Category Archives: IBM

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Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for BI and Analytics

Gartner

Right from the name change of Gartner’s usual Magic Quadrant for BI to include analytics system, this year’s report has a lot to cheer about. There is more clear definitions on what makes up Business Intelligence and Analytics systems. Its broken down into 3 categories: Integration, Infomartion Delivery and Analysis.

The image is self descriptive and more info on each vendor is available as apart of this 35 page report.

Gartner – Worldwide BI and Analytics Market up 4%

“Even though growth was nowhere near the levels of 2008, and by no means immune to the recession, BI showed that it is not as cyclical as many other software areas, recording healthy growth in one of the toughest years recorded in software history,” said Dan Sommer, senior research analyst at Gartner. “The dominant vendors continued to put BI, analytics and PM front and center of their messaging. Organizations largely continued their BI projects, hoping that resulting transparency and insight would enable cost-cuts and improved productivity and agility. However, there is no doubt pressure has intensified on deal sizes and price points on new sales throughout the year.”

The top five vendors continued to make up most of the market with 71 percent market share. “The large vendors held their own. As IT is consolidating, BI spending often went to a few strategic vendors. However, the application-centric vendors didn’t have the same up-selling momentum as they did in 2008,” said Mr. Sommer.

More here and the full paper can be reached here.

Is IBM’s Blue Insight a model for your private BI cloud?

There’s been a general outcry lately about how vendor marketing organizations are abusing the cloud by force-fitting many new and existing products into the cloud computing mold.

Still, some cloud-like things actually do fit without the aid of a crow bar. A case in point is IBM’s Smart Analytics Cloud.

The Smart Analytics Cloud is a solution set and reference model based on an IBM-internal Business Intelligence (BI) project code-named Blue Insight, which IBM claims to be the largest private cloud built to date. Blue insight has allowed IBM to eliminate multiple BI systems that were all performing essentially the same extract-transform-load (ETL) processes for different user groups.

More here

The 2009 Value Index for Business Intelligence

Ventana Research today introduces its 2009 Value Index for Business Intelligence, the second of a new category of quantified, research-based Indexes. This new Value Index provides research-based metrics that will enable organizations to ascertain the value to them of existing and future business intelligence technologies, systems and tools for business and IT in a simple and easy-to-use manner. Using the Value Index, businesses will be able to meet the challenge of evaluating vendors and their products and making choices based on an understanding of how well the offerings meet their needs.

The Value Index is the result of more than a decade of analysis of technology suppliers’ products. The methodology used to produce the Value Index for Business Intelligence evaluates in detail aspects of product functionality and suitability-to-task as well as the effectiveness of vendor support for the buying process and customer assurance. The Index represents the value offered by a vendor and its products, using both a clear and accessible graphic representation in thermometer form and a precise numerical index. Those technology vendors earning the highest Hot Vendor classification are those that Ventana Research certifies best represent buyer value based on a thorough evaluation and audit – that is, based on research and verifiable facts. The Value Index is not just a selection of “cool” products, and rather than merely representing a vendor on a four-quadrant chart, the Index provides a specific thermometer reading with a series of component metrics for a technology buyer to consider. Organizations can use the Value Index by determining their priorities and then consulting the Index to determine which vendors best meet those needs.

The 2009 Value Index for Business Intelligence indicates that the company delivering the highest value on an overall weighted evaluation basis is Information Builders, which earned the “Hot Vendor” rating, followed by IBM Cognos Software, Infor, Softscape and arcplan, all of which earned the “Warm” rating. Drilling down, the Value Index evaluation of product functionality using the Ventana Research Business Intelligence methodology identified (in order) Information Builders, Infor, IBM Cognos Software, Actuate, Symphony-Metreo, Microsoft and arcplan as Hot Vendors in this category.

From Ventana Research’s Press Release.

BI market consolidation: What does it mean for you?

A must read article for BI entusiasts on the recent consolidation of the BI industry. Well researched and informative article by Stuart Lauchlan, MyCustomer.com.

Still, it’s encouraging that the BI market is still showing signs of life after a period of considerable turmoil and consolidation over the past two years with IBM, Oracle and SAP swallowing up Business Objects, Cognos and Hyperion Solutions. Since March 2007, the three enterprise giants have dished out $15 billion to bolster their BI credentials. Oracle offered $S3.3 billion for Hyperion, SAP pitched $6.8 billion for Business Objects while picking up Cognos cost IBM $5 billion.

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Another development is the blurring of boundaries as BI starts to encroach on other technology areas. For example, Forrester Research cites the merging of BI and search technologies to provide business people with better context and information to make daily decisions. “As search and BI get ever closer, the lines could eventually blur to the point of simply going away,” said Forrester in its ‘Search + BI = Unified Information Access’ report. “This will help bridge the artificial system boundaries between structured data and unstructured content. It will not only affect the interfaces we use to search for, discover, analyse, and report on what we need to know, but help us learn more about what we don’t know.”

