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Gartners Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence Platforms

When assessing any business intelligence [BI] vendor solution, a multi-dimensional framework should be used to ensure all dimensions of the product and vendor are considered.

One of the key tools in assessing business intelligence tools are the surveys and reports issued by industry held analysts. Gartner uses its 'Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence Platforms' to provide a global view of thier opinion of the main BI software vendors. It rated BI vendors and their solutions across two dimensions:

  1. Completeness of Vision
  2. Ability to Execute

Completeness of Vision

Completeness of vision is evaluated based upon:

Market Understanding - ability of the vendor to understand buyers' wants and needs and to translate these into products and services.

Business Model - robustness and logic of the vendor's underlying business proposition.

Geographic Strategy - global reach, either directly or through partners, channels and subsidiaries.

Marketing Strategy - evidence of a clearly defined and differentiated strategy, consistently communicated both within the organization and in the marketplace.

Sales Strategy - uses appropriate sales channels to cover all sectors of the market.

Product Strategy - functionality, methodology and feature set that both differentiates the vendors solution and aligns with both current and future BI requirements.

Vertical/Industry Strategy - resources and skills aligned to meet the specific needs of individual market segments and verticals.

Innovation - the investment of resources, expertise and capital to consolidate and defend current offerings and pre-empt future needs.

Ability to Execute

Overall Viability - the overall financial and operational success of the business unit, and the likelihood of continued investment in the products currently offered.

Operations - ability of the organization to meet its goals and commitments, including organizational structure, skills, experiences, programs, systems used to support effective and efficient operations on an ongoing daily basis.

Product/Service - core product and service capabilities, quality, feature sets, skills, etc., offered both natively or through OEM agreements.

Marketing Execution - overall success of programs to influence the market, promote the brand and business, increase awareness of the products, and positively position the product/brand and organization in the minds of buyers. This includes publicity, promotional, thought leadership, word-of-mouth and sales activities.

Sales Execution/Pricing - pre-sales capability and infrastructure, including deal management, pricing and negotiation, pre-sales support and the overall effectiveness of the sales channel.

Market Responsiveness and Track Record - agility and flexibility to meet changing customer needs, convert opportunities and compete against competitors. Also considers the vendor's history of responsiveness.

Customer Experience - relationships, products and service programs that support customer success with products evaluated. This includes technical support, account support, ancillary tools and channels.


BI Quadrants

Gartner suggests the buyers of business intelligence [BI] applications should evaluate vendors in all four quadrants:

  1. Niche Players - narrowly focused vision and lower ability to execute
  2. Visionairies - more complete vision, but still deemed having a lower ability to execute
  3. Challengers - narrowly focused vision but with a higher ability to execute
  4. Leaders - A complete vision with high execution

Niche Players and Visionaries quadrants often offer more innovation in the more specialised areas such as:

  • Interactive visualization
  • In-memory data analysis
  • Real-time dashboards
  • Wizard-based application development
  • Spreadsheet-based reporting


Gartner BI Vendor Assessment Criteria

Gartner assesses vendors based on three perspectives:

  1. Customer perceptions of each vendor's strengths and challenges
  2. An online survey of vendor customers
  3. A vendor-completed questionnaire about their BI strategy and operations.

Gartner Magic Quadrant 2014

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