IBM Cognos is squarely aimed at the large corporation with extensive needs. It is half BI platform and half planning, forecasting and enterprise performance management platform. It is not particularly easy to use, but sophisticated products rarely are.
In contract Microstrategy is more a general purpose BI environment with good support for self-service BI, dashboards, and ad-hoc requirements.
In the summaries below, clicking on the score (out of 5) will go to the full review, and clicking on the name will go to the web site.
4.0 – IBM Cognos is a large, sprawling suite of BI tools and infrastructure best suited to the needs of large organisations, and most likely those with an existing IBM commitment. For senior executives with a ‘Master of the Universe’ complex Cognos will support every possible type of analysis. However for people who just want to know what is happening or has happened there are lighter and more nimble alternatives.
3.9 – MicroStrategy is in many ways a meeting of the old and new in business intelligence, and takes the positives from both. It is truly an enterprise solution meeting the less glamorous demands for regular reporting, complex dashboards and extensive admin, while offering up the sexier self-service BI users now expect from a BI solution. It is expensive, and for organisations with less demanding requirements other options will be more economical.