This is one of the immediate advantages of convergence between BI and search – the ability to discover things you didn’t know you didn’t know. Forrester noted: “As search gets more powerful and begins to understand the meaning behind unstructured text, entity extraction and other linguistic analysis methods will be able to be used to reveal unforeseen and highly illuminating connections among documents or between documents and data.”

Small Insurance Companies Get On-Demand BI

A trio of IT vendors, including IBM, insurance software provider Sapiens Americas, and Millbrook, an IT consultancy to the insurance industry, have teamed up to deliver an on-demand business intelligence (BI) offering for small and mid size insurance companies. The offering, called Sapiens INSIGHT for Business Intelligence, will be based on IBM’s Cognos BI software, and provide smaller outfits an array of BI capabilities normally available only to larger companies.

For small and mid size property and casualty (P&C) insurance companies, the capability to analyze data effectively and efficiently can make the difference between surviving in today’s competitive environment, and succumbing to market forces. However, smaller P&C providers typically can’t afford the multi-million-dollar price tags that sophisticated BI implementations carry.

IBM, Sapiens, and Millbrook are looking to address that functionality gap with Sapiens INSIGHT for Business Intelligence, a new hosted BI offering that aims to deliver enterprise-class BI capabilities at a SMB price, and within SMB implementation timeframes.

Read more from IT Jungle.

Breakthroughs in Analytics – Part 3

Here’s a follow-up to the previously posted series, Breakthroughs in Analytics, from Tech News World.

In the latest update, Ned Madden talks about the various tools and vendors in the Analytics domain. Read more.

Today’s software packages are much more focused on the actual application of analytical approaches to specific types of decision problems and specific types of industries, according to Anthony Milano, GMI’s VP of professional services.

“In the old days, tools were typically very general purpose in nature,” Milano told TechNewsWorld. “Now, oftentimes, tools are much more focused on helping users solve specific types of problems in business verticals and industries.”

Vendors are even adapting their core analytical engines to specific needs by creating a packaged solution that includes a version of the engine, analytic models, processes, methodologies, add-ons and extensions that allow the product to solve a very specific need, Milano said.

“Importantly, this type of solution minimizes the amount of time required to solve the problem and makes it easier for the client to get the job done without requiring a deep topic expert,” he added. “In effect, these packaged solutions embed the expertise in the solution.”

Milano stressed the importance of analytics solutions that are provided under the rental model from an application service provider (ASP) as Software as a Service (SaaS).

“These software delivery models have proved to be very cost-effective and efficient for customers, particularly when all the costs of owning and installing your own software are understood,” he said.

Thoughts on Cognos 8.3

I had a chance to watch a Cognos 8.3 demo for evaluvation purposes. The Cognos Team had created a prototype cube for the demo. Having worked with Cognos for nearly 4 years at my previous assignment, this version of Cognos was completely new to me.

The version that I worked before Cognos EP Series 7. The latest version is Cognos 8.3 and there has been fundamanetal changes made to the UI as well as the architecture.

Here are some of the key improvements that I think are striking

- Metadata management has improved significantly. Instead of metadata being stored as a file, like the previous version(catalogs), they are now stored in the database, just like how Informatica stores them.

I wish Business Objects would also make metadata management as seamless as Cognos. File based metadata management will hit the file size limitations and then they cannot grow anymore.

- The client application’s UI has become simple and helps in faster authoring of reports.

- Their web interface is very intutive. With drill down/up capabilities, enterprises can now have business analysts do adhoc queries on the fly.

- Good integration of all the different tools into one big tool. Cognos used to have Impromptu, Powerplay and host of other tools. Now they all work as one Cognos tool. This could potentially make their prices high but it could help the enterprises with one BI tool solution and could also reduce licensing costs from various tools.

- Though I didn’t dig too much into their scorecarding tools, scorecard portlets is a cool concept.

Looks like Cognos 8.4 is at Beta and is expected to hit the markets soon.

IBM to offer BI via BlackBerry

Business Intelligence goes mobile with IBM planning to offer Cognos over Blackberry devices.

The Cognos program, which sells at a list price of $300 per user, allows customers to view real-time analytics on the state of their business on their BlackBerrys.

The computing giant has also introduced programs that allow BlackBerry users to quickly locate and communicate with colleagues with expertise in specific business areas.

More from Reuters.

Top 100 Most Influential Technology Vendors for 2008

You can check out the list of Top 100 Most Influential Technology Vendors for 2008 as anounced by the Aberdeen Group.

My takeaway was that the Top 4 vendors [Microsoft, Oracle, SAP and IBM] of this list are already biggies in the Business Intelligence world. And that’s another evidence that BI is the way to go in the coming years.