BI Buoys Software Sales

The business intelligence (BI) market continued to see healthy growth in 2005, and it shows no signs of languishing, according to an annual report from research firm IDC.

The BI market grew 11.5 percent last year, topping $5.7 billion for query, reporting, analysis and advanced analytics software.

Such products help companies get a better understanding about how their businesses are performing, potentially improving the way managers make decisions or predict future performance.

The BI market has undergone a steady stream of consolidation in the past few years, as larger vendors, such as Business Objects , Cognos , Microsoft  and Hyperion  have sought to fortify their positions in a competitive market.

These upper-echelon vendor acquisitions help them increase their revenues and market share. IDC said it expects this buy-to-gain-share trend to continue.

Business Objects continued to lead the market in 2005, netting $795.3 million, good for 13.9 percent of the market.

At more than $200 million less for the year, SAS Institute was next at $582.4 million with a 10.2 percent share.

Cognos (9.9 percent), Microsoft (6.2 percent) and Hyperion (5 percent) rounded out the top five BI software makers.

Microsoft, which saw a 125 percent growth in 2004 thanks to the uptake in SQL Server Reporting Services, experienced some carry over from that product, sporting the most growth in 2005 at 25.5 percent.

The company could boost that growth after acquiring analytics server specialist ProClarity, which grew 21 percent in 2005, earlier this year.

In other trends, BI server products embedded in databases, such as OLAP , data mining and reporting servers, led the growth spurt at 19.9 percent, with standalone products notching 10.7 percent.

Also, the Americas accounted for 53 percent of the total BI spending, with Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), as well as the Asia-Pacific region following at $35.8 percent and 11.3 percent, respectively.

Going forward, IDC said the high-tech space is entering a new market cycle that will carry BI through 2020. More users will access query and reporting tools and organizations will plant BI software into applications that support their businesses.

Moreover, BI will become part of the broader business process, extending from the internal organization to third parties, such as partners, suppliers and customers.

BI will also factor more into operational systems, helping admins get back online before service degradation costs the company money.

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