The consolidation wave has been the big news in the business intelligence industry in recent years. First, there was the surge of acquisitions of smaller players by the larger specialist BI vendors, particularly Business Objects and Hyperion Solutions. Then the three largest specialist BI vfendors – Business Objects, Cognos and Hyperion – were themselves acquired by software titans from outside the BI industry. Now, SAP, IBM, Oracle and Microsoft all have large BI businesses, and much effort has been devoted to analysis of their complex product roadmaps.

This focus on the consolidation at the top end of the BI market has led to an assumption by many commentators that the remaining small vendors are now an irrelevance as far as the corporate BI market is concerned. But, looking at it from the customer’s viewpoint, which size of vendor actually delivers the most satisfactory results? Using quantitative results from the recent BI Survey 8, we can analyze real-world user experiences in a rational, objective way.

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