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BI for the mid-market

Can a medium-sized company afford a data warehouse? What is the business case?

Until recently, business intelligence solution providers targeted enterprise customers due to organization size and revenue potential. With perceived market saturation within enterprise organizations, there is an emergence of solutions targeted at mid-sized companies. Leading vendors, newer entrants and niche vendors compete for market share and dominance within the mid-market without a way to identify actual adoption patterns and awareness of available offerings. The goal of the BI for Mid-Market Survey was to identify adoption and awareness patterns of business intelligence (BI) within small and mid-sized companies.

144 respondents completed the survey that was distributed through website links and newsletter advertisements. Of the total number of respondents, 123 are included as part of the overall results. Of these, 48% work within IT; 17% work in sales, marketing and product development; and 12% fall within executive management. Industry breakdowns of respondents include 16% in healthcare/life sciences, 13% in financial services and 12% in manufacturing.

Survey questions included identifying whether organizations were currently using business intelligence, why they are or are not using business intelligence, how they are applying BI applications and what their levels of general satisfaction are with their current offerings. Moving beyond general use, respondents were also asked to identify ways they feel solution providers can better meet mid-market needs and the overall awareness of what offerings are available.

Current business intelligence use is rated at 66% of overall respondents. For organizations not currently using business intelligence, 41% are either in the midst of an implementation or will be implementing BI within the next 12 months. Eighteen percent of respondents plan to implement a BI solution in 1 to 3 years, whereas 33% do not see BI as a current consideration within their organization at all.

Fifty-two percent of respondents feel that mid-market offerings meet the needs of organizations. The remaining 48% is split between respondents who do not think that vendors are meeting the requirements of mid-market companies (at 25%) and respondents who do not know (at 23%).

With only half of respondents being satisfied with what is available, either solution providers are not hitting the mark in regard to what mid-market companies require, or organizations are unaware of the various solutions available to them. Respondents state that vendors can better meet the needs of organizations by lowering prices, making BI more user friendly, increasing embedded applications and educating organizations in ways to help generate management buy-in.

Respondents’ current use and product awareness overlap. In order, the top five shortlisted vendors by respondents are Business Objects, Cognos, Microsoft, Oracle and MicroStrategy. Consequently, the highest levels of awareness of mid-market products are Microsoft, Business Objects, Cognos, Oracle and MicroStrategy, respectively. When comparing these responses with current use, the answers only differ slightly, with respondents listing their top five current BI providers as Business Objects, Microsoft, Cognos, SAS and MicroStrategy. It makes sense that awareness levels mirror use, but these responses leave questions unanswered such as whether the correlation between overall awareness and use extend to include overall market awareness, or whether organizations are aware of mid-market solutions because these are the solutions they deploy.

Some additional survey insights include:

  • Identified inhibitors to BI implementation include price, lack of knowledge of how BI can benefit the organization, and BI not being an overall priority for the organization.

  • General BI drivers include wanting a better view of overall performance and process improvement.

  • Respondents rate finance and accounting, interactive reporting, sales planning and trends analysis as the most popular uses of business intelligence in their organizations.

  • Web-based deployments are most popular, with open source and on-demand trailing far behind.

To read the full report, please click here.

  • Lyndsay WiseLyndsay Wise

    Lyndsay is the President and Founder of WiseAnalytics, an independent analyst firm specializing in business intelligence, master data management and unstructured data. For more than seven years, she has assisted clients in business systems analysis, software selection and implementation of enterprise applications. Lyndsay conducts regular research studies, consults, writes articles and speaks about improving the value of business intelligence within organizations. She can be reached at

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