We just published our latest Product and Vendor Summary, showing that BI vendors may have narrowed some gaps in product offerings but continue to have profound differences in strategy and detailed capabilities.
From a strategic perspective, vendors continue to pursue BI from different angles, with some vendors including enterprise information management and performance management capabilities, while others focus more exclusively on core BI. The quality of customer support remains a significant differentiator and yet is one that customers rarely assess even when investing hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual support. In terms of support, Information Builders, MicroStrategy, and SAS earn the highest marks on the Strategic BI Scorecard. Innovation is a strategic consideration, because BI and the way people approach it is continually evolving. Customers want to know when a vendor will support new technologies such as the iPad, in-memory or social networking, for example. For innovation, SAP BusinessObjects, Information Builders, and QlikTech earn the highest marks of the 9 vendors covered in depth. However, as you’ve read in my cool BI blogs, the biggest mistake customers make is in overlooking niche vendors to supplement their BI platform standards. While large vendors are innovating, niche vendors fill gaps in certain capabilities and/or embrace emerging trends more fully.
However, much of the BI buying is influenced more by product capabilities. While vendors have continued to expand their BI offerings to encompass a full spectrum ranging from business query to OLAP to dashboards and predictive analytics, the robustness of these capabilities differs dramatically from product to product. No single vendor receives an “excellent” across the full spectrum of BI modules so customers must continue to prioritize requirements and understand these differences. Dashboards have increased in importance, and yet, the best dashboard capabilities come from specialty products, such as QlikTech QlikView. Of the 4 mega BI vendors, Oracle offers the better dashboard capabilities that are both interactive and tightly integrated with the BI platform. Other noteworthy scores in the BI Scorecard Product Summary include:
· MicroStrategy receives the highest product marks overall, showing that the vendor’s decision for “depth versus breadth” in BI is evidenced in the product maturity.
· SAS receives the highest rating of all vendors evaluated for its Add-In for Microsoft Office.
· SAP BusinessObjects receives the highest rating for business query and information delivery categories, the two most-important-rated categories by business users.
· Microsoft and IBM Cognos receive the highest ratings for their OLAP capabilities. Microsoft’s addition of in-memory capabilities of PowerPivot enhances what was already one of the best OLAP offerings on the market with SQL Server Analysis Services. IBM Cognos has enhanced its OLAP capabilities by supporting TM1 on its 8.4 platform and including it as part of the Cognos Express product.
Trends and highlights from the report are available for free here, or customers can purchase the individual report.
Cindi Howson, BI Scorecard