especially important when selecting BI software, as its less mainstream functionality takes more effort to understand.

In this report, we’re looking at a BI platform from one of the biggest names in IT, IBM’s Cognos Business Intelligence. We then introduce five key competitors of Cognos; three that are asked about most frequently and two that are highly-rated by reviewers on

(Click on a link below to jump to that section.)

IBM Cognos Business Intelligence

IBM Cognos Business Intelligence is a popular and very robust choice from one of the most well-known names in business software. Cognos is a highly customizable solution with flexible features that let users customize the analysis and presentation of data, making it a great fit for a variety of business sizes and verticals.

Cognos offers a variety of stand-alone applications as well as its fully integrated platform. Basic applications include:

  • Trend and what-if analyses
  • Social networking and collaboration tools
  • Custom visualizations and dashboards

Cognos is a mobile-friendly platform, giving iPhone and Android users access to their data interpretations while on the go.

Reviewers praise Cognos for its great user interface and overall usability. It’s available as on-premise installation or cloud-based service and is an excellent fit for companies seeking an all-in-one BI solution.

Most Asked-About Cognos Competitors

We determined the following three alternatives by tracking which products are most searched for alongside Cognos.

Note: you can learn more about our Alternatives methodology here.


Tableau has a longer history than most other BI platforms, having emerged from Stanford University’s Department of Computer Science in the early 2000s. Tableau was originally billed as a “data visualization” platform, and the organization of complex data into easy-to-understand graphs and charts is still one of its most popular features.

Tableau’s popular “Show Me” application intelligently discovers the best ways to present user-selected data sets, helping ensure that no insights are overlooked.

Tableau is able to interpret information in relational databases and data cubes, whether on-premise or stored in remote (or cloud) data centers. It was designed with best practices of design and data visualization baked into the software, ensuring even novice users can produce professional results.


Originally launched by a Swedish company in the early 1990s, QlikView has grown to become a popular BI platform with many satisfied customers from around the world. Fans praise QlikView for its ease-of-use, speed and overall value.

QlikView’s Associative Data Indexing Engine helps users uncover data relationships by finding associations and correlations within and across multiple databases.

QlikView enables the creation of custom BI applications that companies can deploy in-house. While other BI platforms have similar functionality, QlikView is often singled out for the relative ease with which even non-technical users can create effective BI applications.


BusinessObjects by SAP is a fully integrated collection of BI applications with many satisfied users across a range of industries, including manufacturing, insurance and underwriting and financial services. It’s popular mainly with larger organizations and multinational enterprises.

BusinessObjects can be fully integrated with a variety of other popular business platforms, including Salesforce and Microsoft Office.

BusinessObjects includes a number of applications designed to improve a company’s working efficiency. Its Enterprise Performance Management application, for example, helps clarify the relationship between performance-tracking metrics of individuals and individual lines of business with the performance of the business as a whole.

Highest User-Rated Cognos Competitors

The next two Cognos competitors have been identified through an analysis of user reviews on We use this data to rank products based on their average overall star-rating.

Cognos has an average rating of 4.0 out of 5 stars, at the time of writing. The following alternatives are also rated highly by Software Advice reviewers:


Sisense is a start-to-finish BI solution that’s designed to get your BI initiative off the ground as soon as possible. It doesn’t require a long or complex implementation process, and it has largely eliminated lengthy data preparation stages with its unique In-Chip™ processing engine.

Sisense is a great fit for companies with big BI goals but limited BI resources. With their In-Chip™ technology, applications such as ElastiCube can perform advanced BI analyses on single servers with minimal processing power.

Sisense also includes both an API and SDK for development of customized applications. It’s available as either an on-premise or cloud-deployed solution.


BOARD calls itself a “decision-making platform.” That’s a great term for a platform that brings BI, performance management and advanced analytics tools all together under the same roof. It’s also a very multilingual platform, making it a great choice for any company with an international presence.

BOARD includes extensive functionality for creation of BI dashboards that do more than present information; they can also extract meaning from it with drill-down and drill-through analyses.

BOARD’s utility isn’t limited to the boardroom; it has something to offer all departments, from sales and marketing to finance and human resources. If your company has data about something, BOARD can help you make better decisions for it.

Next Steps

Hopefully this article has given you some ideas for leading Cognos competitors to consider. If you’d like to continue your research of popular BI platforms, consider reading the following:

Call an expert software advisor at (855) 998-8505 for a free, no-obligation consultation. We’ll provide price quotes for BI products based on your specific requirements.