Enterprise business intelligence (BI) continues to be the last mile to insights-driven business capabilities. No matter what technology foundation you’re using — a data lake, a data warehouse, data fabric, data mesh, etc. — BI applications are where business users consume data and turn it into actionable insights and decisions.

The BI market has thrived for several decades, so much so that over the last five years, BI technology has become largely commoditized. Forrester often hears that clients no longer concentrate on which BI platform provides better data visualization, dashboards, or OLAP (“slice and dice”) functionality; rather, they are prioritizing platforms that are:

  • Native to their preferred hyperscaler platform. Best-of-breed vs. native to a platform is no longer a binary choice, as all hyperscalers have acquired and/or natively built best-of-breed BI platforms. Clients that already have or plan to migrate to a single hyperscaler — meaning they store most of their data and run most of their business applications in that one ecosystem — need look no further than the native BI tool from that provider.
  • Seamlessly integrated with business applications. It’s no longer just a matter of extracting data from business (i.e., ERP, CRM) applications to feed BI dashboards and reports. One needs to also embed BI functionality seamlessly into the user interface of business applications and into user experiences. This is the main way that BI applications become contextual and actionable. And since many leading business application vendors acquired and/or natively built best-of-breed BI platforms, once again, best-of-breed vs. native is no longer an either/or proposition.
  • Built on API-first architecture. While most older-generation BI platforms continue to invest in opening most of the platform functionality to APIs, legacy architecture often bursts through the seams. Clients looking to embed BI functionality into business applications now prefer platforms that are natively built on an API-first architecture and that natively support popular software development lifecycle platforms such as Git.

Having said all that, there’s still plenty of room in the market for the leading independent augmented BI vendors. Highly distributed and diversified enterprises running on a hybrid (on-premises and on-cloud) multicloud environment will continue to seek ways to reduce the risk of vendor lock-in and ensure that their BI platform remains cloud-/platform-independent. For our latest vendor rankings and other findings, please read The Forrester Wave™: Augmented Business Intelligence Platforms, Q2 2023.

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