Highlights from the 2011 Wisdom of Crowds Business Intelligence Market Study

When I think about technology vendors and industry analysts, an old song from Oklahoma! comes to mind:  The Farmer and the Cowman Should Be Friends.  (“Should be” as in “usually aren’t.”)

That said, in BI we were blessed to have a very strong cast of industry analysts who were both great analysts and great people.  It was a rare (think:  ZL Technologies) case of the farmer and cowman becoming friends.

I’ve stayed in touch with one such cowman, Howard Dresner, even though for the past six years I was out of the BI market.  I came to know him during my 9 years at BusinessObjects where we sat  across the table when Howard was the lead BI analyst at Gartner.

Howard now runs an independent BI Advisory service, Dresner Advisory Services, and as part of that business runs an annual survey that he calls the Wisdoms of Crowds Business Intelligence Market Study.  In this post, I’ll share some highlights from the recently released 2011 study, with some help from a financial analyst report done on it by Frank Sparacino of First Analysis.

One key trend spotted in the report was the continuing evolution of BI purchasing from IT to the business and, as such, a commensurate reorientation of the tools themselves towards that end.  Sparacino says that Gartner has a new name for this class of tool, “data discovery,” and that such tools are characterized by three things:

  • A business-led purchasing cycle
  • A data visualization user interface (as opposed to report or grid)
  • Interactive analysis as the primary use-case (as opposed to reporting or monitoring)

These trends are consistent with those  mentioned in my previous post, Traits of Next-Generation BI.

Sparacino cites QlikTech and Tableau as the poster children for this next generation of BI.  While I am huge fan of Tableau and while both QlikTech and Tableau are definitely on fire, I believe there is a next-next generation that will soon be invading the market, led by companies like the still-stealth EdgeSpring or recently launched Sisense.

In terms of BI spending, the report suggests healthy growth for BI in 2011 but not as strong as the growth in 2010.  It also indicates an increased focus on smaller initial deployments with later follow-on deployments as opposed to big bites.  It also shows that while perpetual licensing remains the dominant model, it is in decline relative to open source and subscription models.

Finally, in the overall rankings department, here are some of the key scores:

  • Tableau:  4.57
  • Dimensional Insight:  4.52
  • Information Builders:  4.29
  • Yellowfin:  4.23
  • Actuate/BIRT:  4.15
  • PivotLink:  4.06
  • QlikTech:  4.02
  • MicroStrategy:  3.91
  • Pentaho:  3.88
  • Jaspersoft:  3.83
  • Oracle 3.71
  • BusinessObjects:  3.30

Because the vendors tend to fall into different buckets with respect to breadth and depth of product line, Dresner groups them into categories for arguably fairer comparisons:

  • Emerging:  Tableau, Dimensional Insight, YellowFin, PivotLink
  • Pure Play:  MicroStrategy, QlikTech, Information Builders
  • Titan:  Oracle, BusinessObjects
  • Open Source:  Actuate/BIRT, Pentaho, Jaspersoft

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s