Thursday, January 29, 2009

Gartner's 2009 Q1 Magic Quadrant for BI Platforms

Some people anticipate the Super Bowl, try-outs for American Idol, the Oscars, or the season premiere of Lost. Me? Well, I wait for the publishing of Gartner's Magic Quadrant for BI Platforms. If you are in the market for a Business Intelligence product, Gartner clearly identifies which software vendors you need to consider.

Gartner just released their first report for 2009 and you can get a copy compliments of SAS, who wants you to know that Gartner still considers them the most visionary of the leading BI software vendors.

Of course, Gartner has its own version of a red-velvet rope. Not just anybody can get into the quadrant; a vendor must sell at least $20 million annually of a product that really classifies as BI according to Gartner's list of a dozen checkmark items.

Gartner then separates the BI vendors into four different boxes: Challengers, Leaders, Niche Players, and Visionaries. Inside each grouping, they position vendors according to ability to execute and the completeness of vision.

Back in 2006, Gartner identified three pure-play BI vendors as Leaders: Cognos, Business Objects, and SAS. Information Builders was on the fence, trying to move from being a Challenger to a recognized Leader. In the Challengers' corner were big database and application vendors -- Microsoft, Oracle, and SAP -- just waiting to pounce.

And pounce they did. Acquisitions by the mega-vendors in the last few years now paint a different picture in the 2009 Leaders quadrant. In order of ability to execute, Gartner ranks the 2009Q1 BI Leaders as: IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, SAS, Information Builders, and MicroStrategy.

IBM popped onto the BI Leader scene after buying Canadian-based Cognos, which had already acquired Niche player Applix. Microsoft moved over with its acquisition of Niche player ProClarity. Oracle gobbled up both Hyperion Solutions and Siebel Systems, which Gartner had considered BI Visionaries. German-based SAP took over the French company Business Objects.

It was like a big game of global domination using BI companies instead of plastic armies!

But Gartner says you should not think the BI market is all about these mega-vendors. Don't forget about the innovative, independent BI platform vendors who are still out there. One example is QlikTech, steadily moving up within the Visionary quadrant and hoping to break across the line into the box where the big boys play.

In later blogs, I will take a closer look at these BI players as well as some who are still waiting on the other side of Gartner's red-velvet rope.

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About Me

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I am a project-based software consultant, specializing in automating transitions from legacy reporting applications into modern BI/Analytics to leverage Social, Cloud, Mobile, Big Data, Visualizations, and Predictive Analytics using Information Builders' WebFOCUS. Based on scores of successful engagements, I have assembled proven Best Practice methodologies, software tools, and templates.

I have been blessed to work with innovators from firms such as: Ford, FedEx, Procter & Gamble, Nationwide, The Wendy's Company, The Kroger Co., JPMorgan Chase, MasterCard, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Siemens, American Express, and others.

I was educated at Valparaiso University and the University of Cincinnati, where I graduated summa cum laude. In 1990, I joined Information Builders and for over a dozen years served in regional pre- and post-sales technical leadership roles. Also, for several years I led the US technical services teams within Cincom Systems' ERP software product group and the Midwest custom software services arm of Xerox.

Since 2007, I have provided enterprise BI services such as: strategic advice; architecture, design, and software application development of intelligence systems (interactive dashboards and mobile); data warehousing; and automated modernization of legacy reporting. My experience with BI products include WebFOCUS (vendor certified expert), R, SAP Business Objects (WebI, Crystal Reports), Tableau, and others.