Is BI coming of age as Oracle disappear from the landscape?

by | Mar 17, 2016

cat amongst the pigeons
Gartner sure did throw the cat amongst the pigeons last month, Shane called it a “blood bath“, others applauded a coming of age for BI, everyone noted Oracle’s absence – big time. I am, of course, referring to the Magic Quadrant on Business Intelligence and Analytics Platforms, agree or not, many buyers and commentators use these as the standard and a guide so we really do need to take note when Gartner publish one with so many surprises.
Love him of hate him, Larry Ellison’s database business is one of the most successful, profitable, disruptive and innovative companies of its time. Data is their business, everything else they do is about creating easier ways to insert, update, delete and analyse said data – once upon a time it was on your own premises now in their cloud, the tools have changed but the game hasn’t.
In the past, Gartner has loved Oracle. I’m one of the old school sceptics who think that Gartner showcases those who support their business, how else do we explain the legacy slow movers like IBM and SAS continuing to hold strong positions when their product sets haven’t evolved rapidly enough – right? So are we seeing a new look transparent Gartner? or did Oracle (probably Larry) do something really bad to piss them off? This article even speculates Gartner updated the report to remove a sentence Oracle didn’t like much:
Gartner Magic Quadrant for BI 2016 – the BIG shakeout

I can imagine this doesn’t please too much to these big guys. And even so that Gartner did (had to?) remove a sentence in the report about why Oracle had dropped entirely from the Magic Quadrant. Look at the corrections link in the report to see the pulled sentence that Larry probably didn’t like that much.

Or does OBIEE really not fit the new world? it is a big, expensive, enterprise platform, complicated to implement with high technical debt if done poorly yet powerful when done well. Here in NZ OBIEE is a scarcity, a few customers who bought it, a few who needed a pathway from their Discoverer investment, and a few who started to use it as part of another license bundle. As a result, the skill pool is tiny and projects scarce. For all of these reasons, OBIEE is (as the article below reinforces) an IT-led purchase or rollout. The IT fortification of the 2000s wanted to enforce standards and governance models make OBIEE an easy choice, especially once the internal architecture team have chosen a Red stack.

Traditionally, the Analytics Market is characterized by IT-led buying. Over the last years there is a transition ongoing towards Business-led buying. IT-led buying focusses on governance, consistency and scalability. Business-led buying on the other hand has a focus on speed and discovery.

The biggest strength is also the biggest failing of OBIEE – it’s IT-centricity. In a world where we buy apps willy-nilly on our phones, consumers of data expect to be able to buy an app and start analysing their data almost immediately. Those of us in the industry know it’s not that easy to get a quality solution with well curated and prepared data – but it should be. Self-Service is where it’s at these days. IT departments call this kind of tool “shadow IT” and try to block the use of easy to adopt, modern toolsets. Hopefully, this kind of Magic Quadrant from Gartner making a strong statement we are now in the age of Self-Service (another great article below) will see the consumer get their hands on the cool stuff more readily. You’ll have read how our team are in love with QlikSense and Trifacta and others already – powerful, self-service and easy to use.

Gartner Makes it Official: The Age of Self-Service Is Upon Us

In this year’s Magic Quadrant, a slew of former “Leaders” — viz., IBM Corp., Information Builders Inc. (IBI), MicroStrategy Inc., Oracle, SAP AG, and SAS Institute Inc. — were downgraded to “Visionaries.” Each of these vendors markets one or more technologies that meet, at least in part, the criteria of a “modern” BI platform.  On Gartner’s terms, however, none offers a single, integrated platform comparable to Microsoft’s PowerBI, Qlik Sense, and Tableau– the sole “Leaders.”

Oracle will be back, they are big and ugly now but like Microsoft they innovate and disrupt readily, their Cloud based Business Analytics products are getting good reviews. Perhaps Gartner will need to start segmenting the BI market on Cloud vs downloadable products next?
The future sure is bright. Happy sharing. Vic. 

Declaring our interests – We are an Oracle partner; Shane and I spent much of our working lives prior to founding the OptimalHQ group as Oracle practitioners and license sellers; consulting project wise OptimalBI’s team undertake Oracle BI and DW projects alongside other technologies – we have two large OBIEE / ODI projects underway right now, along with smaller Hyperion and OBIEE ones amongst our customer assignments. Lots of vested interest to declare – and reasons for why we diversify to working with Microsoft, Qlik, RapidMiner, SAS, IBM, Trifacta and many more.

Thanks for the photo under creative commons license.

  1. Blair Tempero

    Nice one Vic. Love OptimalBI blogs. Blair Tempero. Happy Easter

    • Victoria Maclennan

      Thanks Blair, great to have you part of the ecosystem. Enjoy the break yourself. Vic



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