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Gartner’s Magic Quadrant: BI will weather the recession

Magic QuadrantKen Davenport, President of PerformanceG2, Inc.

Over the past 18 months the Corporate Performance Management industry has been marked by consolidation — with SAP buying Business Objects, Oracle purchasing Hyperion and Cognos being acquired by IBM.  The result is that pure-play BI and EP vendors have been absorbed by huge, multi-platform technology concerns.

Gartner, the noted technology analysts, published their well-known “Magic Quadrant” earlier this year.  The results show that each of the “Big three” — SAP, IBM and Oracle now have a place in the desired “upper right” quadrant, signifying visonary market leadership with strong execution abilities.

For companies that either have or plan on investing in BI/CPM technologies, having Cognos, Business Objects and Hyperion as a part of Fortune 500 companies is a comfort — particularly in this time of economic uncertainty.  Adding to this, Gartner expects that BI will be a growth area of IT during 2009:

“Gartner’s view is that BI platform revenue will be less affected by the economic downturn than some other technologies because of the heightened need to make better, fact-based decisions — BI is a vital competitive tool of increased importance in an environment where doing business more smartly, in order to maximize share of the reduced revenue in circulation, is a necessity.”

Though IT budgets will continue to contract, smart companies will continue to invest in systems that enhance efficiency and the quality of information available.  It times when headcount is shrinking, being able to do more with less will become an necessity.  Reinforcing this, Gartner expects that areas related to dashboards and scorecards — tools that enable companies to track performance — will proliferate:

“BI platforms are expanding their capabilities beyond traditional query, reporting and online analytical processing (OLAP) functionality, toward providing dashboards, scorecards and visualization as well. We expect innovation and growth to come from technologies that make it easier to build and consume BI applications (such as visualization, search, in-memory analytics, SaaS and service-oriented architecture [SOA]).”

Finally, we will see a continued embedding of financial management tools into analytics typically thought of as BI — such as Cognos’ TM1 will continue to grow:

“Areas that have traditionally been under corporate performance management (CPM), such as business planning and forecasting, are increasingly being embedded with BI capabilities. This, together with a trend of embedding analytics into business processes, will drive further investment in BI.”

All told, investments in CPM and BI technology should continue to pay dividends during this time of recession — enabling more effective decision-making at a time when every decision counts more than ever.

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