Self-Service Analysis and Reporting Tools Comparison

Self-Service Analysis and Reporting Tools Comparison

The table below summarizes the tools supported by Northwestern IT and provides guidance in helping you choose for what tool best fits your needs. To discuss these options in more detail, please request a consultation.

Training is strongly recommended and, in some instances, required to access the reporting tools below. Please see the training section for more information on training opportunities.


Self-Service Analysis and Reporting Tools

Tool Name Description Strenghts Limitations Cost Training
Cognos Query Studio* Allows the designer to query data sets from the Admin-EDW. Features include field calculations, filtering, sorting, and basic charting functions Intuitive interface. Optimal for answering well-informed questions quickly, one at a time. Does not enable merging data sets from the Admin-EDW or imported data sets. Lacks more sophisticated functions such as IF statements. Online help. No cost. Required. Request through
Cognos Analysis Studio Data analysis tool that used to discover underlying trends within aggregated data. Highlights trends in data. Relatively easy to learn. May only be used with dimensionally modeled data sources as are many of the Admin-EDW data sets. No cost Required.
Cognos Report Studio Full-featured report development tool for creating standard reports where formatting requirements are specific, or for complex reports with multiple pages and complex formatting. . One report can be created for multiple users. Reports can be made against dimensional data sources or rational data sources. Data may be joined from multiple data sets. Complex to learn. Weak online help. No cost. Required.
Tableau User-friendly tool for creating data visualizations that may expose trends or outliers in data that are otherwise hard to notice. Visualization can be shared through Tableau Server and published to websites. Can be enhanced to work directly with data sets from the Enterprise Data Warehouse as well as local data sets. Strong user community with comprehensive online help. Excellent geocoding allows data to be plotted on maps. Developed content can be shared with any individual without the need for them to have a Tableau license. Lack many tabular data features. Tableau Creator (Tableau Desktop and Data Prep) $630.00 per year (pro rated to October 1st) Tableau Training Videos:
Power BI A suite of analytics tools that lets you connect to and import collections of data, or datasets, and bring it together in one place for further analysis. A variety of report types can be generated from the data and published on the web as well as across mobile devices. Power BI desktop allows personal use of the tool. To share your work, all viewers and collaborators must have a Power BI Pro license(for a monthly fee)

Power BI desktop: No cost

Power BI Pro: Approximately $2/ month.

Training Paths: Microsoft Training

LinkedIn Learning:

Search myHRLearn (Keyword “power bi”)

Was this helpful?
0 reviews
Print Article


Article ID: 1923
Tue 8/2/22 4:07 PM
Tue 12/13/22 11:03 AM

Related Services / Offerings (2)

The Business Intelligence (BI) System (also known as Cognos), provides Northwestern with accessible and comprehensive reporting and analytics solutions for University schools and business units.
A collection of integrated data sets which are extracted from transactional systems (e.g. myHR, NUFinancials) and optimized for reporting and analysis.