Wednesday, 26 February 2014 00:05

Australia to remain Asia Pacific’s ‘biggest' BI market

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Australian organisations are expected to spend $372.9 million on BI platforms this year, while in New Zealand market revenue is forecast to hit NZ$61.7 million as BI sales are expected to increase by 7.4% across the entire Asia Pacific region.

In its latest report on Business Intelligence sales, analysts Gartner forecasts that the Asia Pacific market for BI platforms will reach US$1.4 billion in revenue this year and more than $1.6 billion by 2017.

Gartner forecasts the growth in BI revenues as “data discovery and mobility create a revival in spending by business users.”

According to the author of the report on the competitive landscape for BI platforms in Asia Pacific, Gartner research director Bhavish Sood, growing interest in big data solutions will continue to positively impact BI spending across Asia Pacific in 2014 and beyond.

“Information intensive initiatives are popular in organisations in Asia Pacific's accelerating economies, because information is a competitive differentiator.

“We expect this to continue as organisations pursue regulatory compliance, performance management and overarching enterprise information management initiatives.”

Sood says that Australia will remain the region's biggest BI platform software market in the next few years, reaching $386.2 million (A$372.9 million) in 2014, up 5.4% over last year, and growing to US$443.5 million in 2017.

According to Gartner, growth in Australia's BI platform software market is driven by maintenance and new license revenue, with many clients in Australia looking at vendor consolidation as part of their overall BI competency center initiatives.

“As a developed market, Australia will maintain a more-stable revenue stream from existing maintenance revenue, despite fears of another economic downturn due to China and eurozone issues. The midmarket is also showing healthy signs of BI technology adoption,” Sood said.

In New Zealand, Gartner says the BI market is expected to grow 5.6% to US$50 million (NZ$61.7 million) in 2014 and US$55.8 million in 2017, with the local BI market sustained through maintenance revenue and BI investments made by government departments.

“New Zealand continues to be a test bed for the launch of major technologies in the Asia Pacific region because of its technology-savvy population,” Sood said.

Gartner said China will remain the second-largest BI software market in Asia Pacific through 2017, reaching US$217.3 million.

“Most often, BI solutions in China are used tactically in departmental deployments — as a reporting tool, rather than as a strategic platform to build up analytic capabilities to support decision making. Chinese organisations' relatively low-level maturity of the demand and supply sides of IT and analytic professionals creates extra challenges for BI technology adoption in China,” Sood says.

According to Gartner, in Asia Pacific, the top four "megavendors" — SAP, Microsoft, Oracle and IBM — controlled 72.2% of the BI platform market in 2012, up from 65% in 2011. Gartner analysts said, however, that business units increasingly prefer data discovery solutions, such as Tibco Spotfire, QlikTech and Tableau Software, “while their counterparts in IT are still more comfortable procuring from megavendors.”

And, according to Gartner research director Daniel Yuen, China will be the next battleground for vendor market share.

“In the past, due to cultural and market issues, many vendors hesitated before planning an entry into China. However, this is changing, and vendors are slowly waking up to the reality that China represents one of the largest custom development markets, and they are executing to grab market share there.

“Interest in big data has also spiked; however, confusion around the terms ‘analytics’, ‘big data’ and ‘BI’ have started to disrupt the Chinese market, and we expect this trend will result in slowing BI spending cycles in 2014,” Yuen said.

Gartner predicts that the BI industry landscape will evolve considerably in the next three to five years, and lists some important trends it expects to evolve during that time:

Big Data Use Cases Are Maturing, but today it's all about Hadoop

Customers across the region are keen to harness the innovative capabilities of Hadoop. Most big data discussions tend to be mired in the technical capabilities of Hadoop, rather than focusing on the business problem or use case at hand. Because not many vendors in the region can offer both the technology and the business analytics capabilities, implementation issues are bound to arise. Most open governments, such as in Australia, promote the publication of great quantities of data in raw format in an effort to use data in meaningful ways for its citizens. This, along with smart city initiatives being promoted by several governments Hadoop; will be an important part of governments' information management strategy.

Mobility and Data Discovery Approaches Enhance Experience of Business Users

In Asia Pacific, mobile BI is being used as an information distribution channel for "road warriors." The use case is simply the mobilisation of existing content — from basic reports to elaborate dashboards — targeted at current BI users. By following a different strategy, CIOs can use mobile BI to reach new constituencies, not necessarily those on the go.  By making it fun and easy to use, BI will appeal to nontraditional users — those mainstream users who don't enjoy staring at a grid all day.

The Asia Pacific Market Is Opening Up for Specialist BI and Analytics Vendors

When it comes to advanced analytics, Asia Pacific organisations are willing to examine products from smaller niche companies that offer packaged analytical applications that solve a particular business pain point. This is possibly due to the scarcity of skill sets in the market and the pressure on IT from business folks to deploy BI. As a result, clients are open to buying packaged analytical applications to address specific pain points and niche problems. One clear distinction is that, unlike platform sellers, these vendors predominantly sell to business buyers.

Low-Cost Alternatives

Apart from megavendors and emerging vendors, several low-cost alternatives are available in the market. These vendors saw an uptick in demand mostly from 2007 through 2012 as the megavendors worked on integrating their products. As a result, lower-cost local vendors, such as Yellowfin, TechnologyOne, Open Soft Technology and MAIA Intelligence, built a loyal user base, and they continue to gain market traction.

Additionally, open-source vendors, such as Jaspersoft, Actuate and Pentaho, are improving their products and continue to have mind share among government buyers and high-tech clients, especially product independent software vendors (ISVs).

More detailed analysis is available in the Gartner report "Competitive Landscape: BI Platforms, Asia/Pacific on Gartner's web site


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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired and is a "volunteer" writer for iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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