While data visualization capabilities used to be a key differentiator for business intelligence providers, now vendors must deliver the advanced intelligence and machine learning capabilities that ordinary business users can make or run the risk of becoming irrelevant.
Gartner , a research and consulting firm founded in 1979 and based in Stamford, Connecticut, published its Magic Quadrant for Analytics and Business Intelligence Platforms on February 15. The report, published annually in February, rates analytics vendors based on their completeness and vision of execution ability, then uses these two metrics to rank each vendor on a chart with full view showing the X axis and ability to execute the Y axis Place.
Each of the four resulting quadrants is named, with the upper right quadrant bearing the Leaders Quadrant.
This year Gartner only rated Microsoft, Tableau and Qlik as strong enough, both in terms of the completeness of the vision as well as the ability to execute in order to be classified as a leader. Of the three, however, Microsoft Power BI was rated best in both points and is therefore on its own in the graphic, far higher in the upper right quadrant than even the closest competitors.
Recently, Rita Sallam, a respected VP Gartner Analyst, Magic Quadrant 2021 for Analytics and Business Intelligence Platforms.
In an interview, she explained how the criteria for ranking vendors have evolved over the past few years to highlight the advanced analytics capabilities, and what sets Microsoft, Tableau and Qlik apart from the rest of the package.
She also talked about one vendor – AWS – whose QuickSight platform is relatively new but has the potential to gain market share and the challenges it faces Smaller vendors may be faced with how quickly the more established vendors can now react to new innovations and incorporate them into their own gen platforms.
How did the criteria for rating research providers change from last year when Gartner compiled this year’s Magic Quadrant?
Rita Sallam: Every year we optimize the criteria for the Magic Quadrant so that they match what we see in the market. In the past few years we have seen what we call augmented analytics – essentially machine learning and AI-assisted insight generation to support a less skilled user, certainly an analyst, but also an information consumer. Extension to most of the BI / Analytics providers we cover. Five, six or seven years ago, interactive visualization was the main differentiator alongside data preparation. Now we see that virtually all vendors who run dashboards and popular chart types are starting to see these features growing, and they can do this for a wide range of data sources. The differentiation now lies in the extent to which these providers include the extension, not only to generate knowledge, but also to prepare data. We’re seeing a differentiation in the extent to which providers incorporate natural language to allow for easier ad hoc analysis and automated insights to explain the results to users with the aim of making them easier and simpler for a user A wider range of people across the company to benefit from insights they would otherwise need from an analyst or a more experienced user to obtain.
Sallam: Over the past five years we’ve started this idea Introduce advanced analysis in the Magic Quadrant and first evaluate these features from a vision perspective. Now you can see that the critical features we highlight really highlight things like automated insights, natural language queries, and natural language generation. In combination with this, we also see this idea of data storytelling. Increasingly, we’re seeing automated data storytelling, which is a combination of automated insight generation, anomaly detection, and query and natural language generation so that you can develop automated, dynamic data stories. We’re even seeing more manual packaging of interactive visualizations with annotations to make it more compelling and easier for information consumers to understand the insights presented to them. We have obviously been talking about cloud as the main criterion we are evaluating from a product perspective for some time, and we have certainly seen an acceleration over the past year due to COVID-19 in the intentions of companies to move their analytics and BI to the cloud as well their data management.
These are the most important changes. We’ve been evaluating these things for the past few years, but I think the focus in terms of differentiation from a product capability perspective has really shifted to what we call consumer-centric experiences that help an information consumer become more important. The providers with these functions are more differentiated. If users cannot access and use insights, the business impact of deploying one of these platforms is ultimately smaller.
What does Gartner see among the individual Microsoft vendors that have separated Power BI from the rest of the group of analytics platforms?
Sallam: It’s a combination of things. In addition to the product itself, the ability to execute measures things like market dynamics, perceived differentiation, overall execution and customer experience. Microsoft excelled in all of these areas. Microsoft has really benefited from the global pandemic too. I hate to say that every provider actually benefited [from the pandemic], but there have been winners and losers during this global disruption. We see that Microsoft continues to close functionality gaps in Power BI. Microsoft has always competed to be good enough in the past, but their « good enough » is very close to any of the other best-of-breed products on the market. Microsoft is even rolling out capabilities that leverage the broader Azure data management and data science / machine learning stack to create a really powerful end-to-end workflow for companies that choose an Azure stack. They have very strong capabilities for the transition from data management to analytics and BI to data science / machine learning. All functions have functions such as querying natural languages and generating natural languages.
And then of course you have price / performance ratio. In times of economic downturn, companies are trying to streamline their tools and consolidate onto fewer tools, and price / value becomes a more important purchase criterion, and Microsoft has almost reset market expectations for at least license prices. They have become very attractive to companies that have either Power BI via Office 365 licenses or a company license via Microsoft. With more people working remotely during the global pandemic, many organizations live in teams, and Microsoft has stepped up efforts to integrate Power BI into teams. This was another positive driver for Microsoft’s increasing momentum.
As for the other two market leaders, although Gartner did not rate Tableau and Qlik as highly as Power BI, what sets the first Tableau apart from the other analytics providers in the Magic Quadrant?
