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Forrester Names SAP, IBM, SAS, Microsoft Tops in BI

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The functions on business intelligence (BI) suites may have become standardized. But enterprises are still prepared to pay big bucks for products that will give them best-in-class data and insights.

In fact, Forrester maintains, enterprises are competing over the quality of the insights they can draw from their data and the customer experience they can offer customers or clients. The other key differentiator is the ability of those BI suites to integrate with legacy enterprise systems.

Leaders of the Pack

The findings, published in the recent "Forrester Wave for Enterprise Business Intelligence Platforms, Q4 2013," shows buyers are looking for products that will provide tight integration with enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications, as well as portal and desktop office applications. They are also coming to terms with the fact they will likely have to use more than one BI application to give them a business edge.

While the vision of a single platform covering all BI needs remains just that — a vision — large enterprises are focusing their efforts on providing their workers with broad, scalable enterprise suites with BI embedded in ERP, customer relationship management (CRM) and financial software packages, as well as lightweight desktop self-service tools.

There are few enough vendors that make the grade in all these respects, but in this Wave, research for which was carried out last September, Forrester includes 11 vendors that potential buyers should evaluate.

They include in alphabetical order: Actuate, IBM, Information Builders,  Microsoft, MicroStrategyOracleQlikTech, SAP, SAS,  Tableau Software and Tibco Software. All were assessed on 72 criteria, including customer contact. The findings: SAP, IBM, SAS and Microsoft lead the pack, respectively, but the scoring was close.

Forrester also suggests that enterprises that are currently in the market for BI should not limit themselves to this group, but should also look elsewhere and points to these other vendors as offering worthy products: arcplan, Bitam, Board International, Datawatch, Dimensional Insight, InetSoft Technology, JackBe (Software AG), Jinfonet Software, Logi Analytics, Looker, Rocket Software, Salient Management, SiSense, Targit, Treasure Data and Yellowfin.

Information As Differentiator

BI is becoming increasingly important for organizations, Forrester noted, with many enterprises competing for a business edge based on BI-enabled information. BI, the report states, is no longer considered an obscure, back-office process, but a key function that enterprises are prepared to pay for.

As enterprises start to become aware of the inherent commercial value of information, they are competing on the quality of their information as much as they do on costs, efficiency, markets and quality of products. Moving forward, two different kinds of information-based enterprises are going to lead their competitors. They are:

  • Enterprise that have more and deeper information about their customers
  • Those that have standard information about their customers, but get it quicker than everyone else does.

Established and Emerging Trends

There is no shortage of vendors and products to provide that information. According to Forrester, the BI market is more crowded than ever and consists of established vendors, and start-ups that have established themselves in this market quicker than the bigger vendors.


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