Comparison of BI Suites – SAP Business Objects, IBM Cognos and MS SharePoint

It is not uncommon for managers to think of business intelligence (BI) software as complicated to use, requiring a specific set of skills to understand and explore data structures and build queries. In fact, SAP finds that only about 10% of managers within a company typically adopt BI, even though many more would benefit from it.

BusinessObjects is reinventing how people engage with and benefit from powerful, easy-to-use BI tools. As one of the world’s leading providers of BI software, SAP BusinessObjects is using the Adobe Flash Platform to transform user experiences with its popular Xcelsius and Explorer solutions by delivering software with dynamic dashboards, next-generation visualization capabilities, and highly intuitive data search and filtering capabilities.


Feature MS SharePoint Server SAP Business Objects Enterprise IBM Cognos BI Enterprise
Desktop query and analysis tool SQL Server Analysis Services Desktop Intelligence / OLAP Intelligence Analysis Studio and Query Studio
Spreadsheet Integration Microsoft Excel Live Office XCelsius IBM Cognos BI Analysis for Microsoft Excel
Reporting SQL Server REporting Services Crystal Reports WebIntelligence ReportNet (Report Studio + Query Studio)
Web Portal SharePoint InfoView Cognos Connection
Visual Dashboard Business Intelligence Development Studio and SharePoint Performance manager XCelsius Dashboard Builder GO! Dashboard Report Studio
ETL and data integration tool Business Intelligence Development Studio Data integrator (BODI) Data Manager
Modeling Application Business Intelligence Development Studio Designer Framework Manager
Scorecarding Business Intelligence Development Studio and SharePoint Performance manager Dashboard Manager Metrics Studio
Collaboration SharePoint


It is no secret that when it comes to choosing the best Business Intelligence suite, it all depends on your needs. Each of the suites have their pros and cons but as seen in the above image the three selected can perform all of the features.

The differences between the suites are not significant enough and if needed, you can combine the three of them to get what you need (ex. Crystal Reports deployed on SharePoint). This implies that as long as there’s no technical reason to stick with a certain platform, it’ll be the details that end up as deciding factors when picking the winner.

Specifying your needs is the first step that must be done before even trying to choose anything. Then it would be important to talk to the technical sales people from the vendors and try to get a trial version of the platforms and test it in your business environment. This way you’ll get a better sense of what can work for your company.

Way Forward

Independent of which of vendor you decide to go with, companies like Geoware Solutions can assist you in the implementation of the business intelligence suite as well as with the development and deployment of BI reports and dashboards. If you would like to learn more about our services, please feel free to contact us. We will be happy to sit down and discuss your needs.


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