'The BI Survey 7' Details Purchase Practices, Ranks Loyalty by Brand - InformationWeek

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'The BI Survey 7' Details Purchase Practices, Ranks Loyalty by Brand

In the successor to "The OLAP Survey 6," Nigel Pendse delivers exhaustive customer survey findings on business intelligence vendor effectiveness and customer deployment success rates.

Delivering what is undoubtedly the most in-depth, survey-based report available on the business intelligence market, Nigel Pendse and the Business Application Research Center (BARC) will next week release "The BI Survey 7." The successor to Pendse's popular "OLAP Survey" series, The BI Survey 7 explores vendor and product selection, deployment success, cost of ownership and customer loyalty. The latest survey includes a wider array of products extending beyond OLAP (thus the name change), and it also drops product reviews and qualitative product comparisons in favor of what the publisher describes as deeper and more detailed quantitative analyses.

Billed by BARC as "the largest, most thorough, fact-based analysis of the growing BI market," The BI Survey 7 tops 400 pages and incorporates some 250 charts and figures — the table of contents alone is 13 pages long. The findings are based on analyses of the experience of more than 2,700 respondents, with more than 1,900 completing detailed questions about BI product usage. Participants are from all over the world, with 53 percent hailing from Europe, 37 percent from North America and the remainder from the rest of the world (led by Australia and Japan, respectively).

Taking a sneak peek at key results (gleaned from a preview copy of the survey shared with Intelligent Enterprise and other media partners), the survey details BI purchasing and deployment best practices. Consistent with prior OLAP Survey findings, the new survey finds that buyer selection criteria are out of sync with business benefits gained. And in one of the report's most closely watched metrics, vendor loyalty measures are even more polarized this year, with Microstrategy, Applix TM1 (now owned by Cognos) and Microsoft Analysis Services scoring better than in previous years while Oracle/Hyperion Essbase and SAP BI/BW continued a trend toward declining loyalty.

The Purchase Cycle

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Candidate Product Selection
(click image for larger view)
How do most companies go about selecting BI software and how satisfied are they? The BI Survey 7 dedicates an entire 32-page chapter to this topic. It starts with Internet research, respondents report, followed by previous experience, industry analyst research and consultant advice, in that order of frequency (see "Candidate Product Selection" chart at right). Customer sites spending large amounts on software license fees were "more influenced than average" by industry analyst research, existing deployments and strategic vendor relationships, and "less influenced than average" by Internet research, seminars and webinars, and advertisements, the survey finds.

In what some might consider a self-serving line of analysis, the survey maps the influence and effectiveness of analyst research, including that of the OLAP Report and BARC, the publisher of The BI Survey 7. Organizations that use industry analyst research achieve more "business benefits" than those that do not, according to the report. This is measured by the survey's "Business Benefit Index" (BBI), a weighted, aggregate score of nine attributes ranging from "faster or more accurate reporting" and "improved customer satisfaction" to savings on headcount and reduced IT cost.

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