Tag Archives: IBM

Visual Data Discovery: Eat Lunch, or Be Lunch…?

It’s time.  Already.

Monumental shifts in the software industry often follow a 3 phase pattern that inevitably leaves blood on the floor when the dust has settled:

  1. Cheeky young upstart enters the market with a great new idea
  2. Cheeky young upstart starts to rake in serious sales revenue
  3. Established vendors react to nullify the threat and protect their own revenues

Think Netscape and Microsoft. Or MySQL and Oracle – there are plenty of examples.

It’s almost hard to believe, but the still fledgling visual data discovery market is already entering stage 3.  A shake out is inevitable, and inevitably there will be blood on the floor.  The only question is, whose blood?

Of course, if I actually knew the answer to that I’d be a wealthy man. I don’t, and I’m not. But, there are definitely some interesting angles to explore and I’ll be doing that in a series of blogs over the next few months. For example:

  • Is Qliktech, one of the pioneering visual data discovery vendors, struggling, or merely consolidating before it pushes on to bigger and better things? Notably, in Q3 last year, Qlik grew it’s maintenance revenues by almost three times as much as licence revenues (33% vs. 12%).  The full year financial report is on February 20th. so I’ll be trying to get more insight from that.
  • Tableau are reporting their latest financials on February 4th. I love Tableau as a product, it’s just such fun to use. But as a company there are surely challenges ahead. Excellent though Tableau is at visual data discovery, it has no ambitions that I know of to provide a full portfolio of BI solutions. That will become a problem (see below).
  • And then, there are the older, long established BI vendors that have been in the reporting and/or dashboard game for many years:  SAP, Oracle, IBM Cognos, MicroStrategy and Information Builders just to name the biggest and most well known.  Now that vendors such as Qliktech, Tableau and TIBCO Spotfire have clearly shown the potential (measured in dollars) of a new class of BI tool, the established vendors all want a piece of the action too.  Hence the introduction of SAP Lumira, MicroStrategy Analytics Desktop etc. over the last 18 months.  The key question here is when will “Free and good enough” trump “License fee for best in class”.

Although still nascent, this market will start to go through some serious upheaval that will play out over the next two or three years.  I’m going to enjoy watching it and I’d like to invite you along for the ride.  Stay tuned!