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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 Strengths 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.



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.

Lack many tabular data features.

Tableau Desktop:
$1,484.10 (1st year), $300 thereafter OR a monthly subscription of $35.00.

Tableau Server:
No cost, however at least one user must have the Tableau Desktop license.


Support provided for Tableau Server administrators.

Consultation for Tables Desktop users, on request.

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.

To share your work, Power BI Pro is required (for a monthly fee)

Power BI desktop:
No cost

Power BI Pro:
Approximately $2/ month.

Self-paced (

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