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TCO study awards BI bragging rights

Just about every business intelligence vendor has cause to issue a press release, because the Ventana Research report found that they virtually all excel in one area or another.

A new total cost of ownership (TCO) study from Ventana Research gives several business intelligence providers something to brag about. 

The Belmont, Calif., research firm has released the results of a report titled "The Total Cost of Ownership for BI and Performance Management Solutions." During a six-month period, Ventana contacted five BI vendors -- Cognos Inc., MicroStrategy Inc., Information Builders Inc., Actuate Corp. and Informatica Corp. 

Ventana tabulated the total cost of their applications in 12 different usage scenarios. TCO was based on all costs relating to project implementation, hardware and software, and personnel, according to Eric Rogge, Ventana's research director for BI and the report's author.

Ventana also calculated the costs for 1,000-user and 10,000-user scenarios to avoid having "a one-size-fits-all winner," Rogge said. 

Among the results for 10,000-user implementations, Ventana found that Actuate had the lowest TCO for dashboards, coming in about $1.6 million less than its costliest competitor. Information Builders had the lowest TCO for parameterized reports. Cognos' offering for ad hoc multidimensional OLAP came in as the least costly, as did Informatica's for ad hoc relational OLAP. 

All of the vendors had some wins at both the 1,000- and 10,000-user levels, Rogge said. 

The variations in cost of software were among the most dramatic, Rogge said, with some of the smaller, challenger companies offering bigger discounts than the large vendors. Additionally, he found that hardware costs appear to be diminishing dramatically. 

"The power you can get at low cost is pretty high," Rogge said.

To measure the results, Ventana asked each vendor to provide an estimate of costs and provide a customer contact. Ventana used its own discretion when measuring results, Rogge said. Not all vendors provided information for every scenario. 

The study demonstrated that there can be significant savings for organizations when it comes to implementing BI tools, Rogge said. A proper assessment of TCO could save an organization from $92,000 to $329,000 for a 1,000-user implementation and from $129,000 to $1.6 million for a 10,000-user implementation, the report says. 

Ventana will go back and reprise the study, adding additional vendors sometime in the next 12 months, Rogge said. 


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