Gartner positions Microsoft as a leader in BI and Analytics Platforms

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During the month of Feb 2016 Gartner published it Magic Quadrant report for Business Intelligence and Analytics Platforms. And Micrsoft, Tableau and Qlik were the leaders as shown below (check leaders).

Gartner says Microsoft offers a broad range of BI and analytics capabilities, both on-premises and in the Microsoft Azure cloud. Microsoft Power BI is the focus for this Magic Quadrant and is on its second major release, offering cloud-based BI with a new desktop interface — Power BI Desktop.

Power BI offers data preparation, data discovery and interactive dashboards via a single design tool. The Excel-based add-ins are positioned primarily for customers who need an on-premises deployment (and become native in Office 2016).

Microsoft has substantially lowered the price of Power BI — from its original $39.95 per user per month to $9.95 per user per month — making it one of the lowest-priced solutions on the market today, particularly from larger vendors. The lower price point, in addition to substantial product improvements, explains the strong uptake by 90,000 organizations.

Microsoft is positioned in the Leaders quadrant, with strong uptake of the latest release, major product improvements, an increase in sales and marketing awareness efforts, new leadership and a clearer, more visionary product roadmap. Microsoft’s vision to provide natural-language query and generation via its Cortana personal digital assistant, together with its strong partner network and its strategy to provide prebuilt solutions, positions it furthest to the right on the Completeness of Vision axis.


STRENGTHS

  • Microsoft’s cloud-based delivery model and low per-user pricing offers a low TCO — one of the top three reasons why customers selected it, in addition to ease of use for business users and the availability of skilled resources. While Microsoft has long offered low per-user pricing, customers are advised to consider the TCO, which includes hardware costs, development and support costs. Previously, Microsoft had a high cost of ownership in its on-premises deployment model (despite low licensing costs), because of the complexity of implementing multiple servers. The new Power BI addresses this issue with both a streamlined workflow for content authors and because the hardware and server architecture is in the Microsoft Azure cloud.
  • Microsoft ranks in the top quartile for achievement of business benefits, with high scores in its use for monetizing data, improving customer service and increasing revenue, as well as delivering better insights to more users. As customers move to business-user-led deployments, an emphasis on the achievement of business benefits at a lower cost has driven much of the net new BI and analytics buying — in lieu of centrally provisioned, IT-authored reporting platforms.
  • Microsoft was ranked in the top quartile of Magic Quadrant vendors for user enablement (only Tableau ranked slightly higher), with high scores for online tutorials, community support, conferences and documentation. The high enablement scores also contributed to Microsoft’s ranking in the top quartile for product success.
  • Microsoft has continued to expand the number and variety of data sources it supports natively and has also improved its partner network to build out connectors and content that includes prebuilt reports and dashboards. For example, Microsoft now has prebuilt connectors (and content) to Facebook, Salesforce, Dynamics CRM, Google Analytics, Zendesk and Marketo, to name a few.

CAUTIONS

  • Microsoft scores low on product capabilities for advanced analytics within Power BI. The vendor’s newly introduced Cortana Analytics Suite — which brings together key modules including: Power BI, Azure Machine Learning, Cortana Personal Digital Assistant, Business Scenarios, and others — may partly address this limitation. Also, with the acquisition of Revolution Analytics, Microsoft now includes a preinstall of a local R instance with Power BI Desktop.
  • Microsoft was ranked in the bottom quartile for sales experience by survey references. This can be partly attributed to its frequent changes in pricing and packaging, as well the lack of a BI and analytics-focused sales force. For example, Office 365 is no longer a prerequisite; Power BI can be purchased as a separate SKU, or via Cortana Analytics Suite or Office 365 Enterprise E5.