If you’re having a hard time finding a BI/analytics solution that fits all your needs, you’re in good company and for good reason: No one solution addresses both data discovery and systems-of-record reporting, according to Gartner’s newly released Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence and Analytics Platforms.
The report generated attention in the tech press, but I suspect the real buzz was in vendor VP offices. The new version of the quadrant rearranges most rankings in a (for Gartner) significant way. Nearly every solution shifted toward a less satisfactory position, moving to the left on completeness of vision, lower on the ability to execute horizontal or, in some cases, both. If you’d like to see how that looks, Information Week published both this year and last year’s Magic Quadrants for comparison.
This isn’t a whimsical rearrangement of an established Magic Quadrant. (Really – is whimsical ever what you think of when you hear “Gartner?”) Gartner surveyed 2,083 users of BI platforms for this report. That’s a hefty sample size, especially for IT research, which often hovers around the 100-500 numbers.
There are a number of key takeaways from this report. For instance, Gartner sees a market division between solutions developed primarily for system-of-record reporting (designed primarily for IT) and more business-friendly, data-discovery solutions. The research firm finds fault with both, and warns, “no single vendor fully addresses both needs.” Information Week focused on this aspect of the report.
Forbes also published a write-up of the report, focusing on a few key takeaways and what the report means for manufacturers trying to apply analytics to the manufacturing floor. The column lists four specific steps that vendors can take to adapt BI for manufacturing.
The report also includes key findings such as:
- Business users want more access to data, which is making IT a bit edgy because it (rightly) fears governance will suffer, since the more business-friendly tools lack the robust governance of IT-focused BI veteran solutions.
- More software vendors, large and small, are embedding reporting, dashboards and other analytics capabilities into their applications and business processes.
- Business users and analysts want access to data that extends beyond data discovery and interactive visualization of data that IT controls. They want access to more sophisticated tools, including data preparation, and the ability to deploy on mobile and cloud. “In response, BI and analytics vendors are introducing self-service data preparation (along with a number of startups such as ClearStory Data, Paxata, Trifacta and Tamr), and smart data discovery and pattern detection capabilities (also an area for startups such as BeyondCore and DataRPM) to address these emerging requirements and to create differentiation in the market,” Gartner writes.
- Cloud adoption slowed slightly, but is expected to grow again as the lines of business adopt cloud-based analytics. “While most BI vendors now have a cloud strategy, many leaders of BI and analytics initiatives do not have a strategy for how to combine and integrate cloud services with their on-premises capabilities,” the report cautions.
There’s much more information in the report. It’s available for free download from a number of vendors, but Information Week provided this registration-free download.
I will say this: I’ve seen a lot of Magic Quadrants over the years. What I see when I look at the latest BI/analytics is simple: a crowded, incomplete field of solutions in a high-growth market. My guess is that acquisitions and consolidations won’t be far behind, particularly since Gartner has criticized both types of solutions as incomplete.
Loraine Lawson is a veteran technology reporter and blogger. She currently writes the Integration blog for IT Business Edge, which covers all aspects of integration technology, including data governance and best practices. She has also covered IT/Business Alignment and IT Security for IT Business Edge. Before becoming a freelance writer, Lawson worked at TechRepublic as a site editor and writer, covering mobile, IT management, IT security and other technology trends. Previously, she was a webmaster at the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and a newspaper journalist. Follow Lawson at Google+ and on Twitter.