I attended a Cognos seminar on Wednesday because I wanted to learn more about what Cognos has to offer with its version 11 (Cognos Analytics) upgrade.  Though I am the Tableau Administrator for our company (and was originally employed as a Cognos developer, too) there is a Cognos admin and webFOCUS admin in our team and they sit next to me.  Knowing what the other products have to offer and how they differ is good to know.


Here are a few take-aways from that session that made me envy Cognos over Tableau , thus what I would like to see with Tableau:

  • Their portal has a list of recently viewed reports.  Tableau Desktop does this, why not Tableau Server?
  • Their community support page has How-To documents and short videos of new features as they are released.  Users are immediately 'trained'; no reading, no experimentation necessary.
  • Their reporting web portal is very customizable to brand it to the company.  Tableau Server is terribly weak in this aspect nor is it easy to hack.  Tableau APIs/Java scripting?  Not what I would call 'user-friendly' nor simple.  The ability to import a couple images and change a name in a simple fashion is the best we've got
  • Users create their own robust schedules (e.g. 2nd Tuesday of the month @ 1:35PM) for subscriptions, there's no need to rely upon an administrator to create it...and we already know the scheduler needs a big revamp for greater flexibility.  Information Builders product, webFocus, is this way as well.  As the Cognos product manager stated, it's all part of them moving towards self-service.

I know there is the Idea section but not everything should be subject to democracy, it should just be.  Besides, the Ideas section just isn’t effective for some intrinsic, should-already-be-there things, nor does it do a good job of getting that information "out there" (granted, there isn't an easy solution for that).


It was obvious to me that Tableau has muscled in to Cognos' territory and they are seriously working to simplify and improve their products.  It's still not a threat to Tableau at this time but for those locked into Cognos at least they will see much needed improvements and I think Cognos is finally moving in the right -- and now different for them regarding all this "self-service stuff" -- direction.  For example, they were proud of the fact that a small, new server environment will only take about 1/2 to 3/4 of a day.  Meanwhile I'm smugly thinking to myself that such an install for Tableau Server is 1/2 that time


People I'm spamming cuz I want them to see this:

Sean Boon

Tableau Community