Migrating from Cognos to Power BI

Hi folks!

More and more customers have been coming to me saying they are on Cognos and are looking for a more in depth and feature rich product such as Power BI. Their main issue is migrating reports from Cognos to Power BI. This article should give you more information about Cognos and how it can integrate with Power BI.

Cognos is an enterprise reporting solution purchased by IBM being renamed to IBM Cognos ReportNet. Reports created in this product are usually shared with end users to interrogate their data and gather business insight. There are also self-service elements to help consumers create their own reports and provide their own personal insight. Further to this the visuals in Cognos are intuitive, easy to understand and extremely dynamic so why leave and move to Power Bi? The main reason large organisations want to move to Power BI is for three options, updates, price and development. Another popular reason is it’s backed and fully support by Microsoft as a Microsoft built and developed product.

Although Cognos is effective and easy to use as organisations grow larger price is a factor that must not be overlooked. There’s no reason to pay such a large sum for a product that receives less updates than other products on the market that offer the same if not more functionality. This is usually the time when Microsoft jumps in and presents Power BI. Power BI has the same functionality of Cognos with the added support and integration with the wider Microsoft stack. This includes Microsoft Azure, Office 365 and other Microsoft products such as Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS).

However, if you have Cognos it’s likely you’ve used this product for some time. IBM purchased Cognos in 2003 meaning you could have reports that are almost 15 years old. These reports need to be moved over to Power BI ensuring you don’t lose any insight in your date. Unfortunately, this level of functionality isn’t currently available within the Power BI service preventing this level of migration from being possible. As Power BI supports so many data sources it’s very likely that the data sources from your Cognos report are supported. Furthermore, Power BI uses Power Query similar to that used within Microsoft Excel. This means Power BI reports are accessible to all users within your organisation and can be picked up with ease.

Yes! You’re right, there’s a development effort. But you only need to do this once and then you have an amazing platform to take your company into the future. Now for some companies this could be a daunting task especially if your developers aren’t used to working with Power BI. There are Microsoft Partners available to help you with this level of report migration. Further to this as the Power BI DevOps effort expands it’s likely that soon this functionality could be possible by exposing the Power BI API.

After reading this article you should have a clear idea on how Cognos can/cannot integrate with Power BI and that in some cases an additional development effort is needed. You should also have the knowledge and tools to go to market and find the best Microsoft Partner to help you with this level of migration. If there are any further questions, please contact me or contact risual at enquires@risual.com.

Bye folks, until next time,

Jay Fitzhenry

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