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Keep up with technology's impact on business. This blog provides summaries of the latest industry research.



Recently in Evalubase Findings Category

Business Objects' planned acquisition of First Logic makes technology sense, but does it make customer sense?

Business Intelligence mainstay Business Objects announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Firstlogic, a long-time provider of data quality solutions.

In recent years, Business Objects has inched its way from the analytics side to the data management side of the data warehouse. Several years ago it acquired data integration technology from Acta, but had chosen to continue partnering its way to data quality. On its own part, Firstlogic has been looking for a home for quite a while. Recently however, Firstlogic backed out of an ill-advised planned acquisition by Pitney Bowes (that had recently acquired Group1, another data quality solution provider).

Although Firstlogic’s technology may fit with Business Objects’ portfolio, how will its customers and employees? Culturally, they couldn’t be further apart from a corporate perspective, with Business Objects based in France and Firstlogic based in the intimate upstate Wisconsin Mississippi river town of LaCrosse. (At least it sounds French.)

Users too seem to find a disparity of experience between the two firms. Evalubase’s ongoing study of the enterprise technology market place shows that Firstlogic could offer Business Objects a boost to its Vendor Respect Index™ (VRI). The VRI is a composite indicator of user satisfaction with vendors as an organization, irrespective of their technology. Business Objects currently maintains a VRI of 70 (out of 100), while Firstlogic has a much stronger VRI of 77.

Although Business Objects’ VRI is above average for business intelligence vendors, Firstlogic leads Business Objects in most vendor respect categories, including: responsiveness, ingenuity, support, sales, licensing practices, and service and training. This means that Firstlogic will need to take measures to maintain the intimacy and respect of their customers, while Business Objects might learn a thing or two from Firstlogic about how to do so.

About Evalubase Research

Evalubase is a market information services firm providing market research, enterprise technology ratings, dynamic peer scorecards, and consulting. The firm's rating measurements are based exclusively on responses from actual technology users. Evalubase helps IT vendors and IT departments optimize decision-making by Telling IT like it is®. Now in its third year, Evalubase’s continuous study of enterprise technology trends offers subscribers access to dozens of live ratings, ROI data, ranked buying criteria, and other key metrics supplied by actual users and implementers. This objective information about vendors, their competitors and their markets can be used to optimize product planning and marketing strategies. Participating business and IT professionals and departments are rewarded with instant, dynamic online scorecards quantitatively comparing their IT portfolio versus peer groups. (www.evalubase.com/getstarted.aspx) Evalubase can be reached via its website at www.evalubase.com.

Posted February 8, 2006 3:49 PM
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Current findings from Evalubase's ongoing study of the enterprise technology market show that among major classes of data management solutions, enterprises find the most value from their knowledge management solutions. And those fatidic analysts pronounced knowledge management dead!

View Evalubase Chart: Data Management Value Ratings

Well, Evalubase is no popularity contest. Certainly other classes of data management (e.g. DBMSs, data modeling, data quality) have greater claims of ubiquity. But those enterprise that have made a commitment to KM in one form or another are evidently quite pleased with the bang-for-the-buck they've receieved.

Coming a close second in user perceived value are data quality solutions, followed by data modeling, and data integration/middleware. Metadata management solutions and document/content management solutions fair considerably lower in the Evalubase value ratings. And DBMS solutions, while they undoubtedly offer critical capabilities for any enterprise, apparently have a greater cost-of-ownership versus their apparent benefits.

So, as your IT department considers how to wisely finish spending its '05 budget, the smart money may be on knowledge.

Just telling IT like it is,

Be sure to make your voice heard, get instant peer comparison scorecards, and qualify your IT department for complimentary access to all Evalubase research. Submit a confidential evaluation or two of your favorite (or least favorite) products today: www.evalubase.com

Posted August 9, 2005 7:39 PM
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According to current user ratings tracked by Evalubase Research, the overall experience with metadata management and repository solutions is somewhat mediocre compared to data management solutions on average.

View Metadata Category Ratings
View Data Management Category Ratings

All but one metadata product sub-rating are 1-9 points (out of 100) lower than data management solutions overall. Only the maintainability score for metadata products outshines data management solutions (e.g. data integration, data administration, DBMS, content management).

In particular, users find the functionality, efficiency, reliability, compatibility, portability, usability, security lacking compared to their experiences with other data management products. They also express that their level of satisfaction with the product and the product's ultimate value lower than with the rest of their data management portfolio.

The biggest relative difference is found in usability. IT professionals give their data management solutions overall a solid 73/100, whereas metadata solutions usability scores a mere 64.

Interestingly, maintainability (73) is the strongest characteristic of metadata solutions, but the usability (64) is the weakest characteristic (other than portability). This would indicate that metadata solutions embody sufficient flexibility to accommodate user needs, but often fall short in user interface features.

