IBM is top ranked in enterprise BI… but does that matter?
The competition among enterprise business intelligence (BI) platform vendors is fierce. But there’s more evidence than ever that IBM is a market leader. For example, look at a new BARC Score report from the Business Application Research Center. This report “analyzes the strengths and challenges of the leading vendors that offer beneficial value to customers wanting to implement a ‘modern’ enterprise BI platform.” And in it, the IBM Analytics Enterprise BI platform* was awarded the highest market execution score of all the vendor platforms evaluated. This top ranking in market execution is based on factors such as customer satisfaction and product strategy. Furthermore, IBM was also rated as having one of the most functionally rich and capable BI portfolios in the industry—ahead of competitors such as SAP, Qlik, Microsoft and Tableau. Those two ratings together put IBM squarely in the “Market Leaders” segment.
This is obviously great news for IBM. But I want to talk about another feature of the BARC report. It reveals an important truth about the BI platform market—one that you may not expect.
New edition, same result
Let me back up, because some of this may sound familiar. A few months ago, I wrote about “Why software ratings in BARC reports matter to you” and cited an earlier version of this same BARC report. The “why this matters” of this topic has not changed. I said that the technical capabilities of a BI portfolio are necessary for success, but not sufficient. After all, the most capable software in the world is useless if the people who need it can’t figure out how to use it. That’s why I was so happy to report that IBM Analytics software had been rated highly in factors that matter to users: business value, customer satisfaction and ease of use. These ratings should matter to you, and IBM has maintained them in this new edition.
In this new edition, BARC hasn’t placed any vendor in the “Dominators” category—which won’t be a surprise to anyone familiar with the state of the BI market. But in BARC’s evaluation, IBM is close, due to the following strengths:
- Extensive product portfolio
- Broad capabilities for data mining and advanced analytics
- Visual business user-oriented data discovery and cognitive BI
- Multiple deployment options – cloud, on-premises and hybrid
- Continued investment and innovation in BI, advanced analytics and data management
- Established and expansive partner community
So the BARC rating might matter to you, since, as BARC puts it: “a modern enterprise BI platform is an indispensable backbone of any enterprise that wants to succeed in adapting to the digitalization of markets.”
But BARC also offers an unexpected insight that adds some nuance and puts the portfolio rankings in a business context.
Choose a good portfolio…and then what?
These guides are a common sight in the BI industry and many other areas of the software-and-services ecosystem; they distill a complex and changing landscape into one metric – “closest to the top right corner is best.” It’s easy to focus on who “won” or “lost.” But I think that focus is misleading (despite IBM’s high ranking). There is another powerful factor that’s easily overlooked. The BARC authors write:
Besides buying a modern enterprise BI and analytics platform, organizations should have a proper BI strategy that goes well beyond an architecture blueprint to include non-technical and emerging business user-oriented requirements, alignment with corporate strategy, organizational models, outcome-based priority settings and a proper roadmap.
BARC themselves are saying that BI success depends on more than just selecting the right tools—you need to have an effective strategy and a vendor with a strategic vision. Fortunately, IBM offers more than a strong enterprise BI portfolio; we offer an analytics vision, unmatched analytics services, data expertise and global reach to help with virtually any implementation or use case.
A strong portfolio is great. We’re glad BARC has recognized ours, and I bet most other vendors on that chart wish they could change places with IBM.
But that’s not everything
So, how valuable is a platform at the top of the Enterprise BI and Analytics platform rankings? Not valuable at all, unless that platform is backed by strategic wisdom. Unlike many other BI vendors, IBM can offer both great software products and decades of experience—a deep-seated wisdom that’s built into our products and available through our people. That level of institutional wisdom is tough to rank, but it’s vital to the success of “modern” BI and analytics.
To learn more, check out the full BARC report.
Learn more about IBM Business Analytics here.