• May 17, 2010
  • By Juan Martinez, Editorial Assistant, CRM magazine

New Challengers Added to Gartner Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence

The business intelligence (BI) market is continuing a trend toward strategic buying of particular technology stacks, according to this year's Gartner Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence report. The authors of the report mention, among other reasons, new economic realities and the need to demonstrate business value as rationales for why BI users are finding pure-play vendors more attractive than they had in the past.

No vendors were dropped from this year's report and because of the bad economy the authors warn against judging vendors on a year-to-year basis. Perhaps the only major differences on the Quadrant were seen in the promotion of several vendors from Visionaries to Challengers. QlikTech, Tibco Software, and new Magic Quadrant entrant Tableau were all added to the Challengers Quadrant, due in large part to "organizations...rapidly embracing the idea of providing data to end users and empowering them with an ability to navigate and visualize the data in a ‘surf and save' mode as an alternative to a report-only architecture," reads the report.

"Business-user buying demand has created new Challengers," says Bill Hostmann, Gartner vice president distinguished analyst. "When we got back our surveys we were surprised at how prolific these companies have been and how happy their clients are."

Here's the complete rundown on the 2010 Magic Quadrant for BI:


  • Oracle — Oracle's position atop the MQ can be attributed to the fact that 82 percent of those who responded to the MQ survey voted the company's BI Enterprise Edition platform as the "BI Standard." The report also says the company was one of two vendors with the highest percentage of customers who planned to deploy its BI product across its enterprise rather than in single departments. 
  • Microsoft — Although the report notes Microsoft's late arrival into the BI market, it does commend the company's "lower pricing, bundled packaging, and focus on ‘information worker' productivity." What's more, Microsoft customers cited cost less frequently as a limitation to wider deployment than did customers of most other vendors included in the report.
  • IBM
  • SAS
  • MicroStrategy
  • SAP
  • Information Builders
  • Qliktech
  • Tibco Software (Spotfire) — By leveraging its recent acquisition of Insightful for data mining and post-acquisition integration with is own middleware, the report asserts that Tibco Software was able to broaden the possible spectrum of end-user–driven interactive analysis to incorporate business events, predictive analysis, statistical analysis and "what-if modeling." The report expects Tibco Software to take advantage of the predicted increase in market demand for packaged analytic applications.
  • Tableau — Arguably the "darling" of this year's report, Tableau is praised by the authors for its ability to meet increased market demand for easy-to-use, intuitive, interactive BI tools that are easy to deploy without the assistance of technology personnel. "Customer survey data shows that Tableau was chosen more often for functionality than any other vendor in the survey," reads the report. 
  • None
Niche Players:
  • Board International
  • arcplan
  • Targit
  • Panorama Software
  • Actuate

Gartner defines a BI platform as a software platform that helps organizations learn, understand, and optimize their business. The document lists 13 capabilities of BI platforms, broken down into three categories of functionality: integration, information delivery, and analysis. The firms mentioned in the report are broken down into four groups:

  • Leaders — "Vendors that are reasonably strong in the breadth and depth of their BI platform capabilities and can deliver on enterprisewide implementations that support a broad BI strategy."
  • Challengers — "Offer a good breadth of BI platform functionality and are well-positioned to succeed in the market. However, they may be limited to specific use cases, technical environments or appli cation domains."
  • Visionaries — "A market thought-leader and innovator [that] may have yet to achieve sufficient scale."
  • Niche Players — "Those that do well in a specific segment of the BI platform market...or that have limited capability to innovate or outperform other vendors."

To appear in the report software vendors must:

  • generate at least $15 million total BI platform software license and maintenance revenue annually;
  • supply transactional applications [that] show that their BI platform is used routinely by organizations that do not use the vendor's transactional applications;
  • deliver at least nine of the 13 capabilities in the [report's] BI platform Market Definition/Description section; and
  • obtain a minimum of 30 customer survey responses that use the vendor platform as their enterprise BI platform.

The report cites a recent "post-acquisition hangover" -- during which customers of megavendors reported overwhelming dissatisfaction -- as the reason for an increased interest in "smaller, innovative vendors filling needs left unmet by the larger vendors." But with the top 75 percent of the market still controlled by the top five vendors, a sudden transfer of power in next year's report should not be expected.

[Editors' Note: Due to an editing error, the original version of this story included information from an unrelated Gartner Magic Quadrant report. The editors regret any confusion this may have caused.] 

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.

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