Best Business Intelligence and Analytics Software: The 2017 CRM Market Leaders

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The business intelligence market has expanded in recent years to include analytics, and research firm Gartner expects revenue in this new software segment to reach $18.3 billion this year, up 7.3 percent from 2016. By the end of 2020, it forecasts the market to grow to $22.8 billion.

Gartner expects the emergence of smart data discovery, machine learning, and the automation of the entire analytics workflow to drive a flurry of buying. The market will also be influenced by the need for solutions that can scale, analyze more complex data sets, be embedded into other business apps, support real-time events, and be deployed in the cloud.

And while the firm expects business intelligence and analytics to become mainstream, it says the market will grow more in seat expansion than revenue amid new pricing pressures, particularly from business executives who want more agility and the option for smaller, departmental deployments. 


IBM, last year’s winner, slipped a bit this year. Although it earned a category-leading 4.8 in functionality, it struggled in cost (2.3). Rounding out its scores were a 3.0 in company direction and a 3.5 in customer satisfaction. According to Barbara Peck, principal analyst at Nucleus Research, IBM “has the most complete solution to be certain, but confusion around Watson is still a challenge.” Ray Wang, founder and principal analyst at Constellation Research, adds that “customers seeking industrial-grade enterprise-class BI look to the IBM portfolio.”

Oracle continues to impress analysts with its functionality (4.5); it also had a strong showing in company direction (3.8) and customer satisfaction (3.5). However, it scored a lowly 2.5 in cost. According to Wang, Oracle’s “large customer base and broad-based set of offerings put it on short lists.” Peck agrees, noting that the company “has invested heavily in analytics, allowing its customers to take advantage of solutions that are built with business impact as a top priority.” 

Analysts praised Salesforce.com’s company direction, where it earned a category-leading 4.3. It also had a strong customer satisfaction score (3.8). It earned a solid if not spectacular score in functionality (3.0), and although it posted just a 3.0 in cost, it bested other competitors in that area. According to Peck, Salesforce “continues to advance in the analytics space with promising embedded intelligence through Einstein as well as its existing Analytics cloud.” 

Analysts awarded SAS Institute a 4.5 in functionality, a 3.0 in company direction, and a 3.5 in customer satisfaction, but the company, like a number of its competitors, was hampered by a low score in cost (2.0). Wang says a “continued push to the cloud and new self-service capabilities breathe new life into the legendary BI pioneer.” Peck agrees, saying that while users often describe a steep learning curve, it’s mainly due to the solution’s advanced capabilities. She adds that SAS continues to modernize and build on its four decades of experience in the space.


Not only is Microsoft making its debut on the leaderboard this year, it claimed the winning spot. The company had strong scores in every area, earning a 4.3 in functionality, a 3.8 in company direction and customer satisfaction, and a category-leading 4.0 in cost. According to Wang, “Power BI has played a large role in democratizing business users’ use of great visualization and the cloud.” Peck adds that Microsoft “has solidified its ability to walk the line between academia and commercial analytics products. As a result, it is able to use ongoing open-source research to further build its presence in the market.” 


Domo also appeared on analysts’ radar for the first time this year, and did so in a big way. The company pulled down scores of 3.5 in cost, 3.8 in customer satisfaction, 3.3 in functionality, and 3.0 in company direction. According to Peck, the company “offers a highly usable solution with notification features that improves productivity and drives adoption for users.” Wang adds that it “has drawn a lot of evangelists in the self-service analytics market.” 

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