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Using the BI and Analytics MQ to Modernize and Select the Right Tool

by Cindi Howson  |  July 20, 2016  |  7 Comments

Yesterday, Rita Sallam and I presented a webinar on using the BI and Analytics Magic Quadrant to modernize and select the right tool for the right user.  If you missed it, you can watch on demand! We didn’t get to answer all of the questions, so below are a few follow ups, plus some interesting poll results.

Big Changes to the 2016 BI & Analytics MQ

This year represented a big change to the Magic Quadrant as we considered only those vendors and products who meet the definition of modern (see this note for definition). If your company is heavily vested in only traditional tools, we know this is a tough change for you to digest.  We’ve heard the laments:  “but we’ve sunk millions in traditional!” or “but modern means loss of control!” Existing investments are largely sunk costs. We as an industry must focus more on business value delivered, not solely costs.  Modern BI and Analytics does not have to mean loss of control, but it will if you are unprepared.

The good news is in the webinar poll, the majority of you said you have either started to modernize (37%) or plan to significantly grow (53%).  These poll results are fairly consistent with what we see in inquiry calls, earlier webinars in March, and BI and Analytics spending, where Modern BI grew 64% on constant currency basis in 2015 (see this note).

Poll Business Author Modern

And I was really glad to see that webinar attendees agree with the shift away from IT as the sole do-oer to more of the enabler.



What About Traditional BI?

We often talk about mode 1 and mode 2 for IT as a whole, and for BI and analytics. We advocate that you need both.  Historically, you could only do mode 1 – the slow, systematic, tightly governed reporting that is traditional BI. Mode 2 is more agile and iterative.  You need both, but increasingly, as modern BI and analytic vendors improve their publishing and governance capabilities, we are seeing customers use modern BI and analytic products to do both mode 1 and mode 2. They are maintaining traditional BI products, but not growing content or users. So the poll results have me puzzled as they are somewhat in contrast both with what we see in inquiry calls and with market share analysis that shows traditional BI revenues are largely flat or declining.  So for those who answered C, do we not talk to you? Help me understand, please! Or perhaps this is the group that is also just getting started on their modernization?

Poll Traditional BI

Some Detailed Questions and Answers

We answered a number of questions during the live webcast, but below are some we didn’t have time to get to.

Question: How difficult is it to keep data integrity and quality with modern BI tools with access to more unstructured potentially conflicting data sources?

Answer: It can be a challenge. The world was simpler when we were trying only to analyze our internally-generated, clean data, from a single transaction system! But this then becomes a question of how you organize as well as how you ensure repeatable processes in an agile way.  If the data is of uncertain value and unknown quality, you want to explore and fail fast.  Putting some of the data preparation process in the hands of the power user who has more knowledge of the data can help improve the quality.

Question: We are concentrating on Systems of Engagement as the core for improving our customer experience.  Does SoE impact BI in your opinion?

Answer: Yes, absolutely! This is where traditional BI has largely focused on systems of record. Modern BI and analytics is a form of systems of engagement, both in understanding customer experience but also in some cases, providing data to customers as part of that experience.

Question: How do your customers feel about shipping their data to the cloud instead of on premises?

Answer: Relieved, excited, nervous.  That’s a big range of feelings! Customers who are already using cloud for ERP, customer service and the like (think Salesforce, SuccessFactors, NetSuite) want their BI and analytics in the cloud as well. As with any cloud deployment, customers have to evaluate the capabilities, but also the security, data center location, and where data is stored. Many of the cloud-based BI and Analytics vendors now offer hybrid connectivity to on-premises data sources and this is a good way to get started.

Question: Do you think that the governance capabilities in these BI tools are powerful enough for a large enterprise?

Answer:  Governance and metadata integration, as well as security and user administration are two of the capabilities that we evaluate in the Critical Capabilities for BI and Analytic Platforms. Some of the products get high marks and others do not, showing room for improvement.  So, it depends, but yes, some modern BI and analytic products most certainly can and are being deployed in large enterprise deployments.

Question: What ranks better on “self service” New IBM or Microsoft?

Answer:  Do you mean self-service data preparation or the self-service visual exploration? And do you want all the other criteria that define a use case?  And when you refer to IBM, do you mean IBM Watson Analytics or IBM Cognos Analytics? I know— I’m sure you hate it when an analyst (or consultant) just keeps asking you more questions! But to show you the devil is in the details, really, for visual exploration, IBM Watson Analytics gets higher marks than Microsoft Power BI – currently! Both products are on agile releases; for self-service data preparation, Microsoft is stronger than IBM Watson Analytics, unless you bring Datawatch into the mix.  And then there is IBM Cognos Analytics, which we are currently testing, so stay tuned and watch for a note in August.

These were just some of the questions we didn’t have time to address in the live webinar. Please also visit Rita’s blog for additional insights and questions and answers.

Meanwhile, enjoy your summer! Read some thrillers, some historical fiction, and yes, our many research notes :)!


Cindi Howson





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Category: business-analytics  business-intelligence  

Cindi Howson
Research VP
1 years at Gartner
25 years IT Industry

Cindi Howson is a Research Vice President at Gartner, where she focuses on business intelligence (BI) and analytics. Her work includes writing about market trends, vendors and best practices and advising organizations on these subjects. Read Full Bio

Thoughts on Using the BI and Analytics MQ to Modernize and Select the Right Tool

  1. Juan Camilo says:

    Hi Cindi. I’m trying to download the research os market Guide ( and Critical Capabilities ( but I don’t see ane document.
    Thanks for your Help

    • Cindi Howson says:

      Hi, Juan, The links should send you to a document overview. You do have to be a Gartner client to access the full content.

  2. […] a blog post from Cindi Howson, a Research Vice President focused on BI and analytics at Gartner, “Using the BI and Analytics MQ to Modernize and Select the Right Tool.” In it, she shared some insights and viewer questions from her recent webinar on the same topic. […]

  3. Frank says:

    Great analysis, just wondering if you will be evaluating Oracle BI 12c. Thank you

    • Cindi Howson says:

      We hope to evaluate it in detail as part of the 2017 MQ process, but in the interim, we do have some high level information that we can discuss in inquiry calls. While I would have liked to have published a mid year note to assess this product, the vendor has not granted access to the software which we need for writing such notes, like we have done for SAP, IBM, and Tableau (planned).

  4. Great stuff! As of now, different companies have initiated their development process to provide the change impact analysis tool. The webinar poll clearly shows that the planning and integration will significantly increase in the coming years. To report, transform and analyse the data for business intelligence, the database developers as well as project managers prominently require a crystal reporting tool.

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