The Best Business Intelligence Software and Solutions: The CRM Market Leader Awards 2018

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Statistics Market Research Consulting valued the global business intelligence (BI) market at $15.6 billion in 2016 and expects it to reach $29.5 billion by 2022, rising at a compound annual rate of 11.1 percent. Among the key factors fueling the market growth are cloud deployment options and the increasing role of data in the decision-making process, as well as greater adoption by small and midsize businesses. 

At the same time, though, market penetration is being hampered by the high cost of such solutions—reflected by the many low cost scores among vendors in the category—and the limited number of employees with the skills needed to interpret data and put it to use operationally.

End users are increasingly looking to vendors to provide dashboards, reporting, self-service, advanced visualization, and data warehousing, concluded Dresner Advisory Service in its “2018 Wisdom of Crowd Business Intelligence Market Study.” Data discovery, data mining, data storytelling, integration with operational processes, and enterprise and sales planning are also important areas in the business intelligence landscape, according to Dresner’s report.

Equally important going forward will be the ability to collect and analyze a growing amount of unstructured data from IoT sensors and other connected devices.


After making its debut on the leaderboard and snatching the winning spot last year, Microsoft fell off a bit this time around. Last year it had a strong score of 4.0 in cost, which it maintained this time around. But its scores in the other three areas were all significantly lower. Nevertheless, Rebecca Wettemann, vice president at Nucleus Research, says that Microsoft has “really interesting opportunities with PowerBI as well as its traditional capabilities.”

Once again, Oracle impressed analysts in depth of functionality, where it earned a 4.3. However, its scores suffered in company direction and customer satisfaction, where it posted scores of 3.0. It also continues to struggle in cost, managing only a 2.5 this year.

As it did in 2017, Salesforce.com this year led all competitors in company direction with a score of 4.0. It also did well in customer satisfaction (3.8) and greatly improved its scores in depth of functionality and cost. “ROI from Einstein and analytics in general is high, particularly embedded across [Salesforce’s] different clouds,” Wettemann points out.

Although it won the category in 2015, Teradata has since failed to replicate that success. It was named One to Watch in 2016 and dropped off completely in 2017. It rebounded onto the leaderboard this time around, largely on the strength of its depth of functionality (4.5). Its staying power, however, is in serious doubt. According to Wettemann, the company “is going the way of the dinosaurs.”


After appearing on analysts’ radar for the first time and being named One to Watch last year, Domo rocketed to the top of the business intelligence charts this year. While all of its scores improved vastly compared to last year, its most impressive results were in customer satisfaction (4.5) and cost (4.0). Its category-leading customer satisfaction score is symptomatic of its cloud-based delivery model, which provides direct, simplified, real-time access to business data without IT involvement. All suggestions are that Domo, which was founded in 2010, is much more in tune with changing market demands than most of its more established competitors. 

One to Watch

Although it posted a strong score in depth of functionality (4.5) and a respectable one in customer satisfaction (3.5), SAS Institute struggled mightily in the other two areas, pulling down paltry scores of 2.0 in both cost and company direction. The company, which was first conceived in the 1960s, “is struggling to stay relevant in a cloud world where app-specific expertise is no longer acceptable in BI,” Wettemann observes. 

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