• August 8, 2008
  • By Marshall Lager, founder and managing principal, Third Idea Consulting; contributor, CRM magazine

Four BI Vendors Crest the Forrester Wave

The newly released “Forrester Wave: Enterprise Business Intelligence Platforms, Q3 2008” from Forrester Research reveals a crowded pack of leaders in that market. SAP’s Business Objects and IBM’s Cognos, two mainstays of the Leaders region (the upper right corner of Forrester’s chart, where strength of a vendor’s current offering and its strategy are highest) are joined by Oracle and SAS Institute, two recent promotions from the Strong Performers section. 

The third component of the Forrester Wave -- market presence -- complicates winner/loser assessment but Business Objects appears to have the strongest current product and position in the business intelligence (BI) platform market, followed closely in both respects by Cognos. SAS Institute, anointed this year on the strength of its integration and history of growth, edges the others out in strategy, while Oracle rides directly behind the first three.

It’s likely that competition in the BI market will only intensify as time goes on. “Indicating that many large enterprise-grade BI vendors now 'get it,’ we expect more and more vendors to accumulate enough functionality to qualify for leadership positions,” writes Boris Evelson, principal analyst with Forrester research and author of the report.

Much of this functionality will come from acquisitions rather than partnerships. Evelson writes that SAP Business Objects “provides some of the best-in-class tools for each use case,” and lauds SAS as “the best one-stop BI shop that includes high-end analytics from a single vendor.” He adds that IBM for now must still rely on the partnerships Cognos developed, which places a heavier integration burden on the customer, and that Oracle is addressing the partner-or-purchase choice as well. “Oracle’s main BI challenge will continue to be a fine balancing act: supporting multiple redundant and overlapping products versus bringing the strategic products closer together and integrating the platform, [user interface], and other core features,” he writes.

There are many vendors in the Strong Performers area of Forrester’s chart as well. This year’s batch:

  •     Actuate e.Reports, e.Spreadsheets, and BIRT;
  •     Information Builders WebFocus;
  •     Microsoft SQL Server 2005;
  •     MicroStrategy;
  •     SAP Netweaver BI (separate from Business Objects); and
  •     Tibco Spotfire DXP.

Information Builders, MicroStrategy, and Microsoft are particularly close to the Leaders section, and will likely remain the companies who “get it” (in Evelson’s words) and increase future competition. The Tibco product is a new entrant.  

Behind the Strong Performers are two Contenders, both new to the evaluation:

  •     Panorama Software NovaView; and
  •     QlikTech QlikView.

These two companies, “while lacking the breadth of features to qualify them as single, large-enterprise BI solutions, are reputable Contenders,” Evelson writes. “In some very specific BI use cases, they even outperform the Leaders.” As such Forrester recommends that potential buyers properly and fully assess their BI needs before committing to any one platform.

News relevant to the customer relationship management industry is posted several times a day on destinationCRM.com, in addition to the news section Insight that appears every month in the pages of CRM magazine. You may leave a public comment regarding this article by clicking on "Comments" at the top; to contact the editors, please email editor@destinationCRM.com.

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