Information technology keeps moving forward at an ever-increasing pace. Business intelligence (BI) technology isn’t falling behind and keeps constantly evolving. Gone are the days when vendors categorized themselves as:

  • IT-focused and enterprise-scalable vs. business-user-focused BI platforms mostly going after departmental and line of business use cases. All legacy, formerly IT-focused BI vendors have moved squarely into the business-user-focused territory. And most BI vendors that originally architected their platforms for ease of use, often sacrificing scalability, have introduced large-enterprise scalability features, technology, and architecture.
  • On-premises vs. cloud BI platforms. All formerly on-premises-only BI vendors now have cloud deployment options. (The reverse is not true, however, as most BI platforms natively architected for the cloud are not going after the on-premises market.)
  • Data visualization platforms. Forrester no longer considers data visualization a separate and distinct market segment. Rather, we see it as a table-stakes capability of all BI and analytics platforms.

Going forward (but no promises, as the market will surely grow, mature, and morph again next year), Forrester will segment enterprise BI platforms into the following three categories:

  • Client-managed enterprise BI platforms. In this segment, clients are fully responsible for deploying their private instance of the BI software. They may choose to install it on-premises, in a public cloud, or hosted by a vendor. But the client is ultimately responsible for the timing of upgrades and other software platform management decisions. Organizations that want to retain control over software upgrades and fixes should consider vendors in this category.
  • Vendor-managed enterprise BI platforms. In this segment, clients do not deploy but subscribe to software. A vendor maintains a single software instance and partitions it for logical private instances for each client. All clients are on the same software version, and all get the same continuous upgrades. Clients have no control over upgrades or other decisions. Organizations that are ready to completely shift software management responsibilities to the vendor should consider this category. Organizations must also be willing to use software deployed in a public cloud, as software in this category does not run on-premises.
  • In-data-lake enterprise BI platforms. These BI platforms (app server, metadata server, etc.) run entirely inside data lake clusters and do not move data (including result sets) out of clusters. Organizations that are mostly looking for a BI platform to analyze terabytes of data stored in data lakes, especially for detail-level (versus aggregate) analysis, should consider vendors in this category.

For more information, please take a look at how we segmented 41 top BI vendors in our latest vendor landscape research, AKA “Now Tech: Enterprise BI Platforms, Q1 2019.”