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WiseAnalytics Independent Survey
BI for the Mid-Market

by Lyndsay Wise, President, WiseAnalyticsThursday, September 18, 2008
The following results are based on 123 of 144 respondents to the independent WiseAnalytics survey on BI for the Mid-Market.

Survey Overview

The BI for Mid-Market Survey was distributed to identify trends within small and mid-sized organizations. The overall purpose included identifying adoption rates within SMBs, how mid-market organizations are using business intelligence, and how knowledgeable these organizations are in regards to what targeted mid-market BI solutions are available.

Respondents were asked to identify if and how they are currently using business intelligence, what solution provider(s) they are using, their satisfaction levels with their current offerings, and their overall awareness of the solutions available and targeted specifically to mid-sized organizations.

Survey respondents were given the chance to expound upon their satisfaction levels and provide suggestions to vendors on how to improve upon mid-market offerings. In addition, respondents were asked about their awareness levels regarding a group of selected BI vendors and whether those vendors offer mid-market solutions.

How Small and Mid-sized Organizations Differ

There is little consensus when it come to defining the needs of mid-market organizations. Generally, vendors consider organizations with revenues under $1 billion per year as mid-market companies and small companies as those earning less than $250 million. In addition, the common denominator associated with SMBs is their lack of IT infrastructure and their need for solutions with a lower price point.

The problem with this generalization is that companies in the upper-mid market (i.e. those with revenues higher than $850 million) are probably closer in relation to business requirements, budgeting, and internal IT infrastructures to their enterprise organization counterparts in comparison with companies that are considered small.

This dichotomy creates a problem for vendors who are targeting the mid-market as well as organizations that are in search of BI to help improve their performance. On the one hand, it becomes difficult to create solutions targeted to mid-market companies that meet specific needs. On the other hand, organizations categorized as small or mid-sized become hard pressed to find solutions that suit their specific business requirements. And even though general solutions targeted at mid-market companies do exist, there seems to be a gap between what is available and what organizations are actually aware of.

Mid-market Awareness of BI

Even though all survey respondents came from various business intelligence online publications, newsletter advertisements or BI related Websites, 31% stated that they were not currently using business intelligence. Of that 31%, under half (41%) are either currently implementing BI or are planning to do so within the next year. Consequently, it seems that there is room for growth and increased awareness of the benefits of BI within small and mid-sized organizations.

In addition, general awareness levels of vendors such as Microsoft, Business Objects/SAP, and Cognos/IBM are high as they all rate at 98%. This is in contrast to vendors such as QlikTech at 68%, Pentaho at 64%, and Panorama 61%. Even though these numbers sound high, they represent total awareness of the vendor as opposed to awareness levels of mid-market offerings. To illustrate this, mid-market awareness for Business Objects drops to 57% and for QlikTech it drops to 23%. This means that even though there might be general knowledge of BI vendors, there is a gap in knowledge related to what these vendors can offer small and mid-sized organizations.

Current BI Use

Although awareness levels need to increase in order to expand the use of business intelligence within mid-market organizations, mid-market companies that are currently deploying BI are using it for diverse applications within their organizations that expand beyond traditional reporting and data warehousing. Although reporting was identified as the main use, analytics and dashboards are just as popular as data warehousing. Additionally, based on responses, front-end applications are generally more popular than their back-end counterparts with a fewer number of respondents utilizing data integration activities.

Bar Graph showing Top Business Intelligence Capabilities

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