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Business intelligence healthy despite consolidation, says Gartner

Nick Booth

Even last year's consolidation of business intelligence (BI) vendors and rising panic about an economic meltdown have failed to quell the strong growth rate for BI platforms, according to market analyst Gartner.

Demand for BI platforms worldwide will reach $5.8bn in 2008, up 11.2% on last year. Growth is forecast at 8.1% right through to 2012, creating a $7.7bn market by 2012.

Gartner analysts say recession didn't hurt BI revenues because of the high priority the platforms have for CIOs. In a worldwide survey of 1,500 CIOs last year, Gartner Executive Programs found that BI was top priority.

"BI has been top priority for three years running," said Dan Sommer, senior research analyst for Gartner. It is almost recession-proof, he said. "CIOs are actually looking to increase their budgets for BI by about 11% this year."

Despite BI being a top priority for 2009 and beyond, Gartner expects a slowdown in growth as a natural consequence of product and vendor consolidation, he said. "Last year saw a turbulent shakeout of BI vendors, with some notable acquisitions," said Somner.

Business Objects (bought by SAP), Cognos (IBM) and Hyperion (Oracle) were the most notable acquisitions, creating a market dominated by these three and Microsoft, which continues to expand in this area.

Sommer predicted a commoditisation of BI across the board, particularly in the fields of query, online analytical processing and reporting. However, newer, innovative BI capabilities may offset the lowering of prices. This could broaden the reach of BI, while commoditisation of some features made it more affordable to a wider audience of users.





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