Gartner Record Magic Quadrant For Business Intelligence As Well As Analytics Systems

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Gartner Record Magic Quadrant For Business Intelligence As Well As Analytics Systems – Gartner has published its legendary Magic Quadrant for Analytics and Business Intelligence Platforms for 2019. It is always interesting to see how the SAP BI offering compares to its competitors. In previous years I was critical of this report, because most SAP tools (SAP BusinessObjects BI Platform, Lumira, etc.) were completely ignored and SAP Analytics Cloud was really just getting started. In the 2019 edition the BOBJ content is still out, but that’s something I can live with as SAP has clearly changed its strategy to cloud.

So we have to look at the chart. SAP is seen as a visionary, but with low execution ability. The big competitors Microsoft (PowerBI) and Tableau seem to be way ahead, in vision and execution. The data on SAP is essentially a rehash of the good, the bad and the ugly writing on SAP Analytics Cloud in 2018. Some excerpts from the report:

Gartner Record Magic Quadrant For Business Intelligence As Well As Analytics Systems

SAP is a Visionary, and its position in the Magic Quadrant is affected by product limitations and relative weakness both in terms of product limitations and in terms of sales and marketing strategy. SAP does not yet have the broad momentum of the Leaders in this market. Its decision to focus on one product is starting to improve its competitiveness, however. Reference customers for SAP Analytics Cloud report a much better view of SAP’s viability as a modern analytics and BI vendor. The integrated functionality of SAP Analytics Cloud is a differentiator for planning, analysis and forecasting capabilities in one unified platform. SAP is one of two vendors in the Magic Quarter with such an offering.

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I can only agree with this. The focus should not be on closing the functionality gap with the quarter leaders alone, but on offering a more integrated and broader solution.

SAP Analytics Hub is designed to bridge cloud and on-premises deployments, providing a single front-end for SAP and partner analytics offerings. This vision resonates – reference customers for SAP Analytics Cloud showed a greater improvement in their perception of their vendor’s viability than any other group of reference customers surveyed for this Magic Fourth.

Yes, the Hub is a robust and intelligent solution with a clear purpose. But, it could be much better than what is being offered now and I haven’t seen much progress in the last year.

Gartner sees this as a strength, but this is not going to win the war. Reporting business content is nice to get some inspiration and ideas, but it’s not an out-of-the-box solution.

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Application limitations: SAP Analytics Cloud still lags behind in several areas, especially scalability and model complexity. In addition, the connectivity and ability to ingest SAP-source data, and the ability to embed analytical content, is relatively weak. Performance is the main limitation to the wider deployment of SAP Analytics Cloud, according to its reference customers. They ranked SAP product support – specifically its time to answer and resolve issues – in the bottom third of vendors in this Magic Quadrant.

Cloud-only: Most organizations now consider cloud-based software as part of their data and analytics deployment, but a significant minority still do not. For that minority, SAP Analytics Cloud is not a good fit, although it can connect directly to on-premise SAP resources for live data and to some non-SAP data sources for data ingestion.

Gartner mentions this as a weakness, I don’t think so. The integration architecture is a smart solution where the data does not need to leave the company’s network and does not go “in the cloud”, which would be the biggest point of resistance for these customers.

Tableau: Easy visual exploration and data manipulation: Tableau enables users to quickly ingest data from a wide variety of data sources, blend it, and visualize results using best practices in visual perception. Data can be manipulated and visualized – for example when creating new groups, bins and hierarchies – all in a very easy-to-use way.

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This is indeed what I have seen and heard from Tableau users. It is very easy to use and extremely flexible and feature rich.

Tableau: Customers as fans: Customers have a fan attitude towards Tableau, as evidenced by the record number of 17,000 users who attended its 2018 annual user conference. Reference customers placed Tableau in the top third of Magic Quadrant vendors for customer experience, and gave it high scores for achieving business benefits. Tableau sets the industry standard for empowering users with Meetup groups, roadshows, online tutorials and marketable skills availability.

