BI is booming



April 20, 2011 at 6:30 AM



Being smart is good.

That’s a message delivered early in life and reinforced every step along the way.

Having business smarts is nonnegotiable in today’s always-on, global economy, for example. For enterprise IT, that makes business intelligence (BI) software a mission-critical purchase.

Worldwide, spending on BI turned upward in 2010, says Gartner based on recent market figures. BI platform, analytic applications and performance management software revenue hit $10.5 billion last year, a 13.4% boost from the $9.3 billion reached in 2009, the firm says.

In reporting the numbers, Dan Sommer, principal research analyst at Gartner, attributed the upswing to stimulus spending, the general improvement in the macro-economy and new product releases.

“BI spending has far surpassed IT budget growth overall for several years, and it is clear that BI continues to be a technology at the center of information-driven initiatives in organizations,” he says.

However, he adds, with BI companies’ aggressive marketing efforts, “revenue growth is as much a vendor push as a demand pull.”

Gartner sees two trends within the enterprise: BI tools consolidation within IT but proliferation of lighter weight data discovery tools and analytics applications in the business units. The reason being, Gartner says, is that “business users care less about who they buy from; they want domain-specific functionality and usability that meet their needs.”

But regardless, growth occurred in each of the three areas – BI, analytics and performance management.

“In 2009, the difficult environment forced companies to focus on the ‘bread and butter’ BI projects they had already started, hence, upgrades in the more-maintenance-heavy BI platform segment took priority and grew faster, while sales of CPM and analytic applications suffered. In 2010, packaged application functionality returned in a big way,” Sommer says in a prepared statement on Gartner’s findings.

Breaking down the numbers, vendor rankings have changed little from 2009 to 2010, Gartner says.

The four largest vendors – IBM, Microsoft, Oracle and SAP, in alphabetical order – own 59% of the market share, while SAP, with a 23% stake, sits atop the worldwide market for combined BI, analytics and performance management software in 2010, Gartner reports. Oracle, SAS Institute, IBM and Microsoft follow.



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Beth Schultz

Beth Schultz , contributing editor, has more than two decades of experience as an IT writer and editor. You can find her work at a number of leading IT publications, where she writes on a variety of topics including cloud computing, mobility, network/systems management and security. Find her Linkedin profile here or e-mail her here.


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