Microsoft's continued integration of BI tools with products like SQL Server will allow it to expand its already considerable reach.

Unfortunately for Microsoft, that is also one of the things Gartner is cautious about. It's referred to as multi-product complexity in the report, and it simply makes using Excel, SharePoint or SQL Server for BI a bit more difficult. Microsoft leaves implementation of the BI tools up to the customers, and it can lead to low adoption rates. This do-it-yourself approach also keeps prices down for Microsoft, at least when it comes to volume licensing, for example.

Because of implementation and ongoing development costs however, the overall price of ownership for Microsoft BI tools ends up being nearly equal to its competitors.

Beyond Leaders + Niche Players

Gartner included a huge list of companies in this MQ, but they're not very spread out. Of the four quadrants, nearly every single company came out as either a Niche Player or a Leader. We mentioned Birst as being a newcomer to this space, and it was included in the Challenger quadrant. The only other vendor to make it to Challenger status was LogiXML, a smaller vendor that largely succeeds on price alone.

It also tends to win on ease of use, though it is deployed more often with OEMs and SMBs where the larger vendors are less common. As Microsoft moves more aggressively into the BI space with its advanced Excel abilities, LogiXML may not be able to be as successful, Gartner reported.

We previously mentioned the slew of other companies detailed in the report that didn't make it into the MQ, but Gartner even included three additional mentions of small companies doing meritorious work with Hadoop.

No companies were dropped in this MQ from last year, but besides Birst, there were two others added. Bitam and GoodData are Niche Players, but Bitam ranked a bit higher than GoodData, especially on the ability to execute axis.