2019 Gartner BI Magic Quadrant: 5 Key Insights and Market Leaders

The analytics and business intelligence (BI) industry is rapidly shifting to modernize its tools and platforms. In its 2019 Analytics and Business Intelligence Magic Quadrant, Gartner outlines important market trends and evaluates 21 vendors on their offerings.

The extensive report can be a long read, so we’ve recapped the key insights and highlighted the market leaders. Here’s what you need to know about the Gartner 2019 BI Magic Quadrant:

1. Modern analytics and business intelligence become mainstream

Modern analytics and business intelligence systems focus on agility, privacy, scalability and augmented analytics. The market for modern analytics and business intelligence platforms is expanding faster than the rest of the industry, and many vendors are now incorporating these tools into their solutions. The intuitive software supports analytic processes, from data preparation to insight generation, and generally doesn’t require as much involvement from IT as traditional BI platforms.

In the past, vendors created BI solutions that either focused on data prediction (Mode 1) or data exploration (Mode 2). As more customers look for a single solution that covers both modes, vendors have been mixed in their response. Many solutions still focus on only one mode, while a few say they’ll expand coverage in the future. Customers that currently need a single solution have limited options, such as using a single portal-like or hub spot to access multiple platforms.

2. Augmented analytics will become a focal point

As we discussed in the Better Buys 2019 business intelligence market predictions, augmented analytics will drive new BI software purchases in the years to come. Gartner defines augmented analytics as artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques that transform how analytics content is developed, consumed and shared. It also automates various data science processes, such as data preparation, model development and insight discovery.

Vendors are adding augmented analytics to their platforms at varying speeds, and only a few offer new features like augmented alerting and anomaly detection. Although this disruptive technology isn’t a necessity for mainstream buyers just yet, solutions that incorporate it can command higher prices.

3. Natural language processing will increase accessibility

One of the most popular features of augmented analytics is natural language processing (NLP), which lets users access and interpret data through voice commands and queries. Users can ask sophisticated questions that draw answers from multiple data sources. Gartner predicts that by 2020, half of all data queries will be generated automatically or via voice commands.

In addition, conversation analytics can develop narratives for key performance indicators and graphics. Data storytelling features automatically apply visual perception best practices to data, present findings as a story, and combine rich formatting and infographics.

Gartner believes that NLP will boost BI adoption, especially among front-office workers who are increasingly data literate. Companies will need to shift their focus to hiring more data and analytics experts than IT workers. And these experts will need to be trained on communication skills.

3. Business intelligence prices face downward pressure

Although BI vendors are showing double-digit revenue growth, prices are facing downward pressure from two sources:

  • Companies are transitioning from perpetual licensing to subscription licensing models
  • Microsoft and other large vendors now offer modern tools as part of their maintenance fees

As a result, several vendors started offering lower-priced options in 2018. Tableau came out with its Viewer software, and Qlik introduced a dual-use license to let QlikView customers also use Qlik Sense.

Almost all vendors now offer subscription-based pricing, as 54% of customers now prefer this licensing model, according to Gartner. While subscription licensing can lower initial costs for customers, it also increases the total cost of ownership over time.

For pricing details on popular solutions, you can read our recent articles on Tableau, Microsoft BI and Domo.

5. Privacy regulations are increasing

For many businesses, data theft may lead to financial and reputational damage. But now, companies can also face legal problems. Many governments around the world are advancing privacy legislation, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union, and several federal and state regulations in the United States.

BI vendors have been slow to add security features. Many solutions can’t classify info as private or purge elements of certain data. Only a few tools offer privacy features, such as preventing personal data from being exported into PDF or spreadsheet formats. Data security remains a weak spot for most vendors in the market.

4 BI Magic Quadrant Leaders

In its 2019 Magic Quadrant report, Gartner evaluates 21 top business intelligence vendors on the completeness of their vision and their ability to execute. Solutions are separated into niche players, challengers, visionaries and leaders. Here’s a rundown of the four market leaders:

For the 12th year in a row, Microsoft Power BI has been recognized as a market leader in business intelligence tools, according to Gartner’s Magic Quadrant. Last year, Microsoft was tied with Tableau, but this year it’s pulled ahead to be the clear leader of the pack.

Gartner recommends Power BI based on its comprehensive functionality, broad range of use cases and relatively low price. Users also say complex analyses are easy to run. However, be aware that the cloud deployment has fewer advanced features and doesn’t support as many data sources as the on-premise deployment.

2019 is Tableau‘s seventh year as a Magic Quadrant leader. Although the vendor is now second to Power BI on the chart, it’s still a considerable distance ahead of the other two leaders.

Tableau offers several deployment and licensing models that target numerous industries and price points. The vendor also gets superb customer ratings for its easy-to-use visualization and natural language processing features. Gartner reports, however, that some of Tableau’s solutions lack important features, and its product support ranked in the bottom third of all vendors in 2018.

Qlik is on the edge of the market leaders for 2019. The company grew its product offerings in the past year with the acquisitions of Podium Data and Crunch Data.

Gartner highlights Qlik’s augmented analytics and upcoming features as positives. In addition, the vendor has an active user community that adds value to the product. However, drawbacks include the need to integrate extra products for some analytics processes, as well as difficulties migrating data.

ThoughtSpot became a Magic Quadrant leader for the first time in 2019, rounding out the pack. Founded by former Google execs, the company has received $306 million in venture capital funding.

The vendor is a leader in augmented analytics technology, and its newest solution includes voice-driven analytics, which can be used on a mobile device. The company has been picking up enterprise customers at the fastest pace in the market. Gartner warns, however, that solution has significant gaps in basic functionality, and the vendor has few implementation partners right now.

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