Do you see it now? In October 2014, I wrote about Inevitable Analytics Market Commoditization. Then in April 2015, I covered the Analytics Industry Midlife Crisis. In January 2016, I warned of the intensifying BI Wars. A couple months later in April 2016, I shared Market Consolidation Buzz. With the Infor acquisition of Birst announcement this week, let’s revisit my predictions, where we are today and thoughts on where we are headed.


Same Same Same

In 2013 and 2014, numerous analytics vendors would reach out to me monthly asking for a Solution Review and guidance on how to go to market. When I asked what makes them unique and compelling, the pitches I heard were identical. World’s first, HTML 5, D3.js, Hadoop, cloud, self-service, and so on. I had no idea there could be so many world’s first of the same thing.

Although I knew the market was crowded, even I was surprised to learn that Gartner saw over 1000 new entrants in that space in 2014. Barriers to market entry have been reduced with cloud. Anyone can quickly build and scale an analytics solution, put a brand on it and start selling. Subscription SaaS-apps are a lucrative business model but not everyone can succeed.

What Happened

In the “analytics for everyone” market mix, we have Tableau (difficult 2016, evolving in 2017), Qlik (went private to evolve), TIBCO Spotfire (seeing some momentum), Salesforce Analytics Cloud “Wave” (bought BeyondCore), ZoomData (quietly powers Amazon QuickSight and ?), FICO Analytics Cloud (?), Looker (lots of noise with daily press releases), DataHero (?), DataRPM (bought by Progress), Jaspersoft (bought by TIBCO), Pentaho (bought by Hitachi), Advizor (?), Sisense (seeing some momentum), GoodData (?), Birst (bought by Infor), YellowFin (?), DOMO (same sales numbers), Datameer (?), Platfora (bought by Workday) Logi Analytics (?), Information Builders (?), Pyramid Analytics (seeing some momentum), Microsoft (aggressively staffed to get lost share back at any cost), Amazon AWS (finally getting serious about analytics), Google (strong cloud databases, free Data Studio in catch up mode), SAP (who will buy SAP to get ERP business as cloud wars heat up…Amazon? Google? Other?), IBM (losing market share, fantastic ideas…but missing something), SAS (seems to be losing market share), Oracle Cloud Analytics (seems to be losing market share), Microstrategy (?), and numerous other big and small players scrambling out there in analytics market madness.

To the typical business user that is not an analytics pro, most of these solutions do seem to be the same even when they are quite different. Same look, same marketing story, same saves time and allows users avoid evil IT. Differences are mainly in depth of features, development user experience, implementation model options (cloud, on-premise or both), licensing fees, customer experience, support and ecosystem.

Today and Tomorrow

Today cloud, big data, niche and traditional analytics solutions are all merging together at light-speed pace into analytics commoditization with the goal of getting your data to the cloud. Big tech vendors are offering apps for free to get your data. Don’t be naive… the goal is to up sell / cross-sell varied recurring cloud services that are not free. Cloud recurring revenue streams will be profitable and priceless. Big tech vendors are not charities. Public company investors need to see profitable revenue growth.

Apps for free to get your data. Don’t be naive… the goal is to up sell / cross-sell

Remember Oracle or SQL Server ETL, OLAP, and reporting modules that were free when you purchased a database? Those modules were often no longer free when you deployed them in real-world environments, pricing changed or when your enterprise agreement audit bill arrived. Unpleasant surprise bills from audits happen more often than most folks realize.


Smaller vendors do not go to market in this manner or treat customers this poorly. Old on-premises take share tactics are being used today.

Old on-premises take share tactics are being used today

Big tech vendors with huge sales armies, partners, community and cost advantages are flooding the market to move data to the cloud as quickly as possible. Countless peers of mine have been recruited into cloud roles to sell and move on-premises customers to the cloud.

Vendors with the best ecosystems that can cheaply scale “feet on the street” and dominate “voice in the market” are drowning out the competition. They usually do not have the best solutions. Today I encounter far more fake social media bots, fake crowd source reviews, and forced social selling than I ever did in the past. Media is also bought by big tech. Unbiased technology news and reviews seem to be on the brink of extinction. Welcome to an era where honest voices get censored and silenced. We just lost online internet privacy protections earlier this month. We are also at risk of losing net neutrality… to big tech.

We are also at risk of losing net neutrality… to big tech

Last week I posted a note about a real conversation with a real CEO of a large USA consulting firm. We were discussing the real analytics work that they see right now at clients. Although there are many cloud analytics POCs led and funded by big tech vendors, not much cloud analytics is in production. Today they still see 80% of analytics work on-premises.

Many cloud analytics POCs led and funded by big tech vendors, not seeing much cloud analytics in production

What I omitted from my note was the on-premises work being done is old ETL and OLAP technology sold with a new free data discovery desktop tool built by a big tech vendor. It seems like everyone has already moved or is in the process of moving to cloud when you look around. Truth be told…that move has just started.


Theunicorn “unicorn” the CEO can’t find is someone that knows old ETL and OLAP

The other tid bit that I left out is that this group received over 300 data scientist resumes just last month alone for one open role. Most of those 300 candidates were not data scientists but instead recently completed a free big tech vendor online course. The “unicorn” the CEO can’t find is someone that knows old ETL and OLAP.

reality check

I was shocked by how popular my real post was on LinkedIn. It got over 15,204 views so far, numerous comments but only 3 shares. Shhhh…on-premises isn’t the message big tech vendors want told. Don’t share that post.

Shhhh…on-premises isn’t the message big tech vendors want told

Big tech will do whatever it takes to win cloud share. In a digital world where big tech is more dominant and powerful than any government, they can do anything. Will a world with five big tech vendors be good for customers? It was big tech arrogance, politics and ignoring customers that fueled at least eight years of analytics market disruption led by Tableau, Qlik and TIBCO Spotfire. Are we taking more steps backward or forward when we consolidate?

Are we taking more steps backward or forward when we consolidate?

I sure hope there is opportunity for companies of all sizes to innovate and thrive in the future. Ultimately customers will decide.