Technology buyers have made it clear to us they want platforms for building data analytics applications. I call these insight platforms, and they were the No. 1 emerging technology of interest for enterprise architects in 2016.

Understanding why is easy — insight platforms provide a common toolset and a place to run what you have built. They accelerate both time-to-value and agility, which are crucially important for keeping up with markets and customers. See Tame The Beast: Forrester's Insight Platform Vendor Landscape and Want To Create Action From Big Data? Look At Enterprise Insight Platform Suites for more information.

Since using more public cloud is the No .1 big data priority, according to our 2016 survey of 3,000+ data and analytics decision makers, Insight Platforms-as-a-Service are next on my Forrester Wave agenda. We define Insight Platforms-as-a-service at multitenant platform-as-a-service cloud offerings that include tools for data management, several types of analytics and technology that help firms operationalize insight in other software and processes.

I already know the biggest players - Google, Amazon, Microsoft, IBM and Oracle - but I’m also looking for other providers who want to give them a run for their money. Who else I should look at? For example, should I include:

  • Business service providers like FICO? They can lay claim to having an insight PaaS, and they definitely want a piece of Amazon’s cloud business.
  • Marketing tech and service providers like Adobe Marketing Cloud? Even though they use the word, I’m pretty sure they don’t really offer a PaaS, but I’m open to changing my mind if there is evidence to the contrary.
  • Indian SIs like Infosys, TCS, and Wipro? They are building platforms by adding IP to open source. I’m not sure if they are offering them as PaaS to customers, though.
  • Business consultancies like Deloitte and EY? They advertise cloud platforms, but again, I’m not sure they compare to what you would use Amazon EMR or Microsoft Azure/Cortana for.
  • Big data platform vendors like Pivotal and MapR? They are going beyond their Hadoop heritage to offer more and more analytics components. They are also partnering to offer their stack on cloud platforms in PaaS style.
  • Big-data-as-a-service vendors like Big Step, Cazena, and Qubole? They are also breaking out of just being big data infrastructure plays. They already offer data PaaS but increasingly look like an insight PaaS.
  • Cloud-native BI vendors like GoodData and Bime? Along with cloud offerings from Tableau, TIBCO, and others, they are adding in more data management and advanced analytics like machine learning. They kind of look like an insight PaaS as well.

I’m currently screening a bunch of these types of vendors in detail to see which to include in an Forrester Wave evaluation of insight PaaS tools that we will publish this summer.

If you know the names of any potential Insight PaaS providers, I’d like to hear from you so I can send them (or you) a screening survey and more information.

(About the author: Brian Hopkins is a vice president and principal analyst with Forrester Research. This post originally appeared on his Forrester blog, which can be viewed here).

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