Sallam: Tableau is still the gold standard for visual exploration. You still have a strong installed base of users who are usually very attached to Tableau and very enthusiastic about using Tableau. They benefit from a much expanded Salesforce sales team and continue to improve their data preparation and data management capabilities, expanding the end-to-end capabilities of Tableau. You still have one of the better analytics user experiences for analysts who want to do in-depth visual exploration, and while these features are becoming increasingly standardized, I’d say Tableaus still differentiate them. And usually when we see [short lists of potential organization vendors] we see mostly Microsoft and Tableau and then to a lesser extent Qlik. Tableau is still one of the top vendors being considered the most. The analytics user experience is considered the gold standard. Customers love it. Salesforce has expanded its market opportunities and continues to improve the product and add some of these advanced features.
Sallam: Qlik continues to have some significant differentiators in terms of its associative engine, which has been a central part of the product from the start. They expanded that with an AI extension and a natural language query. They provide very powerful context-sensitive insights, suggestions, and advanced analysis. I think they offered multi-cloud capabilities very early on to manage your Qlik deployment across multiple clouds. They are building and expanding their SaaS offering, which is relatively new. We saw that they made some innovative acquisitions by acquiring a bot provider. You have expanded into data management. This is a major trend that some cloud vendors like Microsoft have driven where you have this end-to-end offering of workflow – they have made an interesting acquisition in a company called Blendr that could potentially expand their capability To integrate workflows into applications that can be created with Qlik. On the positive side, they continue to have a strong end-to-end product and flexible deployment. The things they’ve been thought leaders at include an emphasis on data literacy and investing in education to help clients succeed with their data and analytics initiatives.
Some of the challenges are that for any vendor, its Name is not Microsoft or Tableau, it is difficult to be taken into account in this market. A challenge for Qlik – and most other vendors – is to even get into this market, where we see the trend towards consolidation and value for money. And what doesn’t help is that Qlik is seen as more expensive in relation to resetting Microsoft’s set price / value expectation.
An analytics provider Gartner didn’t include in last year’s report, this year debuted as a niche provider, however, is AWS – what has changed with QuickSight?
Sallam: QuickSight has been on the market since 2015. So it’s not a new product. Much like Microsoft, Amazon’s endgame is getting more data and doing math on AWS. You have been expanding QuickSight since 2015 and are increasingly trying to close functional gaps. In this price / value market, however, a pricing model is very convincing. It’s on par, or possibly even less, than Microsoft. As more companies may move their data to AWS and view QuickSight as a native AWS analytics solution, it is increasingly included in short lists. Given this combination of things, there are many potential options for them. Amazon has potential, but it still faces some challenges. One of them is that they are still missing some areas of core functionality, such as: B. the manageability of data preparation, compared to certainly leading companies and other competitors. You don’t get the benefit of things like business application integration that Microsoft has with Office 365 or even Looker with the Google Office Suite. But like Microsoft, which is Azure-centric, QuickSight is AWS-centric. As a result, companies that have standardized AWS are considering it much more often than in the past.
They’re also another vendor that has benefited from COVID, and that’s why we’re seeing them in the quadrant this year.
Who were some of the vendors who made the biggest positive gains in terms of their completeness of vision and their ability to execute?
Sallam: Frankly, the vendor that has made the biggest leap is Microsoft, as we discussed earlier. This is really the one who has benefited the most from macro conditions and has continued to perform excellently in terms of current functionality and strong vision. Google with Looker continues to improve. They added things like natural language queries, and much like Tableau, Looker benefits from being sold to Google Cloud Platform. You have a much larger sales team than when Looker was a stand-alone company and now that the acquisition has been completed the integration is starting to show benefits. You have had a net positive benefit. And I think we saw Domo really take a positive step. We’ve seen a really big improvement in the advanced features in Domo, and we’ve found that despite the price / value pressure, they have some resilience as customers genuinely appreciate and are willing to appreciate the package of features they offer pay a premium for these capabilities.
Are there any vendors that went down and were rated significantly lower in 2021 than in 2020?
Sallam: We see all the companies in the Magic Quadrant are expanding and continuing to expand these enhanced capabilities Run interesting roadmaps to varying degrees, but most of them face significant headwinds and the price / value pressures we talked about after the global pandemic and at a time when the core functionality around basic visualization is becoming increasingly standardized . It takes quite a high value delivery to really justify the premium pricing.
Are there any startup vendors Gartner didn’t include in this year’s Magic Quadrant that have the potential to catch on?Sallam: This is still a really interesting room. There are a number of smaller vendors that are startups that are not in the Magic Quadrant and that may have interesting user experiences when it comes to dynamic data storytelling, and I think it will be interesting to see how those look In comparison, smaller providers can claim a new two or three years in the face of the difficult environment. In the past, companies like Tableau and Qlik could no longer be just very small vendors, they could challenge the whole market, transform the whole market and become big companies, but I think it’s tougher for these smaller companies now. It will be interesting to see how innovation actually takes place in this area. Will it come from smaller vendors turning into large companies, or is it these established vendors who will quickly follow innovation? We have seen that they are not sitting on their laurels, but rather see the disturbances and they quickly have innovations on board? This tends to suppress these smaller vendors’ ability to grow big.
It will be really interesting to see how innovation continues to manifest itself and who is driving it. I think it’s still coming from smaller vendors, but who actually wins is an open question, and that’s why it’s such an exciting market to keep following.
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