The past year has seen a huge amount of activity in BI Tool consolidation. We have continued to comment on this activity but now at last we have the release of a Gartner Report that comments on these changes and spells out what this means for the industry and BI customers as a whole.
According to Gartner the business intelligence (BI) market is in a state of flux. Whilst they see this as a threat to the long-term existence of a separate set of vendors in the market, it’s also an opportunity for BI to deliver more value to users. As companies incorporate BI into their eco-systems by making BI more strategic and pervasive, and increasingly embed BI functionality into their workflow and business processes, the case for BI as a mission critical functionality increases.
Gartner’s Key Findings
The purchases by SAP, Oracle, IBM and Microsoft have consolidated big portions of the stand-alone BI market. These purchases will accelerate both industry understanding of the value of BI and also the value derived from BI by end users.
Innovation will be driven by new vendors who will start by filling in the gaps in ‘mega-vendors’ product lines.
BI platform revenue will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.6% during the next five years.
Why the Consolidation?
According to Gartner the main reasons for the level of acquisition seen in 2007 included:
IBM, Oracle, Mircrosoft and SAP are increasingly looking to control access to organisational information by locking customers into their technology stacks.
Increased revenue, both by growing product license revenue, and also by reaping current maintenance revenue.
Embedding analytics directly into workflows and processes, both from an application and middleware perspective, is a capability that is gaining increasing significance.
What does this mean for the customer?
Interestingly not a lot of commentary by Gartner on what it means for existing customers but if we look at the recent announcements by SAP then we can get a sense of what is to come. SAP have announced:
A rationalisation of their Business Objects / SAP product set – by either wholesale removal of overlapping product sets or integration into a single product. Not great for those customers that have a significant enterprise investment in now redundant products.
Increased prices for Business Objects – in an attempt to recoup their $7 Billion investment. Consolidation (reduced competition) and “ownership” of data accesses is reducing price pressures on Vendors.
What does this mean for the independent Vendors?
With recent consolidation, remaining stand-alone BI players will have to accelerate innovation to maintain their leading edge. Some emerging areas in BI are predictive modelling, enterprise search, interactive visualization techniques and in-memory analytics. Independent Vendors can also continue thriving by specializing horizontally, geographically or vertically. Embeddable BI tools will become more of an option for OEMs and custom business application developers as they seek alternatives to products that may be owned by their competitors.
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