• December 1, 2010
  • By Juan Martinez, Editorial Assistant, CRM magazine

Forrester BI Wave Crammed With Leaders

Who said it was lonely at the top? One look at the Forrester Wave: Enterprise Business Intelligence Platforms, Q4 2010 tells a whole different story, as seven out of 11 qualifying vendors occupy the Leaders category. IBM Cognos, Oracle, SAP BusinessObjects, and SAS remain in the leadership category but will have to scooch over for newcomers Information Builders, Microsoft, and MicroStrategy. Actuate and TIBCO Spotfire continue to be Strong Performers and are joined this year by Panorama Software and QlikTech. The top category was filled this year by vendors that had complete business intelligence (BI) functionality as well as overall information management functionality, blogged Boris Evelson, the report's author and vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research.

The BI market, which grew 15 percent in 2009, overcame an 8 percent decline in the overall software market by offering enterprises the capabilities to use all the information in their data stores and applications, according to the report. Enterprises that "do not focus on getting strategic, tactical, and operational insight into their customers, products, business processes, and operations, risk falling behind competition," Evelson writes.

Forrester defines BI in two ways: The more broad definition labels BI as "a set of methodologies, processes, architectures, and technologies that transform raw data into meaningful and useful information used to enable more effective strategic, tactical, and operational insights and decision-making." A more narrow definition classifies BI as "a set of methodologies, processes, architectures, and technologies that leverage the output of information management processes for analysis, reporting, performance management, and information delivery."

Using those two descriptions of BI, Forrester evaluated vendors against 145 criteria, which were grouped into three high-level buckets:

  • Current offering;
  • Strategy; and
  • Market presence.

Forrester updated the criteria for the 2010 Wave evaluation. The updated criteria are as follows:

  • This year's report focused on data usage, while giving credit to the data preparation functionality, according to the report. As in the 2008 report, Forrester emphasized pure play or data usage functionality, but this year an emphasis was placed on the built-in feature sets and/or integration with the information management or data preparation capabilities.
  • Nonmodeled exploration, self-service BI, and analytical performance management and master data management (MDM) are new BI features that have been added to the criteria for evaluation.

The Wave categories and vendor positions are as follows:


Strong Performers:


  •  None

Risky Bets:

  • None

Information Builders was able to move into the Leaders category due to its ability to provide a "very respectable alternative to the software behemoths, as the only midsize vendor to offer a nearly full BI stack functionality," Evelson writes.

Microsoft closed some of its previous BI functionality gaps with "acquisitions of data quality and MDM technologies, and now leverages SharePoint success and ubiquity as a critical component of a BI platform," Evelson writes.

MicroStrategy earned extra recognition from clients with new multi-sourcing and in-memory capabilities.

QlikTech and Panorama Software were both upgraded this year based on improvements of their analytical capabilities. QlikTech, according to the report, has validated market need for in-memory analytics and modeless exploration.

Panorama Software "proves that although the market now enjoys new technologies and new approaches to analysis and reporting, MDX-based OLAP is still in high demand and in some cases is all that the business needs for certain types of BI use cases," Evelson writes.

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