Sunday, December 20, 2009

BI Megatrends: Directions for Business Intelligence in 2010

Every year David Stodder, Research Fellow with Ventana Research and editor-at-large with Intelligent Enterprise writes a column on Business Intelligence Megatrends for the next year. This column looks back at what has happened in the last year and what he expects to happen in the next year. This year David also presented his thoughts to the December meeting of the SDForum Business Intelligence SIG. David talked about many topics, here I will just cover what he said about the big players.

Two years ago there was a huge wave of consolidation in Business Intelligence when the major independent BI vendors were bought up by IBM, SAP and Oracle, who along with Microsoft are the major enterprise software vendors. In the last year SAP has integrated Business Objects with SAP software to the point that SAP is now ready to threaten Oracle.

Consolidation has not finished. In 2009, two important mergers were announced. Firstly IBM bought SPSS to round out its analytics capabilities. This move threatens SAS which is in the same market, however SAS is a larger and more successful company that SPSS, also SAS is a private company which means that it does not necessarily need to respond to the pressures to consolidate.

The other merger is Oracle's offer to buy Sun and the effect that has on Oracle's relationship with HP. HP and Sun are bitter rivals for enterprise hardware, and HP was the launch partner for Oracle Exadata, the high end Oracle database. Now Oracle is pushing Sun hardware with Exadata, leaving HP in the lurch. David pointed out that there are plenty of up and coming companies with scalable database systems for HP to buy up. That list includes Aster Data Systems, GreenPlum, Infobright, ParAccell and Vertica. Expect to see something happen in this area in 2010.

Of the three major database vendors, Microsoft has the weakest offering, despite SQL Server 2008. However Microsoft does have the advantage of the Excel spreadsheet which remains the most used BI reporting tool. A new version of Excel is due in 2010. Also Microsoft is making a determined push in the direction of collaboration tools with SharePoint. As we heard at the BI SIG November meeting, collaboration is an important new direction for enterprise software capabilities.