Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence and Analytics Platforms is one of the most dynamic quadrants Gartner produces. It reflects a market that is still growing and intensely competitive. However, all is not well in paradise.

Enterprises are looking to expand the use or even standardize their data discovery platforms for larger business intelligence (BI) deployments. But Gartner reports that many vendors lack the enterprise features around governance, administration and scalability that are required to do this.

Gartner’s BI Magic Quadrant

The Magic Quadrant, which has just been released, is dominated by Leaders and Niche players. In fact, there are 10 vendors that made it into the quadrant, including IBM, Information Builders, Microsoft, MicroStrategy, Qlik, Oracle, SAP, SAS, Tableau and Tibco. Along with these, there are 13 vendors in the Niche Quadrant, and two each in the Challengers and Visionaries Quadrants, respectively.

In the first part of our write up, we will give a general overview of what is happening in this quadrant and take a look at five trends that are dominating the market. In the second part, we will take a close look at the Leaders.

Before doing this, however, it is important to understand what exactly we are talking about here. Gartner points out that, because BI had grown to cover multiple markets in 2013, it split the Magic Quadrant into two: 1) Magic Quadrant for Advanced Analytics and 2) Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence and Analytics Platforms.

Traditional BI

While most of Gartner’s clients were interested in traditional BI capabilities, the criteria used to evaluate advanced analytics -- which covers diagnostic, predictive and prescriptive components -- have changed.

Traditional BI covers traditional query and reporting (descriptive) capabilities, but also includes interactive visualization, predictive analysis and prescriptive analysis, all of which have become more important to organizations.

In practical terms, this means that Gartner assessed vendors in this quadrant across 17 capabilities in three categories:

  1. Information Delivery
  2. Analysis
  3. Integration

BI Evolves

So what has happened in the traditional BI market over the past year? According to Gartner, it grew into a $14.1 billion market on the strength of IT efforts to consolidate and standardize enterprise platforms.

These platforms are highly governed and centralized, with IT pushing out reports to a large range of information consumers and analysts. While analytics are used in these processes they are not generally embraced by business users and managers, who find them too difficult to utilize for many business use cases.

In response to this, and to encourage wider adoption, vendors are incorporating traditional reporting methods and dashboards with interactive analysis alongside more advanced forms of analytics for business processes and applications.

The objective here is to expand the use of analytics to business information consumers and non-traditional BI users, with a focus on mobile devices. In addition to this, companies are increasingly building analytics applications that can make use of new data types and new kinds of analysis, like location intelligence and analytics on data stored in NoSQL data repositories.

BI Continues To Grow

The BI market broke the $14 billion mark last year, and Gartner expects growth to continue at 7 percent a year for the next three years on the strength of the following factors:

Data Discovery

Data discovery remains a major concern for many enterprises, especially in light of the amount of dark – or unfindable – data that inhabits the corners of many enterprise systems. However, much new investment will be driven by the need to provide business users with usable data discovery applications. As a result, data discovery will displace IT-authored static reporting as the dominant BI and analytics deployment by 2015. The key here is user adoption.

Data Building Activities

Data building activities in the development of BI applications, and the need to make this easier, will see vendors focusing on making BI content and application development far more agile and productive, which will also feed into the drive for greater user adoption.