The leading vendors for BI and analytics
Each year, Gartner ranks the top vendors in the business intelligence and analytics space. This Magic Quadrant report looks at each company’s top products for BI and analytics, the track record of each with customers, and their go-to-market strategy. Part one of this series looks at the companies named to the Leaders and Visionaries sectors, in no particular order. Part two examines those companies named as Niche Players. No companies were named to the Challengers sector, which is the traditional fourth category in a Gartner quadrant report.
“Leaders are vendors that demonstrate a solid understanding of the product capabilities and commitment to customer success that buyers demand in the current market, coupled with an easily understandable and attractive pricing model that supports proof of value, incremental purchases and enterprise scale," Gartner explains.
“Tableau offers a highly interactive and intuitive visual-based exploration experience for business users to easily access, prepare and analyze their data without the need for coding through three primary products: Tableau Desktop, Tableau Server and Tableau Online (Tableau's cloud offering),” according to Gartner. “Since its inception, Tableau has been sharply focused on making the analytic workflow experience for users easier, but at the same time giving them greater power to explore and find insights in data. Tableau achieved extraordinary growth and has disrupted the market by appealing to business buyers, which propelled its "land-and-expand" strategy."
“Microsoft offers a broad range of BI and analytics capabilities with its Power BI suite, delivered via the Azure cloud,” Gartner explains. “Power BI Desktop can be used as a stand-alone, on-premises option for individual users, or when power users are authoring complex data mashups involving on-premises data sources.
Microsoft is positioned in the Leaders quadrant again this year, with continued strong uptake of Power BI, accelerated customer interest and adoption, and a clear and visionary product roadmap that includes vertical industry content.”
“Qlik offers governed data discovery and analytics either as a stand-alone application or (increasingly) embedded in other applications,” Gartner says. “Qlik Sense is the vendor's lead product, while QlikView continues to be enhanced and makes up a larger portion of the company's installed customer base. Qlik's vision components — a marketplace, smarter data preparation, and leaving data in place for intelligent push-down processing — are important differentiators; however, the vendor lags behind in its investment in smart data discovery (which Gartner believes poses the next wave of disruption) and its competitors are further along.”
“Visionaries have a strong and unique vision for delivering a modern BI and analytics platform,” Gartner explains. “They offer depth of functionality in the areas they address; however, they may have gaps relating to broader functionality requirements. Visionaries are thought leaders and innovators, but they may be lacking in scale or there may be concerns about their ability to grow and still provide consistent execution.”
“Zoomdata supports fast interactive analysis, visualization and dashboards for big and streaming data,” Gartner says. “Zoomdata is well-suited to business users and data scientists that need real-time insights from streaming data across a range of big data sources, or for developers that need to embed these insights in applications. It also has an innovative vision for streaming analytics that is based on a modern distributed architecture, which harmonizes multiple large data sources into real-time interactive dashboards without moving data.”
“ClearStory Data is a cloud-based BI and analytics platform that allows for smart data integration, data storytelling and collaboration in a single platform,” Gartner explains. “It uses Spark-based processing to handle large data volumes, but that data must be moved to the cloud. ClearStory is well-suited to business users that need to combine, harmonize and explore multiple and varied data sources, including personal, cloud, streaming and syndicated data. ClearStory Data's Ability to Execute is limited by its lack of a strong geographic presence, being a smaller vendor in an already crowded market, and limited awareness among potential customers.”
“Salesforce Wave Analytics (Wave) offers standard point-and-click interactive visualizations, dashboards and analysis with integrated self-service data preparation,” Gartner explains. “Wave is sold as a stand-alone platform and also as the foundation of packaged, closed-loop front-office analytic applications for sales, marketing and service. Sold globally, the platform is natively mobile and offers collaboration through integration with Salesforce Chatter. Salesforce continues to initially cater to its installed base, but executing on its next-generation, machine-learning-enabled roadmap could make it a more significant player in the market overall during the next year and beyond.”
“Sisense offers a single platform with a self-contained in-memory, in-chip, columnar database engine that allows for visual exploration of web-based dashboards,” Gartner notes. “Sisense has moved from the Niche Players quadrant to the Visionaries quadrant this year, based on improvements in its sales strategy and product roadmap. Sisense has delivered several innovative features during the past year, including capabilities that leverage Amazon's Alexa personal digital assistant (PDA) for voice-enabled query and interpretation of results, as well as Sisense bots. The company's longer-term roadmap focuses on smart data discovery, smarter data preparation and crowdsourced analytics.”
“MicroStrategy Version 10 (released in 2015) combines self-service data preparation, visual data discovery and big data exploration with enterprise BI,” Gartner explains. “Version 10, a major release for MicroStrategy, added near-functional parity for interactive visual exploration with market-leading platforms to its already best-in-class enterprise reporting capabilities. This combined with MicroStrategy's enterprise features delivered in a single platform make it better-suited to large-scale SOR reporting and governed data discovery deployments for large complex datasets, than most other offerings.”
“Through its acquisition of Spotfire in 2007, TIBCO Software became one of the data discovery disruptors that helped drive the BI market shift from traditional reporting to modern BI and analytics,” Gartner explains. “The platform offers extensive capabilities for analytics dashboards, interactive visualization and data preparation in a single design tool, while offering flexible processing options either in-memory or in-database. It has continued to expand its feature set to include advanced analytics and streaming, and location intelligence, largely through acquisition and integration with TIBCO middleware."
“SAP delivers a broad range of BI and analytic capabilities for both large IT-managed enterprise reporting deployments and business-user-driven data discovery deployments,” Gartner explains. “Companies often choose SAP as their enterprise BI standard, especially if they also standardize on SAP applications. With the introduction of SAP BusinessObjects Cloud in 2016 (formerly called SAP Cloud for Analytics) SAP now offers two distinct platforms: SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise for on-premises deployments, and SAP BusinessObjects Cloud as a purely cloud-based deployment (built on SAP's Hana cloud platform)."
“SAS offers a wide range of BI and analytics capabilities: from interactive discovery, dashboards and reporting for mainstream business users, to specialist tools for data scientists, as well as prebuilt solutions for industry verticals,” Gartner explains. “SAS Visual Analytics is available either in an on-premises deployment or through the cloud in SAS's own data centers or through third parties such as AWS. SAS Visual Analytics is an in-memory product for governed data discovery, dashboards and advanced analytics that runs on the SAS Lasr Analytic Server."

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“IBM offers a broad range of BI and analytic capabilities, as represented by the participation of two product offerings in the Magic Quadrant this year: IBM Cognos Analytics and IBM Watson Analytics,” Gartner explains. “Cognos Analytics is version 11 of the Cognos Business Intelligence product line and a much improved and redesigned modern product offering. Watson Analytics continues to pioneer the next-generation, machine-learning-enabled user experience, including automated pattern detection, support for natural-language query and generation and embedded advanced analytics, via a cloud-only solution.”