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BI market leaders revealed, consolidation predicted by IDC report

Business Objects retains its hold as the market share leader for BI, but Microsoft and database providers are closing in, according to a recent IDC report.

IDC released its latest report on the market share leaders for BI technology Wednesday, and once again Business Objects SA tops the list, though SAS Institute Inc. is gaining ground.

Business Objects, with dual headquarters in Paris and San Jose, Calif., had the biggest portion of the market in 2005 with a 13.9% share, according to IDC. It is followed by SAS at 10.2% and Cognos Inc. at 9.9%. Microsoft, which had a 6.2% share, grew the fastest from 2004 to 2005 by adding an additional 25.5% in license and maintenance.

The Framingham, Mass.-based research firm placed the worldwide market for license and maintenance of BI, defined as analytic and query reporting and analysis tools, at $5.7 billion in 2005, a growth of 11.5%.

The top vendors are also seeing increased competition from database providers like Redwood City, Calif.-based Oracle Corp., which increased its market share last year to 4.3%. With its acquisition of Siebel, Oracle is making the CRM vendor's analytics package the BI for the masses, or casual users of the technology, a departure from BI's traditional focus on power users of the technology and delivering information to analysts and managers. In fact, IDC says the market for reporting and online analytical processing (OLAP) tools has reached maturity and cannot sustain growth rates, and large IT vendors like Microsoft, Oracle and IBM are targeting the market.

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This next wave of BI will be driven by several factors, according to the report. Compliance; competitive pressures that demand not just measuring of a company's performance but delivering information in context; and connecting partners, suppliers and customers will all fuel investment, the report says.

The growth of the market is also requiring technology to become more scalable as the audience for BI grows. IDC research found that more than 40% of organizations surveyed revealed that if their BI systems go down for just a few hours, there will be a significant material impact on operations.

Additionally, Open source has crept into the market over the last few years as vendors like Pentaho, JasperSoft and Actuate have carved out a niche, but IDC predicts the use of open source BI will be limited over the next five years because the BI market isn't large enough to support significant open source offerings.

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