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Volume 6, Number 28 -- July 23, 2008

Gartner Pegs BI Software Sales at $5.1 Billion

Published: July 23, 2008

by Timothy Prickett Morgan

The business intelligence software space may not be the T-Rex of enterprise software like ERP systems have been, but it definitely qualifies as Brontosaurus, chewing cud to make a living rather than attacking competitors for the right to live. The BI software market has grown nicely over the past decade, but like other software markets, it has undergone a lot of consolidation and, in recent months, the U.S. market has been problematic.

According to the latest statistics from Gartner, the global business intelligence software market (including maintenance and various support revenues for vendors) accounted for $5.1 billion in 2007, an increase of 13 percent from the $4.5 billion level set in 2006. As Gartner pointed out, the three biggest publicly traded BI software houses--Business Objects, Cognos, and Hyperion--were all acquired by larger software companies with their eyes on the enterprise--SAP, IBM, and Oracle, respectively.

"Taking all the consolidation into account, the large stack vendors Oracle, SAP, IBM, and Microsoft have raised their market presence during the course of 2007 from just over one-fifth of the market to owning close to two-thirds by the end of the year," explained Dan Sommer, the senior research analyst at Gartner who follows the BI space and who issued the market stats in a report. "That marks a pendulum shift from a market driven by best-of-breeds to one dominated by megavendors. However, many smaller independent BI vendors grew faster than the market, and we expect continued innovation and new vendors to enter the market."

Business Objects, when thought of as a separate company, had $939.6 million in sales in 2007, up 7.9 percent, giving it the number one slot, followed by the SAS Institute, with $752.3 million in sales, up 13 percent. Cognos was number three, with $710 million in sales, up 14.2 percent, with Microsoft coming in at number four with $547 million (up 20.2 percent), Oracle with $484.5 million (up 105 percent thanks to the Hyperion buy), and SAP at $408.5 million (up 33.3 percent). Other vendors accounted for $1.33 billion in BI software sales, but this segment of the market declined by 6.2 percent in 2007. If you add up SAP and Business Objects, the company is the undisputed BI software leader, with 26.3 percent of the total market in 2007. IBM plus Cognos gives it a virtual tie with SAS at 14.7 percent of the market, and Oracle plus all of Hyperion yields 10.6 percent of the BI pie last year.

As Gartner said earlier this year, it was expecting a slowdown in BI sales in 2007 in North America, and growth did slow down to 5 percent after hitting 16 percent in 2006 in this geographic region. This has as much to do with a weakening U.S. dollar as it does to a weakening of demand in developed economies where BI sales have been traditionally strong. That said, sales of BI software were growing "aggressively" in emerging markets and Germany and France had strong sales when reckoned in their local currencies; shifting French and German sales from the euro to the dollar actually makes them look worse since SAP and Business Objects are not based in the United States.


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