Gartner has released the 2008 Magic Quadrant for BI Platforms.
Looks like BI has come of age, according to Gartner. We have leveled off and are coasting rather than innovating.
Note that for the 2008 Magic Quadrant, given the maturity of the market, the Innovation criterion was not rated separately. Instead, it was factored into the Market Understanding and Offering (Product) Strategy criteria.
SAS is the visionary leader, not much surprise here. Microsoft and Cognos are the overall leaders. Panorama, arcplan, and newcomer Board International are all niche players.
Truly the last two years have been one of consolidation. The next few years should see another round of innovation and new product offerings, if the cycles continue.
One interesting product that IBM returned to the mothership was Cognos. It's technology that came out of IBM now returning to the fold.
The one player that's missing from this puzzle? Google.
Companies such as Panorama are now promoting integration with Google technologies, though this article from 2006 seems to promote the idea of Google itself as a BI tool. When I think of BI in terms of the quadrant I think of reporting rather than searching, so Google really doesn't fit into this space just yet - unless you want to count Google Analytics.
It will be interesting to see what the next year brings, with the launch of SQL 2008, PerformancePoint improvements, Microsoft's MDM tools, integration of Cognos and Applix with IBM software, and whatever happens with SAP and their BO.
My first pick would be an easy-to-use tool that brings relational, unstructured and multidimensional cube data together under one umbrella with point & click or easily maintainable scripts for ETL consolidation and data scrubbing, and a place to put planning numbers and napkin-style forecasts. Preferably with some fancy charts, graphs, dashboards, and output to PDF, Powerpoint & Excel (and Visio?). Without any installation or security hassles, java virtual machines, memory leaks, bloatware, or incompatibilities with other software.
Too much to ask?