To help companies select the best business intelligence (BI) platform for their needs, Forrester Research introduces Business Intelligence TechRankings, the tenth category in Forrester's TechRankings research of enterprise software markets.

For this TechRankings category, Forrester defines BI platforms as software that provides data analysis and reporting tools to help people – and applications – make accurate, repeatable business decisions. Forrester invited all major companies in this market to take part in the product testing and evaluation process.

Forrester recommends that prospective buyers compare BI platforms across three main criteria: functional capabilities (what can the product do?), infrastructure (how consistent is the platform across the product; is it designed for performance and reliability?), and vendor criteria (how are the vendor's overall health, customer support policies, momentum, and product cost?).

For this TechRankings evaluation, Forrester and its research partner, Doculabs, Inc. evaluated products against more than 500 detailed criteria, from which it identified 10 key attributes that users should consider when evaluating business intelligence platforms.

  • Data management. How sophisticated are the product's data mining, modeling, and validation capabilities?
  • Business specialization. How well does the product support various vertical and horizontal industries by providing prepackaged data models and industry-specific reports?
  • Data mining and analytics. How sophisticated are the product's tools for performing historical, real- time, and predictive analyses?
  • Information delivery. How mature are the product's capabilities for various outputs to multiple client interfaces, and how mature are its security and personalization features?
  • Consistency. How well do the application's modules work together? How robust are the product's capabilities for administration of all components and functionality?
  • Integration. How well does the product integrate with external data sources and software?
  • Architecture. How strong is the product's runtime environment in terms of high performance, reliability, and scalability?
  • Globalization. How suitable is the product for use in non-English/U.S. environments?
  • Vendor strength. How strong is the vendor's presence in the business intelligence market and its support for its product?
  • Cost. How much does the product cost, and how is it sold?

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