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The Best Business Intelligence and Analytics: The 2021 CRM Industry Awards

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The Market

Valuates Reports estimated the global business intelligence market at $18.7 billion in 2019 and expects it to reach $27.9 billion by 2026, growing at a compound annual rate of 5.4 percent. That growth, it said, can be attributed to the fact that unstructured data is growing rapidly due to the increase in machine-generated data from internet-connected devices, smart cities, sensors, cameras, etc.

The industry is also seeing rising demand for data visualization and analytical tools that bring into focus the measurements that are important for business decisions.

Furthermore, the increased adoption of data-driven business models by small, medium, and large enterprises, as well as widespread e-commerce, is also expected to fuel market growth.

Yet one more factor that is propelling the business intelligence market is increasing adoption of cloud-based tools, which usually come with quicker implementation time frames and lower costs.

Though the financial services industry has traditionally been the largest user of business intelligence tools, Valuates sees the healthcare and life sciences industries as huge market opportunities as companies in those segments deal with the mountains of unstructured clinical data that is being generated.

The Top Five

Google acquired Looker in mid-2019 for $2.6 billion and has been growing the product ever since. Jim Dickie, a partner at Sales Mastery, expects Google to stay competitive as it continues to integrate its Looker BI product into the rest of the Google Cloud Platform and to bring in more capabilities from Google Analytics. Google also this year integrated with several other key data and analytics providers, including Teradata, Chorus.ai, Affinity, and OmniIndex.

Microsoft’s Power BI has been a powerhouse for years, and the company just keeps adding to it. This year, Microsoft introduced Goals in Power BI, a data-driven, collaborative, and adaptable way to measure key business metrics and goals built directly on top of Power BI. Microsoft has also been busy bridging Power BI with its other core business applications, including Dynamics 365, Microsoft Advertising, Microsoft Excel, and Microsoft Teams, and building out its cloud deployment options through connectors to the Microsoft Azure platform. “The combination of Microsoft’s Power BI and Azure Analytics provide both user-friendly desktop analytics and powerful text and data processing,” says Rebecca Wettemann, principal at Valoir. Dickie agrees. “Power BI leveraging Azure provides a rich set of capabilities,” he says.

Of all the vendors in the business intelligence space, Qlik’s offerings are among the simplest to deploy and use. The company, which has been in business since 1993, has created a stable of business intelligence, data storage, and analytics products that allow for open-ended exploration so that anyone at any skill level can create interactive reports and dashboards with stunning charts and graphs in minutes. And with Qlik, users get the freedom to deploy its products on Qlik’s proprietary cloud or on any cloud they choose. Beyond that, “their product direction, leveraging AI and machine learning, are positioning Qlik very well for the future,” Dickie says.

Salesforce acquired Tableau in mid-2019 for $15.7 billion and has been improving the product ever since. Of particular note has been the steady introduction of capabilities around artificial intelligence, delivered through its Einstein AI engine. Salesforce “continues to deliver value from its Tableau acquisition as well as industry-specific data models and AI,” Wettemann says. Dickie sees that as well. “More integration with Einstein and an increased ability to utilize [Microsoft] Azure and Tableau together are bringing AI to analytics,” he says. Other integrations forged this year have linked Salesforce’s BI products with OmniIndex, Chorus.ai, Medallia, and others.

Perhaps the oldest competitor in the field of business intelligence, SAS is showing no signs of slowing down. “Forty-five years old and still continuously innovating,” Dickie says. Still, he is cautiously optimistic about its future. “It would be interesting to see if anything comes from the speculation around SAS being acquired by someone like Microsoft.” The company has already developed a deep relationship with Microsoft, which it expanded this year when it made its business intelligence and data analytics portfolio available on the Microsoft Azure platform.

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