The Forrester Wave™ Advanced Data Visualisation Platforms, Q3 2012 report

Not long after Forrester released the report outlining the rankings for the self-service BI platforms, they have decided to rate a plethora of vendors in regards to their capabilities in the ADV (Advanced Visualisation) field. It surely is an exciting time for the BI and Analytics field and with an ever-increasing gamut of options in this realm; business and professionals are spoiled for choices. As one of the industry-renowned data visualization experts Edward Tufte once said, ‘The world is complex, dynamic, and multidimensional; the paper is static, flat. How are we to represent the rich visual world of experience and measurement on mere flatland?’ Indeed, there’s just too much information out there for all categories of knowledge workers to visualize it effectively. More often than not, traditional reports using tabs, rows, and columns do not paint the whole picture or, even worse, lead an analyst to a wrong conclusion. That’s where ADV comes to the rescue and with features such as dynamic data content, visual querying, business-actionable alerts and lots of personalisation features the vendors are slowly catching up to the business needs.

To put it in the nutshell, the report highlighted the following as a conclusion to the market and vendors products’ features:

  • Tableau Software, IBM, Information Builders, SAS, SAP, Tibco, and Oracle lead the pack. These vendors demonstrate significant capabilities and a good balance of ADV features across most requirements. If a vendor from this list is already an enterprise’s preferred BI platform provider, there’s often little to no reason to look elsewhere for another specialized ADV tool.
  • The Strong Performers offer competitive options. These include Microsoft, MicroStrategy, Actuate, QlikTech, SpagoBI, and Panorama Software. In many specialized situations where certain features — such as the vendor independence that open source software (OSS) brings to the table or more emphasis on data analysis and exploration versus reporting — have specific importance, these vendors can even outshine and outperform the Leaders.
  • Jaspersoft and Pentaho lack some ADV features but are worthy alternatives for frugal buyers. Few BI implementations use all or even most of the features of their BI tools and platforms, as evidenced by numerous conversations with Forrester clients. Therefore, getting 60% to 80% of the ADV functionality at a fraction of the cost (Jaspersoft and Pentaho software subscription costs are indeed among the lowest in the industry) may make a lot of sense for frugal buyers.

You can find a copy of the report HERE and a couple screenshots visually outlining the ADV market and vendors’ positioning below.

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