In a way, this runs against the grain of existing technology landscape and our history with successful innovations. Maybe that is why we love the idea of the cloud itself?
It’s too big to own: One big reason to doubt a single dominant force in the cloud is that it feels like owning the Internet. Even Cisco with its strengths can’t make such a claim. Perhaps the cloud is the perfect market, where the barriers of entry are low enough that continual evolution will occur.
It’s a movement, not a layer: Another argument against the cloud having a dominant player is its fuzzy definition. There are many parts and pieces to it, and it’s not clear today what it would mean to “win” the cloud computing market.
Portability will keep vendors in check: If customers demand solutions where they can move from vendor to vendor freely, it will impact the landscape. Companies with cloud solutions in the marketplace could be required by these customers to remove barriers to moving data and services between different entities. Additionally, standards and best practices may emerge that allow companies and individuals to move freely between providers. In this world, it will become a fluid market that prevents vendor lock and promotes pricing and trust as brand differentiators.
There are a few reasons why the nirvana of BI supplier and supply chain visibility is most certainly a noble objective, but one that is unlikely to ever fully take hold outside of a few very expensive, highly customized implementations. For one, BI tools (especially those we think of, which are tied to an underlying data warehouse) mimic the inflexible characteristics of the ERP systems, which generate the data that we need to analyze. In other words, once you “pour the enterprise-data concrete” so to speak, such systems become rigid and unbending and make it difficult to rapidly adopt new data sources into an analysis. Perhaps there’s a new third-party data enrichment that you want to add (one not supported or resold by your BI vendor), or maybe you’ve acquired a new facility from a supplier that is running a different ERP environment. Good luck rapidly adding these new data sources into any BI model.
Incidentally, this blog completes its third year of existence today. Tons of things have changed around me professionally and personally. My belief in what BI could do to change the world hasn’t changed a bit.
Three years and tons of hours of dealing with data growth, data issues and design challenges has only increased my interest towards the art & science of Business Intelligence. Three Cheers!
P.S – Here’s the first post made on June 21, 2006(a rainy day in seattle then and now).
In the “Advanced Analytics” camp, IDC’s stats show that Microsoft, SPSS and SAS were the fastest-growing vendors among the top five with 20.0%, 17.8% and 15.2% sales increases, respectively (see chart at left). Visual Numerics grew 9.3% and Teradata treaded water with 3.0% growth. Mind you, SAS and SPSS are in a league of their own with $440 million and $205 million in revenue, respectively, while all the others were in the Single-A, sub-$50 million ballpark.
SAS has plenty to crow about in IDC’s stats, so it has once again purchased rights to distribute an excerpt of the report as a free download. Unfortunately, this year’s excerpt only covers the top-five vendors in each category (last year’s excerpt covered 21 BI tools vendors and 13 analytics vendors). If you’re prepared to pay $3,500, you can purchase the complete “Worldwide Business Intelligence Tools 2007 Vendor Shares” report, which details sales among the top-15 vendors in BI in 2007 — a list that adds MicroStrategy, Information Builders, Actuate, QlikTech, Panorama Software, IBM (without Cognos), and TIBCO to the companies mentioned above.
Market consolidation has removed most of the fear, uncertainty and doubt that may have held back large organizations from choosing a single preferred vendor (If you have chosen SAP as your applications standard and you have a mix of Business Objects and Cognos, which way are you going to go?)