The 2011 CRM Market Leaders

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The Market
When you deal with analytics, you have to digest a lot of information. Companies must avoid being bombarded and must use analytics to boost revenue. To help with those objectives, our business intelligence (BI) leaderboard members offer shortcuts so that customers can dive right in to their specific area of analytics.

BI lets companies give their customers ways to “cut through all of the stuff that they don’t need at the time but then later add it and integrate,” says Laurie McCabe, a partner at SMB Group. “The companies are predefining what information needs to be analyzed and what are the best practices for doing that, then bundling that all up so it’s easy and more digestible for the customer to actually apply that and get value out of it,” she observes. “A lot of midsized companies can absorb all of that information right out of the gate. A lot of them just don’t have the time and/or analytics expertise to do it all, so they need an incremental pathway.”

The Leaders
After being named as a One to Watch last year, Microsoft made our leaderboard this year. “They are getting serious about BI again,” Jill Dyche, partner and cofounder of Baseline Consulting, said last year. We had predicted that Microsoft was “on the cusp of a breakthrough” and, during the year, the company has made BI a priority in its portfolio of diverse solutions. However, McCabe believes Microsoft still has some work to do in order to rise higher. “It’s not really in the same league as these very big, broad comprehensive solutions,” she says. “It’s not really clear what their direction is with BI.”

Oracle’s broad portfolio and integrated solution landed it another spot on our leaderboard. “They have embedded analytics inside of everything, versus having to go out into something else,” explains Michael Fauscette, group vice president of software business solutions at IDC. “I think that’s a really useful approach that is pretty new and pretty fresh.” Ray Wang, principal analyst and CEO at Constellation Research, agrees that the company continues to establish itself because of its consistent expansion. “Oracle’s investment in re-platforming and building into Fusion Middleware gives its enterprise stack the edge for end-to-end red stack customers,” he says.

SAP has a lot of work to do but also has a lot of resources,” says Rebecca Wettemann, vice president at Nucleus Research. After getting subpar reviews two years ago, SAP BusinessObjects returned to the leaderboard last year. After SAP slipped slightly this year, Wettemann is bullish on the company’s potential. “We can’t underestimate their ability to improve their position if they put some effort and R&D behind it,” she says. After last year’s prediction that it would take the company no less than 10 years to fully integrate BusinessObjects into its solution, “SAP BusinessObjects will need to re-platform the product long term to keep up with the R&D investments made by Oracle and IBM,” Wang says.

Customer loyalty is a common theme when discussing SAS Institute’s position on the leaderboard. “Customers love the product because it’s truly focused on business analytics, not just BI,” Wang says. Last year, its robust analytics offering inspired Holger Kisker, senior analyst at Forrester Research, to predict SAS Institute could see 20 percent growth in 2011. Its spot on our leaderboard, especially its customer satisfaction score, suggests Kisker may hit the mark with his prediction.

The Winner
Similar to last year, IBM’s Cognos made a positive impression with analysts and was able to claim victory for the third consecutive year. “IBM’s Cognos 10 is a game-changer,” Wang says. “The re-architecture investment will pay off for customers, as big data and unstructured data sources will change how we view BI forever. It’s about the shift to business analytics.” While some say it is somewhat difficult to fully understand the benefits of IBM’s multifaceted offering, it still reigns supreme among BI solutions currently on the market with a pair of perfect 5s for depth of functionality and company direction. According to Michelle Eichner, product management leader for IBM’s enterprise marketing management group, the company plans to spend $20 billion in the next several years in acquisitions, which again proves IBM is no one-hit BI wonder. 

One to Watch
Wang points to QlikTech as a company making its presence known in the BI category. Most recently, QlikTech was named “best in analytics” in the first annual Next-Gen Retail Awards for real-time analytics and data insight, providing a “next-gen edge” over its competitors in the retail industry. In addition, Consumer Goods Technology magazine awarded QlikTech an “Editors’ Pick” this year.


The Market
Much like last year, master data management (MDM) has experienced considerable growth, continuing to innovate and help customers keep their data clean and accurate. As Jim Harris, editor in chief for a blog called Obsessive-Compulsive Data Quality, noted last year, “the market continues to evolve away from esoteric technical tools and toward business-empowering suites.”

On the other hand, Michael Fauscette, group vice president of software business solutions at IDC, says there is still work to be done to perfect the craft. “Frankly, I don’t think anybody is there yet on master data management,” he says. “This is not an easy subject to deal with; it’s a hard, ugly thing.” According to Fauscette, MDM is a “big number-crunching issue” that is difficult for companies to master. “So much of this data is human-generated or human-influenced along the way, so there are so many opportunities for quality issues,” he explains. How do you clean it and how do you keep it clean?

The Leaders
After losing out on the top spot by a fraction of a point last year, DataFlux fell behind by a slightly larger margin this year due to an overall customer satisfaction score of 3.7. However, Ray Wang, principal analyst and CEO of Constellation Research, says its customer service reputation has led to many of his clients adding DataFlux to their short list of MDM vendors. “The solution is modular and is a building block for customer data management and master data management,” he says.

It’s no secret that IBM is making a lot of noise in data and analytics. The tech giant missed the top spot by only about three-fourths of a point, and Fauscette believes it could have the best long-term potential of the bunch. “IBM invested a lot of talent and labor in trying to help figure this out, and it has put them near the head of the pack today around what they have,” he says. Last year, IBM scored a 4.2 for depth of functionality and 4.0 for company direction and rose to 4.3 for both categories this year.

Talend was named as One to Watch last year for a reason. With the release of its unified data management platform, analysts took note. This year, the open-source technology company made its way onto our leaderboard with its respectable scores. “Talend has a pretty good concept around this, but they have focused more of their efforts into the toolkit to develop the interaction and the interface,” Fauscette says. While he believes it could invest a bit more in data quality, Fauscette says Talend can “easily catch up” with its “pretty good solution.”

Lack of innovation keeps Trillium out of the top spot, but its name seems to keep it on the leaderboard. Wang says Trillium is a “favorite among clients, despite its shortcomings.”

“I think they are a little weak in data quality today, but a lot of people adopt the Trillium solution because it does have a good reputation,” Fauscette says.

The Winner
Informatica’s data quality solution is often on the short list with our clients, even if they are not an Informatica shop,” Wang says. That’s a pretty powerful statement that sums up Informatica’s victory for the second consecutive year. In fact, in 2009, an analyst proclaimed that the company “will be hands-down [the one] to beat” in a year or two. Well, it’s now been two years and it looks like Informatica doesn’t plan to go anywhere soon. Scoring an impressive 4.3 for both company direction and depth of functionality and a 4.0 for customer satisfaction, Informatica was the clear winner in the data quality category this year. “I really like what Informatica is doing,” Fauscette says. “Their developments are very interesting tools, and in some areas they might be a little ahead.”

One to Watch
Investment and commitment seem to be the important themes this year for data quality, and Oracle is making strides to break onto the leaderboard. “They have made some investment in master data management, and you would think that they have some reason to be doing that,” Fauscette says. “They have some pretty good MDM tools, too.” Although they are “pretty weak on the integration side,” the quality of the company’s tools and devotion to MDM may make it a key player in the future, challenging the companies that are not investing as many resources in this market.


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