Business Intelligence Competency Center Common View  -  Deep Understanding  -  Better Decisions


Listing of tools utilized within the Purdue community to query Purdue data.


Cognos is Purdue’s primary BI tool and is used to access the university’s enterprise environments including student data from the Banner reporting systems ODS and EDW, SAP’s finance and HR data marts, and GM AIMS. 

Licensing is available for consumers using pre-authored reports, or an authoring license for creating adhoc reports or building standard usage reports.  The university offers tool training for both usage types as well as a session on scheduling report output to run at user pre-selected dates and times.  Data training is also provided by the SAP Finance and HR offices.

Additional Cognos user documentation and quick reference cards can be found on the Resources tab within the Cognos portal.  Information on Cognos tool and data access can be found at

You can also see a layout of the Cognos landscape within the data landscape section.


Tableau visualization software translates data into optimized images to see patterns, identify trends, and quickly discover visual insights. Users can shift between views with drag-and-drop technology and drill down to see additional details. The software connects to base data and generates queries for a quick visual display. You can connect to live data, data warehouses, spreadsheets, or blend different data sources together.

General consumer licensing is not needed.  However, users who need to develop and publish the dashboards will need a Tableau Desktop license and training.  Licensing requests or changes can be submitted to

Tableau Server is required to share visual images and dashboards throughout the enterprise or for departmental staff use. It provides live interactive dashboards which can be embedded in enterprise portals. Users can answer unexpected questions as they happen, filter data, or drill down to find answers.  Tableau server is administered by Purdue BICC.  For Additional information on Tableau can be found at and for questions regarding access and security, contact

You can also see a layout of the Tableau landscape within the data landscape section.

Statistical BI Tools and Languages

As a data manager, you may find a need for more advanced statistical tools than those supported above.  Below are a few options used across campus for more advanced data research and collection.  Currently the BICC does not support the additional tools, but users can look into open-source free downloading or departmental purchasing. (Many users are not administrators on their computers, so downloading software will require assistance from ITaP or departmental computing support).  None of the tools listed below are required for use as a Data Manager, they are completely optional.

Microsoft Excel Power Query

Power Query is an Excel add-in used for data discovery, reshaping and combing data from different sources.  The tool is free to use.  Access by Googling the software and following the instructions, or by contacting your computer support technicians for assistance.

Microsoft Excel Power Pivot

Power Pivot is an add-in that can be used to import millions of rows of data from multiple sources into a single Excel workbook.  You can create relationships between heterogeneous data and create calculated columns, pivot tables and pivot charts.  Access by Googling the software and following the instructions, or by contacting your computer support technicians for assistance.

Microsoft Access

The Access database offers other options like scalability, data and referential integrity, queries and reports, and it data structure normalization via the multiple tables.  Access is available to all users with Microsoft Office installed on their PC’s or laptops.

SAS Software

SAS is a tool used for data management and statistical analysis, including both descriptive and predictive.  It can also be used for mining data.  SAS provides a graphical oint-and-click user interface and more advanced options through the SAS programming language.  This tool does require purchasing a license.

SPSS Statistics

SPSS is a software package used for data management and statistical analysis, including descriptive and predictive.  It also includes a data mining feature.  SPSS can be used from a graphic user interface or can be programmed with a proprietary 4GL command syntax language.  This tool requires purchasing a license.

R and Python Languages

R is an open-source free software for statistical computing and graphics.  Python is generally used for big data science solutions and can be used in combination with the R language to create scientific and statistical data for modeling.  Both solutions are language based and are used by some on campus, but are not required.

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