David Menninger's Analyst Perspectives

How Do Analytics and Business Intelligence Vendors Stack Up?

Posted by David Menninger on Feb 4, 2019 6:00:00 AM

I am happy to share some insights gleaned from our latest Value Index research, which provides an analytic representation of our assessment of how well vendors’ offerings meet buyers’ requirements. The Ventana Research Value Index: Analytics and Business Intelligence 2019 is the distillation of a year of market and product research efforts by Ventana Research. Drawing on our benchmark research, we apply a structured research methodology built on evaluation categories that are designed to reflect the real-world criteria incorporated in a request for proposal to vendors in analytics and business intelligence. Using this methodology, we evaluated vendor submissions in seven categories, five relevant to the product (adaptability, capability, manageability, reliability and usability) and two related to the vendor (TCO/ROI and vendor validation). This research-based index is the first such evaluation to Ventana_Research-Analytics_and_BI-Value_Index-Genericassess the full business value of analytics and business intelligence software. You can learn more about our Value Index as an effective vendor selection and RFI/RFP tool at https://www.ventanaresearch.com/value-indexes/inclusion.

This Value Index report evaluates the following vendors that offer products that deliver analytics and business intelligence as we define it: BOARD International, Domo, Infor, Information Builders, IBM, Looker, Microsoft Corporation, MicroStrategy, Oracle Corporation, Qlik, Salesforce.com, SAP, SAS, Tableau Software and Yellowfin. Eleven of these 15 suppliers responded positively to our requests for information and provided completed questionnaires and demonstrations to help in our analysis of their analytics and business intelligence products. Along with briefings and information where provided, all online material that was generally available was used for the analysis. This report includes products generally available as of August 2018. The following vendors declined to participate or did not respond to our invitation: Microsoft, Oracle, Qlik and Tableau. To organizations considering products from these vendors, we recommend extra scrutiny as part of the software assessment because they did not make their technology available for the Value Index evaluation process.

Unlike many IT analyst firms that rank vendors from an IT-only perspective or that focus on a specific type of analytics and BI, Ventana Research has designed the Value Index to provide a balanced perspective that is rooted in an understanding of business drivers and needs. This approach not only reduces cost and time but also minimizes the risk of making a decision that is bad for the business. ABI_OverallUsing the Value Index will enable your organization to achieve the levels of efficiency and effectiveness needed to optimize analytics and business intelligence.

We urge organizations to do a thorough job of evaluating analytics and business intelligence systems and tools and offer this Value Index as both the results of our in-depth analysis of these vendors and as an evaluation methodology. The Value Index can be used to evaluate existing suppliers and also provides evaluation criteria for new projects; applying it can shorten the cycle time for an RFP.

The Value Index for Analytics and Business Intelligence in 2019 finds Information Builders first on the list with MicroStrategy second and IBM third. Companies that score in the top three in any category earn the designation Value Index Leader. IBM has done so in four of the seven categories; Infor, Information Builders and MicroStrategy are Value Index Leaders in three categories; and BOARD, Domo, SAP and SAS in two categories.

The chart below provides a visual representation of our Value Index scores. Vendors whose products scored higher in aggregate in the five product categories place farther to the right; the combination of scores for the two customer assurance categories determines their placement on the vertical access. Thus, vendors that place closer to the upper-right on this chart scored higher than those closer to the lower-left.ABI_Scatter

We warn that close vendor scores should not be taken to imply that the packages evaluated are functionally identical or equally well suited for use by every organization or for a specific process. Although there is a high degree of commonality in how organizations handle analytics and business intelligence, there are many idiosyncrasies and differences in how they do these functions that can make one vendor’s offering a better fit than another’s with a particular organization’s needs.

After more than a decade of technology advances, all the products we evaluated are feature-rich, but not all the capabilities they offer are equally valuable to users. Moreover, the existence of too many capabilities may be a negative factor for an organization if it introduces unnecessary complexity. Nonetheless, one company may decide that a larger number of options is a plus, especially if some of them match its established practices or better support a new initiative that is driving the purchase of new software.

Other factors besides features and functions or assessments about the vendor can turn out to be a deciding factor. For example, a company may face budget constraints such that the TCO evaluation can tip the balance to one vendor or another. This is where the Value Index methodology and the appropriate weighting can be applied to determine the best fit of vendors and products to an organization’s specific needs.

Our firm has made every effort to encompass in this Value Index the functional requirements and capabilities of our Analytics and Business Intelligence blueprint, which we believe reflects what a well-crafted RFP should contain. Even so, there may be additional areas that affect which vendor and products best fit your particular requirements. Therefore, while this research is complete as it stands, utilizing it in your own organizational context is critical to ensure that products deliver the highest level of support for your projects in this area. You can get more details on our site as well as the Value Index Market Report.

David Menninger
SVP & Research Director

Get the full picture Read the Analytics & Business Intelligence Value Index report

Topics: Data Science, business intelligence, Mobile Intelligence, Analytics, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Digital Technology

David Menninger

Written by David Menninger

David is responsible for the overall research direction of data, information and analytics technologies at Ventana Research covering major areas including Analytics, Big Data, Business Intelligence and Information Management along with the additional specific research categories including Information Applications, IT Performance Management, Location Intelligence, Operational Intelligence and IoT, and Data Science. David is also responsible for examining the role of cloud computing, collaboration and mobile technologies as they affect these areas. David brings to Ventana Research over twenty-five years of experience, through which he has marketed and brought to market some of the leading edge technologies for helping organizations analyze data to support a range of action-taking and decision-making processes. Prior to joining Ventana Research, David was the Head of Business Development & Strategy at Pivotal a division of EMC, VP of Marketing and Product Management at Vertica Systems, VP of Marketing and Product Management at Oracle, Applix, InforSense and IRI Software. David earned his MS in Business from Bentley University and a BS in Economics from University of Pennsylvania.