MSBI : BI # 70 : Business Intelligence – Tools & Theory # 62 : Implementing Business Intelligence #4 : BI Products & Vendor

Hi Folks,

This post is part of Series Business Intelligence – Tools & Theory

Currently running topic for this series is listed as below :

Series Business Intelligence – Tools & Theory

>>Chapter 1 : Business Intelligence an Introduction

>>Chapter 2 : Business Intelligence Essentials

>>Chapter 3 : Business Intelligence Types

>>Chapter 4 : Architecting the Data

>>Chapter 5 : Introduction of Data Mining

>>Chapter 6 : Data Mining Techniques

>>Chapter 7 : Introduction to Data Warehousing

>>Chapter 8 : Different Ways of Data Warehousing

>>Chapter 9 : Knowledge Management

>>Chapter 10 : Data Extraction

>>Chapter 11 : Business Intelligence Life Cycle

>>Chapter 12 : Business Intelligence User Model

>>Chapter 13 : Business Intelligence Issues and Challenges

>>Chapter 14 : Business Intelligence Strategy and Roadmap

>>Chapter 15 : Implementing Business Intelligence<You are here>

Continuing from my previous post on this series, If you have missed any link please visit link below

We are going to Cover the Following Points in this article

  • BI Products and Vendor

BI Products and Vendor

There are different BI products and vendors which are available in the market. According to the use, the BI products can be categorized as Data storage and management, information delivery, query, reporting and analysis and performance management which are described as follows:

Data Storage and Management

A good scalable data storage and management solution is the core of better business intelligence. To keep up with the growing volumes of data, there is need for flexibility and trustworthy options to help store, manage, and secure it. The data storage and management platform can help to deliver accurate, timely information which contains the details the organization requires to move the business forward.

· Data Warehousing


· Data Quality

· Data Mining

Information Delivery

Even the best, most appropriate BI information will go unused if it can not be accessed in a timely and a convenient manner. The BI solutions make the

information to be easily accessed and understood across all levels of the business.

· Dashboards

· Portals

· Managed Reporting

· Visualization

Query, Reporting and Analysis

BI solutions help to empower the users by providing them quick access to the significant structured and non-structured BI information found in systems across the organization.

· Ad Hoc Reporting

· Production Reporting

· OLAP Analysis

Performance Management

A total performance management cycle should be included deep and up-to- the-minute monitoring and analytics. This challenge is answered by the performance management by giving flexible, easy-to-use tools which can help everyone across the organization to make informed decisions that align with the companywide objectives and strategy which are:

· Score carding

· Dash boarding

· Analyzing

15.6.1 The Big Four Business Intelligence vendors

Though they are not pure-play business intelligence vendors the IBM, Microsoft, Oracle Corp. and SAP AG own two-thirds of the BI market because they have optimized their BI platforms to work well with the relevant enterprise and information management applications. The integrated approach along with the fact that many enterprises already have the vendor’s ERP and the information management applications in place is influencing the customers to standardize on one of the BI platforms.

The Pure-play and the niche vendors are introducing interfaces that is more interesting to the masses, along with the technology such as the interactive visualization tools, scenario modeling and data mashups, which can change the way the information, is collected and analyzed.

Another factor helping the niche and the pure-play vendor’s that push into the enterprise is the propensity of the customers to introduce more than one BI platform to meet the different business needs. As of yet, these trends are not lessening the Big Four’s domination, as is showed by the BI strategy plans of the many conference attendees.

At home, the auto and the life insurance company based in Canada, funding is dropping for BI efforts, forcing the BI team to prove the Return On Investment of its software, said Mark Liu, the company’s BI architect. "We’ve spent tens of millions on BI and need to consolidate down to one system," he said, adding that the choice most likely would come down to one of the major vendors.

