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Author's profile photo Rizwan Tahir

Reflections on Gartner’s Survey Results: Trends in BI Industry and SAP as a Leader in BI Space


Gartner Research is an invaluable source of information in discovering trends in the Information Technology Industry and provides survey results for usage and acceptance of latest technologies. The BI industry, within the larger context of IT is no exception and during the last few years, Gartner has published reports and survey results that provide an independent view of various BI platforms, the status and pace of BI adoption by the customers and emergence of leaders and visionaries in BI space. In this blog, I will try to correlate the results from two very important survey results provided by Gartner, to create an understanding of what could be expected in coming years as far as BI industry is concerned.


Gartner’s BI Magic Quadrant

To begin with, let’s take a look at the Gartner’s famous BI Magic Quadrant for the year 2010. Clearly, SAP is among other major BI vendors and placed in the Leaders quadrant (Figure 1). This means that SAP has strived for providing completeness of vision as well as ability to execute a Business Intelligence Project. The acquisition of Business Objects and then streamlining of the integrated roadmap for BI and BO certainly has helped SAP in securing such position. There is intense competition from other vendors as can be seen from Figure 1, particularly Oracle, IBM and Microsoft.  

However, SAP has a distinct advantage over other BI vendors as it also has a huge customer base in ERP segment. In my opinion, this puts SAP in a unique position to capitalize and gain as much market share from existing as well as future customers.



Figure 1. Gartner’s BI Magic Quadrant places SAP among the leaders in Industry


Gartner’s CIO Survey 2010

Gartner also publishes the results of CIO survey annually, where Business Priorities are aligned with Technology (Figure 2). For the last five years (2005 – 2009), the number one spot was being held by Business Intelligence (refer to Gartner website for more information), however, in 2010, according to the survey results, Business Intelligence has dropped from being the top priority among CIOs to being at number five (see illustration in Figure 2).

There could be many reasons for this. First of all, Virtualization as a cost cutting measure has been a popular topic in IT departments. The emergence of Cloud Computing (SOA), Web 2.0 initiatives and modernizing Voice/Data Networks have also been on higher priority. However, could there be other factors in this decline of importance for BI, such as number of successful implementations or the return on investment in BI technologies? Could it simply be that the organizations have been investing heavily in BI for the last five years and are now waiting for it to deliver the results? Does this mean that the next few years could yet see reduced funding for BI Projects? 

I would like to think that BI is still very much within the focus of businesses but I would certainly like to know what others have experienced and what do they make of this survey? 



Figure 2. Gartner CIO Survey Results: BI drops in Priority Ranking


Gartner’s BI Market Share Report

Finally, let’s look at the Market Share by Vendor report for BI, Analytics and EPM, published by Gartner in 2010. As seen in Figure 3, SAP is at the top of the table with 22.4% market share. However, the last column is of interest where 2008-2009 over the year growth rate for SAP is in negative territory. Could this be attributed to the drop in priority for BI in organizations as we discussed in previous section (refer to Figure 2)? It is worth noting that during same time period, IBM grew its BI market share by 14% and other vendors also ended up increasing their shares.

Again, I would like to think that because it took some time for SAP to finalize the roadmap for BI/BO integrated platform and now that everyone has a better understanding, the steady growth in Revenues should be expected. May be it is just market dynamics and an adjustment that should not be looked at with too much concern and there is not much merit in reading too far in these survey results?



Figure 3. BI Market Share by Vendor



In this blog, we looked at two surveys from Gartner related to priority in implementing BI projects and the global market share by vendor. SAP is clearly among the leaders in BI Industry and poised for growth, but with intense competition to capture prospective customers, it would be interesting to see how these trends materialize over the next few years.

I would like to open the discussion and welcome your thoughts on this matter to help us understand the trends and evolution in BI Industry in general and for SAP in particular.


References: Gartner (

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      Author's profile photo Tammy Powlas
      Tammy Powlas
      I didn't know that BI dropped to #5.  This is a big surprise to me.

      Thanks for posting.

      Author's profile photo Rizwan Tahir
      Rizwan Tahir
      Blog Post Author

      It came as a surprise for me as well (BI -> #5), but that does dimish the importance of BI in improving the businesses.


      Author's profile photo Rizwan Tahir
      Rizwan Tahir
      Blog Post Author
      Sorry, meant to say, *DOES NOT Diminish the Importance of BI*
      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      thank you for the good link to Gartner Research (sponsored or powered by Oracle?).

      i would not call Gartner invaluable, but simply the top IT analyst firm. Mr Dresner, a Gartnerite, has coined the term BI, Mr Mirchandani, a Gartnerite, has made me look into SAP in the late nineties and is still keeping it honest, and Mr McDermott, a Gartnerite, is now co-running SAP.

      the magic quadrant is to IT what Fortune 500 is to the US corporate world, imho. we used to laugh when at Gartner that we had shared the same industry code as The Playboy. i guess, this is what bean counters do when they are closing the books 😉

      now, about the ranking. BI has remained the top business finance application and not #5, imho. Oracle is really Essbase, IBM is Cognos, but SAP is not simply Business Objects and i'm glad to see it as the top contender in the completeness of vision (HANA ICE?) dimension. Microstrategy and SAS remain the strong independents who survived thy consolidation (i'm surprised especially at Microstrategy).

      whoever gets to the mobile (tablet?) space first with a compelling BI solution will deserve the leader BI mark, imho. i think SAP is much closer than IBM, at the moment.

      thanks again for bringing up the topic.

      2 cents from @greg_not_so

      Author's profile photo Rizwan Tahir
      Rizwan Tahir
      Blog Post Author
      Hi Greg,

      Thanks for sharing your point of view and anecdotes from the past. I was surprised too that BI dropped to #5 in priority according to Gartner, but that is why I have invited the readers to provide feedback and share what they have experienced this year.