Another technology seeing increased demand is text mining, says Vesset, with applications blossoming in areas such as voice-of-the-customer analysis. Vendors including Business Objects, SAS and SPSS have responded with recent acquisitions and product releases aimed at combining text mining and data mining techniques. "The two camps of structured and unstructured data analysis remain very separate," says Vesset. "It's important for vendors to respond because if the products aren't there, it makes it harder for practitioners to invest in the technology."
Predicting steady demand, IDC's report concludes that "although the worldwide economy is experiencing a slowdown that is affecting overall IT spending, IDC does not expect a slowdown in the BI tools market similar to that of 2001-2003 [when growth slowed to the 2- to 7-percent range]."
Vesset says IDC has lowered its short-term forecasts "just a bit" in recent months, but he adds that the mainstreaming trend and the emergence of a new generation of BI-savvy business leaders will encourage long-term growth. "Babson, Bentley, Boston University, MIT and North Carolina State are just a few examples of schools that have been offering coursework and programs specifically around BI," he explains. And as these new leaders rise in the corporate ranks, "it signals an opportunity to ask for funding for the BI initiatives that may have been denied in the past."
An excerpted version of IDC's "Worldwide Business Intelligence Tools 2007 Vendor Shares" report covering top-five vendors Business Objects, an SAP Company; Cognos, an IBM Company; Oracle; Microsoft; and SAS is available at no charge (and with no registration required) courtesy of SAS (click here). The complete 20-page report available from IDC (for $3,500) also covers MicroStrategy, SPSS, Information Builders, Actuate, QlikTech, Panorama Software, IBM, Visual Numerics and TIBCO. IDC figures show that the top-10 BI vendors now control nearly 70 percent of the market, but Vesset says there are "dozens and dozens of smaller vendors that are doing interesting things, and the innovation is likely to come from these companies."