BI platform integration across the enterprise is not an easy task but the rating of the Big Four vendor’s BI features and strategy gives the organizations a few points to consider. Here’s the rundown of how the vendors stack up:

· IBM: There is a reason why IBM is still called “Big Blue”. Its revenue in

2009 was 950 crores, and IBM has no gaps to fill in its BI platform. However, there are few pros and cons and they are:

Pros: IBM has ample money to invest in the acquisitions and also in launching new services: One is the Business Analytics and Optimization Services Group, which was introduced this year. This group was started with

4,000 consultants and is investing extensively in BI and has the ability to have a grip in the space that achieves into Corporate Performance Management (CPM). In addition, IBM also invested in predictive modeling and data mining with the acquisition of SPSS Inc., increasing the stake for the ability to give more forward-looking BI. IBM is the hands-down leader as far as the business process management and data quality and integration, as compared to the other BI vendors.

Cons: IBM does not make the ERP applications which may put it at a disadvantage in the organizations which have other vendor’s enterprise applications in place. This leads to questions of how the IBM is being evaluated in the SAP or Oracle shops. Still, IBM tells that it is doing well in these environments over the last year and it is not affecting the BI growth.

· Oracle: The vendor’s Siebel and Hyperion products are put together strongly, and the platform is called the Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition suite. Integration is strong between this platform and the vendor’s enterprise applications and the middleware stack. Most of the conference attendees also use the Oracle’s Database Management System (DBMS). Oracle has one of the most complete stacks which integrate well from the applications.

Pros: The vendor has a stronghold on the DBMS market which continues to fill out the data warehouse offerings and the latest of this is the Exadata V2. Oracle clearly has a long history with very big data warehouses with solid mixed workloads. Exadata has made a big difference over the last one and a half years to put them in the leadership position. Oracle is also addressing the data quality and the integration gaps in the BI platform with the purchase of the Silver Creek Systems Inc.

Cons: In spite of being late to the data-quality and the data-integration game Oracle has made a minor data integration tool acquisition over the years which include Synopsis SA where the acquisition of the Sun Microsystems remains a huge undertaking. Right now the big issue is the integration of the Sun into the company which is going to be a major effort for Oracle.

· Microsoft: The software vendor is taking a very common approach to the customer penetration with its BI platform: low-cost bundling. The BI abilities are being built into and across many of the product lines including the SQL Server, SharePoint and Office.

Pros: The SQL Server comprises of reporting, Extract, Transform, and Load (ETL) and Online Analytical Processing data mining. The dashboards, scorecards and social software enterprise search if the abilities are being included to the SharePoint 2010. The Office Excel now has higher ad hoc analysis, along with the Power Pivot, which gives the users the power to collect data to the desktop from various sources. The Microsoft’s BI platform is especially strong for the production reporting for the organizations with a Microsoft-centric infrastructure.

Cons: Microsoft is leaving the budgeting and the planning up to the partners since it dropped those capabilities from PerformancePoint Server which is not necessarily a drawback. As far as the availability of the data quality

tools, the vendor is missing in action in spite of the acquisition of the Zoomix a few years ago. The low-cost data warehouse offerings have catapulted the Microsoft into a leadership position, but not at the high end of the market more than 5 terabytes to 10 terabytes, she said. Microsoft is planning to begin the SQL Server 2008 R2 Parallel to the Data Warehouse with huge parallel processing, as a result of the acquisition of the DATAllegro Inc.

· SAP: The vendor has a desirable customer base which is running the huge workloads on its BI and CPM platforms, said Gartner analyst Bill Hostmann. It is the customer base which is posing some problems for the SAP. Many customers buy the products from SAP because the integration across its product lines is easy. But is not the same for the existing customers of the SAP’s Business Objects BI platform and the Outlook soft CPM offering. Business Objects and Outlook soft customers tend to buy the best of breed and not an integrated stack. This separated sales strategy is a challenge for them.

Pros: SAP is creating the next-generation semantic layer into Business Objects, and is also exploring the in-memory database technology with its Net Weaver Business Warehouse Accelerator. SAP is actually bringing down some of the query performance on the business warehouse product to very good levels and to have to balance the innovations against the multiple product segments."

Cons: Since SAP has multiple product lines the customer support is still a problem. They have been at the low end in terms of the customer support and are putting a lot of focus on the customer support program to manage and regain the customer credibility and confidence in terms of support.

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