Salesforce Becomes a Visionary through M&A
To start, let’s have a look at Salesforce. Its offering, Salesforce Wave Analytics, uses integrated self-service data preparation combined with dashboards and point-and-click interactive visualizations. Mergers and acquisitions have been key in advancing Salesforce this year—in particular, its acquisition of BeyondCore, which last year was a “Visionary” company. Many have attributed this particular acquisition as the main reason that Salesforce moved from “Niche” to “Visionary.”
However, there are a couple of big challenges for Salesforce that could stop it from moving into a leading position next year. First, many are watching how it will integrate its new IP with its overall business intelligence platform. Second, it is not known yet whether Salesforce’s current customers will buy the new product. Nonetheless, customers are reporting positive sales experiences. Salesforce also is now strongly placed for the next wave of analytics & BI, with the potential to offer to customers the most relevant machine-learning-based insights through the combined BeyondCore and Salesforce platforms.
Birst’s Network BI Places It Firmly in the Niche Quadrant
Offering data management and analytics, Birst finds itself in Gartner’s “Niche” quadrant. Setting this company apart from others is its “Network BI.” Utilizing virtual instances to connect centralized and decentralized computers, Birst has made itself more attractive to companies that want to offer the flexibility of self-service in a managed service environment.
One of the main areas of concern for Birst, however, is its bottom overall ranking in ability to reduce external IT costs and internal IT head count when using BI.
IBM Remains a Visionary
IBM also had an interesting year and stayed firmly in the “Visionary” quadrant. Cognos Analytics 11 has been redesigned and improved, thus becoming far more appealing to modern businesses. Coupled with Watson Analytics, which is pioneering machine-learning-enabled user experiences, IBM continues to offer strong vision and is exploring analytic possibilities with its cloud offerings.
However, its offerings are split across two platforms, Cognos Analytics and Watson Analytics, which can make it challenging for those trying to understand how to get the most out of these two products. This can be somewhat confusing since there is a lack of consistency between the two systems.
Qlik Holds a Leader Spot
Qlik is one of only a few names to make it into the “Leader” quadrant this year. In addition to acquiring tech partner Industrial Codebox, Qlik has been making great strides with its platform offerings. Straight SQL has some limitations when it comes to helping visualize patterns in data and when building interactive applications. However, by utilizing its in-memory engine, Qlik has managed to offer its customers robust ways to build these types of applications and at the same time push forward with associative analytics.
Qlik’s global partner network, user enablement and above-average customer experience pushed it into the “Leader” quadrant, although the company’s progress has been somewhat held in check as compared to other leaders such as Microsoft. In part this is due to a similar situation as IBM, as Qlik is supporting two platforms: QlikView and the less mature platform QlikSense, rather than one main product offering.
Overall, the BI & Analytics space is developing rapidly, and the landscape remains fluid. Mergers and acquisitions have played a key part in Gartner Quadrant shifts for some of the big names this year, but will this become a strong trend going forward? We’ll certainly be keeping a close watch.