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Platforms, Q3 2015

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 Report Summary

  • Forrester finds Nine Leading Vendors and Four Strong Competitors in the Agile BI area.
  • Products including Microsoft, SAP, Qlik, MicroStrategy, TIBCO Software, SAS, GoodData, Oracle, and Tableau Software lead the pack.
  • Panorama, Information Builders, IBM, and Birst offer competitive options.
  1. Business User BI Self-Service is The Key Differentiator In The Agile BI Market:

As enterprise BI driven by technology management becomes commoditised, features that empower business users to be self-sufficient will become key differentiators. Users are becoming more astute at working with their own information and empowering them will be key to success.

  1. Agile BI is a Key Element in the Business Agility Equation

Forrester calls this the age of the customer, which elevates business and technology priorities to achieve:

  • Business agility: Empowerment needs to happen lower down within the organisation at an operational level, as these employees are the ones who are in close touch with customer problems, market shifts, and process inefficiencies. These workers are often in the best position to understand challenges and opportunities and to make decisions to improve the business.
  • Information agility. Agile enterprises must gather customer and market knowledge and rapidly incorporate it into the decision making process.

Key Take-Aways

Empowering Business Users to Be Self-Sufficient

Self service capability can typically be supported by BI platform features such as:

  • Self-provisioning applications and data. How efficiently can business users connect to new data sources and provision applications, data, and resources?
  • Data integration, mashups, and wrangling. How efficiently and effectively can business users perform various data transformation tasks?
  • BI automation. Does the BI platform support various self-service BI automation processes that allow business users to do more with less?
  • Effective user interfaces. How easily can business users create their own reports and dashboards and run data exploration and other relevant tasks?

Help Business Users Get More Insights with Effective Data Visualisations

  • Richness of data visualisation with become key as users create new and engaging content.
  • Data visualisation effectiveness using features such as animations, autosuggestions and different modes of interaction with data visualisations.

Agile BI Platforms Evaluation Overview 

Evaluation Criteria:

  • Current offering. Forrester assessed each vendor’s current offering by considering all of the features and capabilities reviewed above.
  • They reviewed each vendor’s strategy and considered how well each vendor’s plans for product enhancement position
  • Market presence. In this particular research, they only considered vendor BI revenues and number of customers as a measure of global market presence.

The evaluation uncovered a market in which:




As users become more empowered, the need for engaging and agile BI technologies is going to become the norm over traditional reporting centric architectures. These technologies provide compelling enhancements to existing BI environments and enable the organisation to provide self service capability to users.

Whether these technologies and this approach can be a primary business intelligence strategy within organisations will remain to be seen, as the maturity level of the organisation needs to be taken into consideration. In many cases users and organisations struggle to move from limited business intelligence exposure straight to self-service. User maturity is also important to ensure the effective implementation and use of any BI platform.