Dawning of a new era in Business Intelligence: 2011 Wisdom of Crowds

Yes, I’m guilty. You might be as well.

In a two-part blog post earlier this year – Top 13 Business Intelligence trends for 2011 (part one) and Top 13 Business Intelligence trends for 2011 (part two) – I confidently listed the “continued growth of the mega vendors” as my eleventh prediction for the Business Intelligence (BI) market in 2011, stating that:

Intensified competition between the big players in the BI space has seen many independent BI products squeezed out of the market or snapped up by mega vendors. With mega vendors dominating Gartner’s 2010 BI Magic Quadrant and SAP, Oracles, SAS Institute, IBM and Microsoft accounting for around 75 percent of the market, this trend will most likely continue in 2011.

Figures released by Gartner in April would seem to back up that assertion, with the research giant stating that SAP, Oracle, IBM and Microsoft control around 60 percent of total market share.

But perhaps I, and Gartner, are guilty of speaking too soon. It’s true that the big boys are still big, but there is growing evidence that consumer-oriented new-age vendors are taking advantage of the spike in BI investment. A spike led by the consumerization of the BI market, and driven by business users who value ease-of-use and self-service capabilities above all else (see our blog post Ease-of-use key to successful Business Intelligence deployments).

2011 Wisdom of Crowds Business Intelligence Market Study signals rise of the new-age vendor

The recently released Dresner Advisory Services (DAS) 2011 Wisdom of Crowds Business Intelligence Market Study indicates that this legitimate push towards BI for the masses has “unleashed the demand for solutions that are easier to buy, faster to deploy and easier to use.”

For more details about Yellowfin’s performance in the 2011 Wisdom of Crowds Business Intelligence Market Study, view our official media release – Yellowfin Business Intelligence betters established vendors and Open Source: Dresner Wisdom of Crowds report.

The global study compared 16 of the world’s leading BI vendors on a five-point scale, across 32 criteria. The results are based on feedback from 630 customers with first-hand experience with vendor products and services. Vendors are ranked on: Sales experience, value, quality and usefulness of product, quality of technical support, quality and value of consulting services, and whether existing clients would recommend the vendor and its product to others.

New-age Business Intelligence platforms outperform others

The report places vendors into four market categories:

  • Titans: Largest BI vendors
  • Established: Typically been in business for 15 or more years
  • Emerging: Younger companies with innovative products, business models and services
  • Open Source: Vendors with an open source approach to BI

Three of the four top average scores were awarded to vendors from the ‘emerging’ category – new-age vendors whose products are more heavily focused on self-service BI for business users. All five vendors in the emergent category also managed an overall score of four or more out of five. Of the remaining 11 vendors outside the emergent category, only three managed an average score above four.

These results are significant, suggesting that emerging BI vendors are better catering for, and addressing the needs and wants, of modern BI deployments and users.

A recent article written by Kogent Corporation Executive Vice President, Brian Jordan, on SearchBusinessAnalytics.comWhy pervasive BI is a big deal for business intelligence users – further underlines the advantage of new-age BI solutions whose products are easy-to-use, thus enabling mass self-service deployments.

“Pervasive business intelligence is a big deal because people typically need actionable information in order to do their jobs. Companies without broad BI capabilities tend to make decisions based on gut feelings or instinct, which isn’t a good way to do business,” explained Jordan.

“Effective business intelligence results from a combination of best practices and corporate culture. And the best implementations I’ve seen are ones in which everyday knowledge workers are being empowered by access to information and decision-making responsibilities. It’s relatively easy to make a good decision when you trust your data and the information is easy to find.”

Emerging vendors catering for growing BI adoption by business users

While the 2011 DAS report notes a continuing trend “from IT alignment (and deployment) of Business Intelligence, in favor of business management and users”, ‘emerging’ products were revealed as the only category type not predominately used as an IT function.

In relation to functional alignment, the report concluded that “business users appear to be increasingly driving BI adoption… [and] have consistently taken charge of Business Intelligence for the past 5+ years.” More than half of BI deployments were reported to be more closely aligned with business users than IT.


Unsurprisingly, given the trend towards business user oriented BI, the highest new deployment rates were found within the emerging vendor segment. “Open Source and Emerging vendors appear to have the youngest customer bases – with the largest percentage of adoption within the past 2+ years” stated the report.

The report reflects recent Gartner and IDC predictions regarding the strong continued growth of the BI market worldwide, with 63 percent of study participants reporting planned budget increases “in at least one BI area and 31 percent of respondents had increases of more than 10 percent in at least one area.”

The report predicts 2011 growth in BI spending and revenue will favor vendors with traditional software licensing models.

The full version of the Dresner Advisory Services Wisdom of Crowds Business Intelligence Market Study can be downloaded here.

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