David Menninger's Analyst Perspectives

IBM is Exemplary and Leader in Analytics and Data Value Index

Posted by David Menninger on Jun 2, 2021 3:00:00 AM

We are happy to share some insights about IBM drawn from our latest Value Index research, which assesses how well vendors’ offerings meet buyers’ requirements.

VR_VI_Analytics_and_Data_Logo-1Earlier this year we published the Ventana Research Value Index: Analytics and Data 2021, the distillation of a year of market and product research efforts. We then developed three additional Value Indexes on analytics and business intelligence focusing on mobile, embedded and collaborative capabilities. Because each is a critical aspect of modern BI, we developed specific criteria to provide an in-depth look at features geared specifically to mobile, embedded and collaborative use.

In all of our Value Indexes, we utilize a structured research methodology that includes evaluation categories designed to reflect real-world criteria incorporated in a request for proposal and vendor selection process for analytics and business intelligence. We evaluated IBM and 17 other vendors in seven categories: five relevant to the product – Adaptability, Capability, Manageability, Reliability and Usability – and two related to the vendor – Total Cost of Ownership/Return on Investment and Vendor Validation. To arrive at the Value Index rating for a given vendor, we weighted each category to reflect its relative importance in an RFP process, with the weightings based on our experience and on data derived from our Benchmark Research on Analytics and Business Intelligence.

Ventana_Research_Value_Index_Analytics_and_Data_2021_Vendor_Overall_Chart_IBM@2xIBM, one of the largest providers of technology products and services, has been providing BI capabilities for decades. It was categorized as an Exemplary Vendor and ranked first overall in this Value Index evaluation. IBM was a Value Index Leader in Customer Experience; within TCO/ROI; in Product Experience; and within Capability and Manageability, where it was first in both categories. IBM also performed well in the Usability category.

IBM Cognos Analytics runs on-premises and has recently been expanded to include a cloud offering. A variety of relational, multidimensional and XML data sources are supported. Data can be loaded into Cognos Analytics or accessed dynamically using a caching layer. As a leader in the Capability category, Cognos Analytics offers one of the broadest sets of analytics among the products evaluated. Cognos Analytics has recently been redesigned with a new user experience that incorporates machine learning assistance and insights into many parts of the analytics process.

Additional integration among the various parts of the analytics portfolio would make it easier to use Cognos Analytics. IBM would have performed better in the Adaptability category with more support for integration into business processes and applications. The Validation rating would improve if more specific information about services related to Cognos Analytics were easily accessible to prospects.

Most of today’s analytics and business intelligence products support some form of collaboration. Capabilities that support the sharing of — and communication on — output from analytical processes are important because they help organizations maximize the value of their analytics investments. As the leader in this assessment, IBM Cognos Analytics offers a wide variety of collaborative capabilities. It supports sharing and emailing analyses, alerts and notifications, assigning tasks with an approval process, commenting on analyses and posting to discussion groups. Some of these features are provided via integration with third-party products. A calendar view of tasks and the ability to organize tasks into workflows would help improve IBM’s Capability ranking.

Analytics vendors understand the need to deliver embedded analytics; most have been developing and enhancing APIs and other mechanisms to more tightly integrate analytics into business processes and applications. However, it can be challenging for analytics and BI vendors to package and deliver their capabilities in a way that makes them easy to embed into other applications and processes. IBM Cognos Analytics provides REST APIs and JavaScript APIs to enable embedding and extending analytics. It also provides a URL for interacting with Cognos components and a command line interface. Custom visualizations can be developed using JavaScript. The user interface can be customized to reflect corporate branding. Despite being the top performer, a few additional visualizations and analytical functions would have improved IBM’s rating in the Capability category.

Vendors must provide rich mobile access to analytics to support a mobile workforce seeking to conduct business in any location at any time. More than two-fifths (45%) of organizations report that it is important or very important to be able to address data preparation tasks on mobile devices. IBM’s Cognos Analytics mobile application runs natively on iOS devices. It has been completely redesigned since our last evaluation and offers a good complement to the desktop and browser-based versions. In addition to a wide variety of visualizations, it supports natural language capabilities as well as communication and collaboration with others. IBM would have performed better in Adaptability with more support for integration into business processes and applications.

This assessment was based on IBM’s analytics products available at end of December 2020. Shortly after our evaluation, IBM released a version for Android devices and additional types of Cognos installations.

Organizations should evaluate their data and analytics requirements including collaborative, embedded and mobile capabilities to ensure the existing solutions are meeting the organization’s needs. If their existing solutions are not satisfying those requirements, they should consider whether IBM can help meet their needs.

This research-based index is the most comprehensive assessment of the value of analytics and BI software in the industry. Technology buyers can learn more about how to use our Value Index by clicking here, and included vendors that wish to learn more can click here. Read the report here.


Dave Menninger

Topics: embedded analytics, Analytics, Business Intelligence, Collaboration, Data Governance, Data Preparation, Information Management, natural language processing, AI and Machine Learning

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.