Here SAP clearly missed the boat. This Tableau community reminds me a bit of what BusinessObjects and especially the Xcelsius community was like 10 years ago. People were sharing their very creative ideas on how to get everything out of the tools. The broken SAP Community doesn’t help with this either

Giving PowerBI away (almost) free and bundling it with the WindowsOS is a strategy that Microsoft is known for, and it clearly works for PowerBI (a great, great name for a BI tool by the way! ) Much better than the generic SAP Analytics Cloud).

Gartner Magic Quadrant For Analytics And Business Intelligence Platforms

Microsoft PowerBI: Ease of use for complex types of analysis: Reference customers continue to recognize Microsoft for its ease of use — they gave it the third highest rating across all aspects of ease of use. Microsoft’s “first five-minute experience” (it aims to have users sign up for a trial and be “wowed” within five minutes) and a strong user community contribute to this result.

I’ve seen many first-time BI users start with these trial (or university) licenses in Tableau or PowerBI and get hooked on the tool. SAP Analytics Cloud has a free 30-day trial option, but it needs to push this further.

So unconvincing, the report gives a good overview of where SAP Analytics Cloud stands in relation to its competitors, but Idon doesn’t read many new or unexpected insights. It is important that the unified platform solution is clearly identified as a unique offering, as this could be the differentiator for SAP Analytics Cloud in the market. The MQ for BI research has been around for almost a decade. IS the reference document for buyers of Business Information technology.

On the face of it, it seems like not much has changed…BUT, if you look more closely, you will notice that some of the biggest changes in the history of the Magic Quarter have just happened…

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For the first time in 3 years, Gartner dropped a significant number of vendors from its quarter. There were 24 vendors in the firm’s quadrant in 2016 and 2017. This year, the Magic Quadrant lists only 20 vendors…that’s a 16% quarter decrease. Did the deal go down?!

Not exactly: the market has evolved….and in a rather predictable way actually. Take a look at our 3-year movement analysis table below: we see a fairly consistent story, e.g. the masses are getting bigger, some of the visionaries have become absorbed (or disappeared) and few ‘trend-setters’ have emerged. More accurate:

You’ll find copies of the Magic Four on some of the vendor sites and we’re sure your team is looking forward to going through the 60+ page document. But, before doing so, we recommend that they focus their attention on some of the “planning assumptions” highlighted on the first page of the document. Especially:

We believe Gartner is onto an important theme here: Business Intelligence is about Business Value. “BI Self-Service”, the trend that drove the industry’s 60% YOY growth in 2015 created some unintended consequences: enterprises bought a lot of BI tools. Some gave value. Some were not. The consequence: in 2017, the market only grew by around 10% and Gartner now expects it to grow at 8% during 2021.

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This Magic Quadrant was to be published on February 16 according to the Gartner site. We can only guess that the reason it took a few extra weeks was due to some of the radical new changes that took place in this year’s edition.

Some of the biggest players in the tech industry have been left out of this year’s report: Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL ) and Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN ) are starting to build a growing influence in the space. They both have visualization abilities. Surprisingly, they only get a few mentions in the report: Amazon is mentioned 8 times. Google is only mentioned 4 times…

It is difficult to point to the past three years and to predict exactly what the next three years will hold. However, we hope that our 3-year movement analysis table will help you make smarter choices for your organization. In addition to the table, here are some additional features:

Now, as we explained in our MQ analysis webinar (recording available here), remember that criteria change over time. Movement is a factor of many things: vendor capabilities but also Gartner’s methodology for each year.

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Reference: Gartner, Inc., “Magic Quadrant for Analytics and Business Intelligence Platforms,” by Cindi Howson, Rita L. Sallam, James Laurence Richardson, Joao Tapadinhas, Carlie J. Idoine, Alys Woodward, February 26, 2018.

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