March Madness of Business Intelligence - Pick your winning bracket

The promise of Big Data is in analytics and how companies can derive business intelligence to help them make data-driven decisions. A data-driven culture in organizations requires investments in people, processes, and technology. Even though technology alone will not answer all questions, I have to admit that recent advances in Business Intelligence (BI) and Analytics tools and technologies made it possible for business users to derive business insights without active involvement from IT. And this trend is making the BI and analytics field very exciting.

This article is meant to arm you with a quick overview of key BI and Analytics technologies so you can be dangerous enough to ask relevant questions and do enough damage to make some data-driven decisions (Gasp). Gartner recently came out with their annual Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence and Analytics in four categories titled Leaders, Visionaries, Challengers, and Niche players. I distilled their 80 page research report to give you a concise summary with my own commentary. To make the article more appealing, I created a game for you.

In the US, college basketball really comes alive in March when 64 top teams are pitted against each other in what’s called a ‘March Madness’ and these 64 teams are divided into four regions East, West, Midwest, and South. Apparently, $3 billion+ (yes, that’s in billions) is bet on correctly calling the winners. In a similar vein, I created a ‘BI and Analytics Madness bracket’ for you to play and learn some new things on the way. I picked 32 BI and Analytics vendors based on Gartner’s magic quadrant’s participants from the last 3 years. Gartner only picks 24 vendors each year but I needed 32 vendors to evenly divide them into 4 sections.

I relied on Gartner’s 2017 magic quadrant to seed my ‘teams’ with Leaders and Visionaries earning top seeds. Seeding beyond the top seeds is still somewhat based on Gartner report but I did not follow any rigorous criteria. So please don’t ask me to provide detailed criteria. I am expecting some flak for my seeding as people are very religious about their ‘favorite’ team/vendor.

I am attaching the complete bracket below. So let the games begin.

I gave more details on each of these products below the bracket.

The images below give you a summary of these 32 vendors, their web URLs and information on free trial if available. I had to split them into 4 sections of 8 products each to make them readable. If you want my original excel file with hyperlinks, please send me a note. As many of the solutions have free trials, I suggest that you download their software and try it out with some excel data and any free data source that is available on the web. You’ll be pretty amazed what these packages can do.

Hope you liked the article. Please feel free to like, share and comment. 

About Ramesh Dontha

Ramesh Dontha is Managing Partner at Digital Transformation Pro , a management consulting company focusing on Data Strategy, Data Governance, Data Quality, Big Data and related Data management practices. For more than 15 years, Ramesh has put together successful strategies and implementation plans to meet/exceed business objectives and deliver business value. His personal passion is to demystify the intricacies of big data, data strategy, data governance and data management and make them applicable to business strategies and objectives. Ramesh can either be reached on LinkedIn or Twitter (@rkdontha1) or via email:  rkdontha AT DigitalTransformationPro.com


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Comment by Rick Henderson on March 30, 2017 at 8:25am

When I first glanced at the image I thought you were suggesting putting together a March Madness prediction using some BI tool. I'd challenge people to that. S. Christian Albright used to put out a March Madness simulator in Excel (coded in VBA) that he'd update every year with current statistics which was quite interesting.

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