Gartner Magic Quadrant For Self-service Business Intelligence: A Extensive Direct – Microsoft remains “up and to the right” in Gartner’s new Magic Quadrant for Analytics and Business Intelligence Platforms, while major competitors have actually dropped in and out. We spoke with Microsoft’s Amir Netz, the “father” of Power BI, to learn about the product’s success.
A new Gartner Magic Quadrant for analytics and business intelligence (BI) is out, and Microsoft is back in the “Leaders” quadrant (see figure above). In fact, according to Microsoft, this is their 14th consecutive year as the leader in BI. While Microsoft is pretty much in the same place as last year, its closest competitors have lost ground. Thoughtspot fell into the Visionaries quadrant. Qlik, while rising along the ‘completeness of vision’ axis, fell on the ‘ability to execute’. Tableau, on the other hand, regressed on both dimensions.
Gartner Magic Quadrant For Self-service Business Intelligence: A Extensive Direct
This gives Microsoft and its Power BI mogul a huge advantage over the competition. And while it’s tempting to see Microsoft as a behemoth that’s winning because of its weight and industry dominance, I can say — from personal experience — that it wasn’t always that way. I’ve worked with Microsoft’s BI stack since its inception in the late 1990s, and served on the company’s BI Partner Advisory Council (PAC) from roughly 2005 to 2011. During that time, while Microsoft had a server platform of BI dominant in SQL Server Analysis Services, its prowess on the applications and self-service data visualization side has been characterized primarily by 15 years of change and demise.
What Is Self Service Business Intelligence (self Service Bi)?
So what changed? What did Microsoft start doing right? And how did you leverage your genuine achievements on the platform side of enterprise BI? To get some insight from the Microsoft side, I had an hour-long conversation with Amir Netz, a Microsoft Technical Fellow, who is essentially the father of Power BI. Netz came to Microsoft from an Israeli BI company (now based in Canada) called Panorama Software, after Microsoft bought technology from Panorama in 1996 that would eventually become Analysis Services. Since meeting him 15 years ago during my tenure at Microsoft’s BI PAC, I’ve known Netz to be talented as a technologist, strategist, and salesperson. That’s why I was interested in his take, even though I was prepared for a promotional narrative.
Netz says that the traction and success that Power BI achieved in its first two years of life was mainly due to the low cost of the product (Power BI Desktop is free, like the entry-level cloud subscription), the low-friction adoption that the enabled price point and the enthusiastic and important user/customer community generated by both. He also believes that going “all in” in the cloud, at a time when most corporate data was still on premises, was a big gamble that paid off in good fortune. He credits that decision, and the tenacity to carry it out despite a very skeptical product team, to James Phillips, Microsoft’s president of business applications. Phillips came to Microsoft from Couchbase, where he was co-founder and CEO in the company’s early days. Although Netz didn’t say it, it’s pretty clear that bringing Phillips’ startup mindset to Microsoft made a big difference in Power BI’s success.
Perhaps also attributable to Phillips, the Power BI team has adopted a cadence of monthly product updates, adding new features to the product at an unprecedented rate. When I was in Microsoft’s BI PAC, platform updates could only be sent when SQL Server or Microsoft Office released a new version, which meant updates every 18 months, at best. Along with the night-and-day shift in the pace of innovation has come new transparency, with members of the Power BI product team, including developers and program managers, engaging with the community prolifically, via blogs and social media, as well as of accompanying videos. the monthly releases of the product.
That amount of community engagement has really helped Power BI. While most people assume that Microsoft can push new products with ease due to its dominant market position, the reality is that Microsoft’s new products face an uphill battle and are at a disadvantage against products from startups and other smaller companies. . The reason is simple: Microsoft’s field salespeople have always focused on selling large, well-established products and services, such as Office, SQL Server, and now Azure, to reach their aggressive quotas. In contrast, field sales had very limited bandwidth to push new products with low prices. And unlike well-funded startups that hire their own enterprise sales force, Microsoft’s product teams have no such luxury.
Zoho’s Recognition In The 2022 Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ For Analytics And Bi Platforms
But the low price and great community can only take you so far. So what happened next to sustain growth? Netz said that all the forays Microsoft has made into the self-service BI space at the individual user and departmental level have often led to widespread corporate adoption afterward. And that meant the product had to adapt to the company’s demands. Meanwhile, because of its Analysis Services heritage (and the fact that Power BI and Analysis Services shared core engine technology), Microsoft was ready for the enterprise scalability test and resisted. Ultimately, Power BI went from a tool that overcompensated for Microsoft’s former self-service BI shortcomings to a platform that balanced self-service and enterprise strengths.
The introduction of Power BI Premium formalized that duality. Its relatively high cost of entry, starting at around $5,000 per organization/month (versus $10 per user/month for Power BI Professional) actually made better economic sense for the large corporations it was targeting. On top of everything else, the enterprise push meant that all professionals who built careers in Microsoft’s enterprise BI stack could enter the Power BI ecosystem and community. This was a proverbial win-win: those professionals got new marketing and were able to extend their franchise to the cloud, and Microsoft gained even more momentum in the BI market.
Another hallmark of Power BI was its integration with other strategic Microsoft platforms. This includes Excel; Azure Synapse Analytics, the company’s cloud-based data warehouse and data lake analytics platform; Azure Machine Learning; Azure Purview, Microsoft’s data catalog and governance platform that was recently released in public preview; and, most importantly, especially in the Pandemic era, Microsoft Teams.
Netz says the goal with the Teams integration is to make data as fundamental as chat and calendar, to make it a click away, allowing for incidental analysis through “want to know more?” scenarios Netz says that this cultural change has already taken root at Microsoft, claiming that data now comprises a good 50 percent of the content of internal presentations to Microsoft management.
Microsoft Breaks Through In The Gartner Magic Quadrant For Business Intelligence And Analytics Platforms
This was a very long post and there wasn’t room to tell every aspect of the story, but I’ll end by noting that, just as Power BI did, it certainly faces some challenges. For example, the lack of a Power BI Desktop client for Mac deprives Microsoft of the vast community of data scientists, developers, analysts and business users at startups that almost universally shun Windows. Once upon a time, Tableau was also Windows only. It addressed this by offering a fully functional web browser interface and a genuine Mac client. And that became the default for the aforementioned Mac-prone groups.
Speaking of Tableau, its acquisition by Salesforce, which also recently acquired Slack, means that the Power BI-Teams integration will likely have some serious competition. Another problem, as Gartner pointed out in its report, is that Power BI naturally has a strong affinity with the Azure cloud, which creates something of an adoption barrier for the multi-cloud crowd. Tableau and independents like Qlik, Sisense, and ThoughtSpot don’t have that problem. And even Google Cloud’s own Looker is more cloud-independent, having come to Google through acquisition.
So yes, Power BI is at the forefront and doing well. But you need to keep looking over your shoulder, because the world of BI will continue to be hyper-competitive, growth-driven and strategic, for customers, large enterprise software vendors and public cloud providers alike. The good omen for Microsoft in all of this is that the Power BI team
This, and be careful to keep the “old Microsoft” arrogance in check. Perhaps most importantly, the team has maintained very high morale throughout the life of the product. In other words, the team is having fun. The result is a product that’s fun to use, something that resonates with partners and customers. It also seems to help with analyst firms.
As Power Bi Aces Gartner’s New Magic Quadrant, What’s The Story Behind Microsoft’s Success?
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