Certainly metadata vendors need to focus more on a bit of sex and sizzle, and consider (as the market demands) enabling their Windows-only wares on another platform or two. But could these lesser experiences indicate that IT organizations should expect to require outside consulting or additional staff to implement metadata solutions effectively? In a future entry, we'll look into metadata staffing trends.

Just telling IT like it is,

Be sure to make your voice heard, get instant peer comparison scorecards, and qualify for complimentary access to all Evalubase research. Submit a confidential evaluation or two of your favorite (or least favorite) BI products today: www.evalubase.com

Posted July 20, 2005 9:21 PM
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Ok, enough with bashing the analyst firms. Let's berate some vendors! (Just kidding of course.) One of the more interesting Evalubase Research findings, however, is the variance in how IT professionals like you rate vendor credibility--both among different classes of technology and among vendors themselves.

Maybe this is because people really like people who tell them the truth, operate in a forthright manner, and follow-up on their commitments...and really dislike those who don't. Let's face it, the DW/BI market place is as competitive, if not more competitive, than it's ever been. Evalubase is tracking--that is, you all have evaluated--well over 100 vendors already in this space. This ultra-competitiveness means some vendors will say/do almost anything to win business. Others have developed and thrived on a culture of trust between vendor and customer.

Some say that vendors that are aggressive in winning your business will be aggressive in keeping it. But really, is the person who sold you the product the same one who's helping you implement it or the same one who's supporting it. Rarely, and only in startups. But when it comes to BI bravura, let's not confuse aggression with passion, or with credibility.

Credibility is one of those characteristics (Evalubase tracks two-dozen such metrics on vendors and their wares) that pervades almost every aspect of a vendor's interaction with you. From press-releases to marketing materials to tradeshows to sales calls to demonstrations to product trials to negotiating licenses to training to services to support (and everything in-between) vendors have every opportunity to gain or lose your trust. Don't let them forget that.

Within this market, you and your colleagues give vendors of data administration-related tools the highest credibility score, followed by data integration, data quality, metadata/repositories, and data modeling vendors. Then it drops off considerably with business intelligence, portal and database vendors sporting lagging credibility indices overall.

View Evalubase Chart

Looking at a select sample of some of the vendors in the space, it probably won't come as any surprise to see SAS with an outstanding credibility rating. Having been around since 3500 B.C. if I'm not mistaken, SAS has simply nailed the do-right-by-customers culture. Not a bad example for vendors that want to be around another three years, let alone another thirty. Other highly-credible vendors in this mix include Ascential, Embarcadero, Business Objects and Firstlogic. But compare also how each stacks-up to the average within their predominant technology class.

View Evalubase Chart

In the end, credibility is all about setting expectations that can be met and meeting expectations that have been set. Let's see what we can all do to avoid setting vendors down the slippery slope or into tangled webs. Vendor credibility traps really don't help anyone. Much of the "column fodder" I see in gordian RFPs is one thing that comes to mind.

Just telling IT like it is,

Be sure to make your voice heard, get instant peer comparison scorecards, and qualify for complimentary access to all Evalubase research. Submit a confidential evaluation or two of your favorite (or least favorite) BI products today: www.evalubase.com

Posted June 1, 2005 7:50 PM
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As I have cautioned several times, Evalubase's research method comprises an ongoing study of the enterprise technology market. While our method is imminently more empirical (and far less magical) than "quadrant" type charts and doesn't include any vendor supplied data whatsoever, some of our data is quite preliminary. We caution vendors in particular about spouting any of these findings without checking with us first.

That disclaimer out of the way, here are current overall technology and vendor ratings for solutions/vendors predominant in the data warehouse market. Vendors offering business intelligence, data integration, data administration/modeling, data quality and metadata management solutions were selected for this comparison.

Overall technology ratings comprise user-supplied ratings of functionality, performance, scalability, maintainability, usability, security, portability, ease of integration, ease of implementation, satisfaction and value. Overall vendor ratings comprise user scores of the vendor's credibility, responsiveness, ingenuity, support, vitality, sales process, marketing, legal & accounting functions, licensing practices, and services & training capabilities.

At present, Actuate, Embarcadero, Ascential, Business Objects, Data Advantage Group, Firstlogic and SAS enjoy an early overall lead. Following them are Computer Associates, MelissaData, Siebel, DataFlux, i-Way, Information Builders, Informatica, Microstrategy and Cognos.

View Evalubase Chart

Many of the current scores are actually pretty close. We'll see what happens over time as you and your colleagues participate in the ongoing study. In time, we'll compare particular attributes of key competitors and study how (for example) their customer support ratings and ROI numbers evolve over time.

See you at the TDWI and Wilshire/DAMA events this month!

Just telling IT like it is,

Be sure to make your voice heard, get instant peer comparison scorecards, and qualify for complimentary access to all Evalubase research. Submit a confidential evaluation or two of your favorite (or least favorite) BI products today: www.evalubase.com

Posted May 16, 2005 3:59 PM
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