The Best Business Intelligence and Analytics: The 2020 CRM Industry Awards

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The Market

Mordor Intelligence valued the global business intelligence market at $20.5 billion in 2019 and expects it to reach $40.5 billion by 2025, growing at a compound annual rate of 12 percent. This is being fueled by growing pressure for business leaders to make critical decisions within compressed time periods. BI helps transform unstructured data into qualitative and quantitative insight into past, present, and future operations.

Among industry trends, the popularity of cloud-based tools and services is increasing exponentially, with 66 percent of the companies that have successfully implemented BI having adopted cloud-based solutions, according to Mordor’s research.

The Top Five

Google bought Looker in June 2019 for $2.6 billion, and that has greatly increased its profile in the business analytics and intelligence space. The company also generated news in the past year when PathFactory integrated its offering into Path Analytics to provide marketers with insights into campaign effectiveness. Then Looker released Looker 7, the latest version of its data platform, with a new development framework, reimagined dashboards, new integrations, and expanded capabilities for hosting, managing, and securing multicloud enterprise deployments at scale. Ray Wang, principal analyst and founder of Constellation Research, salutes the company for its ease of use, but notes that “customers seek better predictive analytics and more collaboration, including publishing and sharing of reports.”

Microsoft, a perennial favorite for its Power BI platform, faltered a bit in the past and last year landed in the One to Watch slot. This year, it proved that it is on its way back, particularly as it takes its solutions to the cloud. “Microsoft has accelerated very rapidly in this market with Power BI and the capabilities of the Azure Cloud,” observes Rebecca Wettemann, CEO and principal of Valoir.

The CRM industry was a little standoffish on Qlik for a few years following its acquisition by private equity firm Thoma Bravo in 2016, but that trepidation has finally subsided. “Customers like the ease of use and strong price-to-value ratio for the [Qlik] offering,” Wang says. “Private equity ownership has not hurt the company as many expected. Its leadership team is very focused on the customer and its product road map.”

SAS already had a very capable product portfolio, with Wang calling it “the gold standard for the BI world.” SAS strengthened its position in the market in June through a partnership with Microsoft that will enable SAS customers to run their SAS workloads in the Microsoft Azure cloud. That pairing builds on SAS integrations across Microsoft cloud solutions, like Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform. This is noteworthy, according to Wang. “After years of cloud resistance, the partnership with Microsoft and the full-on cloud options show a commitment and transformation inside the company,” he says.

Tableau Software, last year’s category winner, has benefited greatly from its acquisition by Salesforce in June 2019 in a $15.7 billion deal. Salesforce has only strengthened the product with the addition of Einstein, its artificial intelligence engine. “I expect we’ll see more investments in vertical capabilities both on the Einstein and Tableau fronts to accelerate time to value,” Wettemann predicts. Wang sees good times ahead for Tableau: “Now with Salesforce, [Tableau] has a great community following, and Salesforce customers are now using Tableau to bring their cloud and on-premises data together for deeper insights and analytics.”

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