BI at Center of Information-driven Initiatives, Gartner Reports

BI is both sexy and mainstream: last year, spending on BI increased at a double-digit rate, easily outpacing spending in other IT areas.

As the latest market research from Gartner Inc. makes clear, business intelligence (BI) is big business. The worldwide market for BI, analytics, and performance management (PM) software reached $10.5 billion last year, the firm says. That's a double-digit increase (almost 14 percent) over 2009.

Gartner's tally reflects the extent to which BI has become a mainstream discipline. Make that a sexy mainstream discipline: last year, for example, spending on BI easily outpaced spending in other IT segments, Gartner reports.

"BI spending has far surpassed IT budget growth overall for several years, and it is clear that BI continues to be a technology at the center of information-driven initiatives in organizations," said Dan Sommer, principal research analyst with Gartner, in a statement.

Revenue-wise, a Gang of Four is strong in the BI market. IBM Corp., Microsoft Corp., Oracle Corp., and SAP AG generated almost 60 percent of BI, analytic, and PM revenues last year, according to Gartner. SAS Institute Inc., for its part, controlled just over 13 percent of BI market revenues -- more than both IBM and Microsoft, and only slightly less than Oracle.

Sales of BI platform offerings accounted for the bulk ($6.7 billion) of sales, with demand for corporate performance management (CPM) software generating close to $2.17 billion in revenues. IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, and SAP control almost two-thirds of both sub-segments, according to Gartner. SAS is tops among purveyors of analytic applications and performance management tools. This segment accounted for almost $1.65 billion in sales and -- significantly -- grew 17.7 percent between 2009 and 2010.

This far outpaced growth in either the BI or CPM segments, Gartner reports.

The rest of the BI pie -- some 28 percent -- is shared by the likes of Information Builders Inc. (IBI), MicroStrategy Inc., and other long-time players. Gartner notes that the BI Gang of Four -- along with, to a lesser extent, a few of what might be called the "BI Heavies" -- are pulling the market along with them. "Vendors aggressively market their capabilities in this area, so revenue growth is as much a function of vendor push as a demand pull," said Sommer.

In spite of the outsized presence of both SAS and the Gang of Four, Gartner sees a big -- and highly variegated -- BI pie. "There is ongoing BI tools consolidation in the IT-department, while, paradoxically, a new wave of lighter footprint data discovery tools and analytic applications are proliferating in business units. Business users care less about who they buy from; they want domain-specific functionality and usability that meet their needs," said the Gartner release.

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a technology writer with 20 years of experience. His writing has focused on business intelligence, data warehousing, and analytics for almost 15 years. Swoyer has an abiding interest in tech, but he’s particularly intrigued by the thorny people and process problems technology vendors never, ever want to talk about. You can contact him at

Must Read Articles