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BI has always been a rich vain of the IT industry. Rich because there was so much excellent competition. The really cool thing about many BI products was that they effectively could bolt onto most of the popular databases so it was pretty straight forward to chop and change and to also build your capability into one tool!

The larger IT vendors however where not leaders in the BI space. The leader were the specialists, the experts. Now sadly the bigger BI vendors and market leaders are nearly all gone snapped up by Oracle, SAP, Microsoft and IBM.

This is not good for the customer.

Yes I'm sure that Cognos 8 will work on SQL Server 2008 or Oracle 11i just fine in two years from now but I bet there will be tasty exclusive features if you run it on DB2 all in aid of enticing you away.

Proprietary features are indeed nothing more than semi vendor lock-in, an old evil of the computer industry that these days hides in plain sight.

Now, I don't mind a company wanting to make a buck, that's fine, but I prefer my battle grounds to be price and service. As a customer, getting price and service right is pretty much a dead cert that your business will be successful. However getting these things right is just so hard for the big vendors because they must continue to make extreme amounts of revenue to continue to grow. Hence why use vendor lock-in as it prevents valuable revenue foundation from leaving, i.e. customers that continue to buy upgrades moving to a competitor. And yes, 'prevent' is the right word, calling it anything else like, 'a degree of difficulty' is just window dressing in my book.

The warning shot is that BI is a valuable product but I fear will start to slip into an inaccessible space because of the additional baggage that is now bound to come with it, i.e. 'you are strongly encouraged to run BI on our database we will find it difficult to support you if you don't'. The justification piece will just be harder and will be to hard for a higher percentage than it is now.

The saving grace is that some of the smaller vendors, such as Qliktech, have now an opportunity to grow in a market segment that all of a sudden has become less crowded. So, as a customer I will be voting with my feet, I want vendor agnosticism as a core requirement for my BI because I have multiple platforms and I want to keep my BI consolidated, so I will be recommending a big set of product evaluation when the licensing due for renewal.

Posted on Sunday, November 18, 2007 12:21 AM Main , Technical Architecture | Back to top

Comments on this post: Where have all the vendor agnostic BI firms gone?

# re: Where have all the vendor agnostic BI firms gone?
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Good man - couldn't agree more...

I set my stall out (and my livelihood) as a QlikView reseller nearly 3 years ago on basically your judgement above. I have not been disappointed other than in the cases where it is very difficult to sell against a pre-signed corporate deal for Cognos or BO so the minions get it free! They stil should expect to pay 2-3 times the licence cost they would have paid in implementation. In my experience with QlikView services are usually less than 25% of the licence cost. They never consider that Licence + services could with QlikView could be less than just licence for the others. Speed to a working application is (genuinely) a week or two not months.
Left by Philip Doyne on Nov 19, 2007 11:03 AM

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