Thursday, April 12th, 2012 - OVUM

Ovum names SAS Institute and IBM as leaders in business intelligence

Melbourne, 12 April 2012. Enterprises are challenged by a phenomenal increase in the volume of business data and ever-shortening timeframes in which to process and analyse it, according to Ovum. Budgetary pressures and resource constraints also mean that IT departments cannot keep up with the flood of business intelligence (BI) change requests. In addition, organizations are coming under increasing regulatory scrutiny, which shines a bright spotlight on data governance.

In Ovum’s latest Decision Matrix: Selecting a Business Intelligence Vendor*, the independent analyst firm reveals that while the need for BI continues to grow, the diversity, volume, and speed of data thrown at BI solutions have increased manifold over last year.

“To keep delivering even the same level of insights as a decade ago, BI vendors and their solutions need to be more agile and adaptive than ever. Agility must go beyond simply making existing BI infrastructures run faster. It must also encompass elements of self-service, mobility and collaboration.” says Surya Mukherjee, senior analyst at Ovum.

Given that the core BI market is fairly consolidated, the major vendors now offer a mature portfolio of products built through years of acquisitions and integrations. As a result, most vendors claim to possess similar core BI functionality. In addition, over the past year most vendors have jumped on buzzword bandwagons around Big Data, Fast Data, and mobile BI. These factors have further complicated the BI selection problem.

Ovum believes the selection challenge now warrants a longer and more detailed evaluation process of customer requirements and vendor offerings. Ovum has attempted to help customers shorten the process with its Decision Matrix (ODM), which provides direct assessments of the eight top players in the BI market and categorises them into Leaders, Challengers and Followers**. The ODM focuses on each vendor's technical prowess in BI, and takes feedback from organizations that have used or continue to use each solution, reporting on their stated levels of satisfaction. Vendors covered in this report include IBM, Qliktech, Pentaho, Oracle, SAP, Microsoft, Microstrategy, and SAS.

 “The overall market appears to be recording healthy growth rates in spite of the fears of a double-dip recession in Europe and reduced investor confidence in global financial markets. A large part of this growth is driven by new license revenue and not merely maintenance and services. This reflects the expansion of BI deployments from departmental to organizational, the constant change in analytic goalposts, and continuing investment in newer analytic technologies.” comments Mukherjee.

The ODM reveals that different kinds of BI platform continue to meet diverse end-user needs, but common themes are emerging, such as the movement of BI closer to the database and the renewed focus on increasing the usage of BI in the organization.

Each of the identified leaders plays to its particular strength, while providing strong core BI and data management functionality. However, there are differences in the approach each vendor takes to the market. Mega-vendors are increasingly bundling BI as an integral part of transformational projects and putting analytics at the heart of business decisions.  A few vendors are going beyond a tool based approach to BI, instead offering BI as a solution to vertical- and function-specific problems. Yet others are choosing to maintain a core focus on usability and the democratization of BI.

 “As the scope and size of analytic problems continue to change, there is an increasing need for organisations to invest in a versatile BI solution that can tackle complex datasets and yet cater to both business and IT,” concludes Mukherjee.

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 Notes to editors:

*  Ovum Decision Matrix: Selecting a Business Intelligence Vendor

** Ovum's Business Intelligence Decision Matrix focuses on eight of the top players in the BI market and categorises them into Leaders, Challengers and Followers.

Leader: This category represents the leading solutions that we believe are worthy of a place on most technology selection shortlists. The vendor has established a commanding market position with a product that is widely accepted as best of breed.

Challenger: The vendors in this category have good market positioning and are selling and marketing their products well. The products offer competitive functionality and good price-performance propositions, and should be considered as part of the technology selection.

Follower: Solutions in this category have less broad applicability, and may have limitations in terms of the product’s functionality or the vendor’s execution capability. However, they will still be suitable to meet specific requirements, and may be worth exploring as part of the technology selection.

Given that BI has very broad definitions – including reporting solutions, data management solutions, performance management solutions, etc – there are a wide range of products and vendors that are positioned in this technology area. Identifying appropriate solutions for the largest number of Ovum’s enterprise subscribers has resulted in a tight set of inclusion criteria, such as provision of a complete platform, license revenue growth, and a large enterprise customer base.

 ***Diagrams are available as separate files.

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vum provides clients with independent and objective analysis that enables them to make better business and technology decisions. Our research draws upon over 400,000 interviews a year with business and technology, telecoms and sourcing decision-makers, giving Ovum and our clients unparalleled insight not only into business requirements but also the technology that organisations must support. Ovum is an Informa business.

Jennifer Duraisingam
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