Business Intelligence software is a large and rapidly evolving marketplace. This guide has focused on the shift that has been underway for a number of years as spending moves away from report-centric, IT-led deployments to discovery-centric purchases by business units. The emergence of data discovery and visualization tools that enable business units to solve specific business problems, as well as the emergence of cloud BI, have started to contest the position of the enterprise BI platform vendors—who are now fast followers of these trends. The major enterprise vendors like Cognos and SAP are releasing their own cloud and discovery products in response to this shift.
But just as important is the embryonic field of big data, which is poised to disrupt the BI market a great deal more in the coming years. Much of the excitement around big data has been futuristic and speculative, and there is no shortage of discussions about “the internet of things” and the massive proliferation of data as more and more physical devices are connected to the Internet. But it would be a mistake to dismiss this as hype. The open-source Hadoop database, designed for storing unstructured data, has already created a technology ecosystem around it, which has developed largely independently of the traditional vendors who are now rushing to integrate this technology. IDC predicts that the big data market will grow at 26.2% compound annual growth through 2018 to reach $41.52 billion.3
One of the most obvious indications of renewed interest in the BI arena is the sheer quantity of new entrants challenging the incumbents with newer, often more user-friendly technology, and also with the amount of capital being raised by these new entrants:
- Domo, founded by the ex-CEO of Omniture, raised $125m in February of 2014.
- New entrant ThoughtSpot raised $30m in a series B in June 2014. The product is not generally available yet.
- New entrant Looker raised a $16m Series A round in August 2014.
- Another newcomer, Tidemark, raised an additional $13m in August 2014.
The two big cloud vendors have also been raising money:
- GoodData raised $25.7m in October 2014, bringing the total raised to $101.2m, with an eye toward a potential IPO in 2016.
- Birst raised $38m in August 2013, bringing the total they have raised to $84m.
This is undoubtedly a very hot market in the midst of upheaval and change.