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2/3/2010
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SAP Questions Gartner BI Magic Quadrant Ranking

The report on business intelligence platforms places SAP behind Oracle, Microsoft, IBM, SAS, and Microstrategy on ability to execute.

According to Aman, SAP BusinessObjects has gone to great lengths to improve service support and he believes perception has yet to catch up with reality. Noting research that shows that that it takes up to seven positive interactions to overcome one bad customer service experience, Aman said survey's such as Gartner's are "a rear-view mirror."

"We're now measuring customer feedback after every support interaction, and we've shown continuous improvement in speed and quality of response over the last year," he said.

Recapping the MQ leaders quadrant, Oracle and Microsoft led on ability to execute while IBM Cognos and SAP BusinessObjects led on completeness of vision. The three other vendors in the quadrant where SAS, MicroStrategy and Information Builders, all of which issued the usual congratulatory press releases highlighting their achievements (SAS even included free access to Gartner's MQ report). QlikTech, TIBCO Spotfire and Tableau where in the "challengers" quadrant, reflecting high marks for ability to execute.

In its extensive commentary on each vendor, the MQ report on BI included more than a few "cautions" about each vendor. For example, the report cited "emerging signals that IBM's ability to continue to sell its BI platform into firms with application stack-centric sourcing policies may be limited... IBM does not have business applications and does not share the same operational BI vision or capabilities of Oracle and SAP."

The report cautioned that In comparison with competitors, Microsoft's BI vision "remains more narrow and focused on developers, reporting functionality and Microsoft Excel, coupled with Microsoft SharePoint functionality." And on Oracle, the report observed that "Oracle lags behind the competition in introducing new and innovative solutions, such as the ability to integrate interactive visualization, search and collaboration." It also noted Oracle's lack of an in-memory architecture for OLAP analysis, something most competitors have introduced.

Actuate was the lone open-source BI vendor in the Gartner MQ for BI. Sallam said Jaspersoft and Pentaho met Gartner's threshold of having more than $15 million in revenue, but they were not included because fewer than 30 customers responded to the qualifying customer survey. Sallam said the popularity of the open-source BIRT standard developed by Acutate led to higher response levels for that vendor.

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