Big-data confusion blunting business-intelligence spend

Big data may be handy shorthand for a whole group of issues but it's done little to increase businesses' willingness to spend on analytics in the short term.

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All the talk about big data has actually helped dampen growth in business-intelligence spending because of the confusion it's causing among corporate buyers.

After several years of double-digit expansion, which reached 17 percent in 2011 over 2010, the growth in investment in business intelligence, corporate performance management and analytics apps fell back to 6.8 percent for 2012 over the previous year, according to Gartner.

The analyst firm is blaming the relative decline on a poor economic climate and confusion among budget holders about the terms big data, BI and analytics.

"Business intelligence managed to grow by a reasonable seven percent in 2012, despite difficult macro conditions, being on the tail of a spending cycle, and confusion related to emerging technology terms causing a hold on purse strings," said Dan Sommer, principal research analyst at Gartner in a statement.

However, projections from the firm published in February suggest that in the long-term big data is likely to have a beneficial effect on investment patterns and growth.

In the short term, an increase in spending on analytics provided in the form of software as a service has contributed positively to the overall picture.

"Cloud-based buying is also starting to make an imprint on the radar, showing substantial growth, although cloud still accounts for a smaller portion of the business-intelligence market compared with other application markets," Sommer said.

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Data-discovery technology, which Gartner defines as tools to help businesses search structured and unstructured data, has also helped increase spending.

Total spending in 2012 on business-intelligence software reaching $13.1bn against a figure of $12.3bn for 2011, with SAP remaining in top spot with sales of $2.9bn — 22.1 percent of the market — a year-on-year increase of 0.6 percent.

However, the fastest growing company in the top five is Microsoft, with revenues of $1.2bn representing 12.2 percent growth compared with 2011.

In the top five, IBM traded places with SAS , which moved down to fourth from third. Together, the five main vendors account for about 70 percent of business-intelligence spending.

Company 2012 revenue 2012 market share 2011 revenue 2011-12 growth



$2,884m 0.6%
Oracle $1,952.1m 14.9% $1,913.5m 2%
IBM $1,625.6m 12.4% $1,478.8m 9.9
SAS $1,599.7m 12.2% $1,542.9m 3.7%
Microsoft $1,189.3m 9.1% $1,059.9m 12.2%
Others $3,861.90m 29.3% $3,416m 13%
Total $13,131.1m 100% $12,295.1m 6.8%

Top five business-intelligence, corporate performance management and analytics vendors worldwide 2011-12. Source: Gartner