Business Intelligence Tools
What Is the FrontRunners Quadrant?
A Graphic of the Top-Performing BI Products
FrontRunners quadrants highlight the top software products for North American small businesses. All products in the quadrant are top performers. Small businesses can use FrontRunners to make more informed decisions about what software is right for them.
To create this quadrant, we evaluated over 200 BI products. Those with the top scores for their capability and value made the quadrant.
Scores are based largely on reviews from real software users, along with other product performance details (e.g. what features they offer, how many customers they have).
Is One Quadrant Better Than the Others?
Nope, Products in Any Quadrant May Fit Your Needs
Every product in this quadrant offers a balance of capability (how much the products can do) and value (whether they re worth their cost) that makes them stand out in the race for small business software success. Moreover, we ve homed in on products that offer the right set of capabilities for this market.
FrontRunners has four sub-quadrants:
- Upper Right = Leaders: Leaders are all-around strong products. They offer a wide range of functionality to a wide range of customers. These products are considered highly valuable by customers.
- Upper Left = Masters: Masters may focus more heavily on certain key features or market segments than Leaders do. If you need a more specialized set of functionality without bells and whistles, then a product in the Masters quadrant might be right for you.
- Lower Right = Pacesetters: Pacesetters may offer a strong set of features, but are not rated as highly on value. For example, a Pacesetter might offer greater functionality, but cost more.
- Lower Left = Contenders: Contenders may focus on a more specialized set of capabilities that are priced at a higher point. This makes them ideal for companies willing to pay more for specific features that meet their unique needs.
Depending on the specific needs of a software buyer, a product in any of these sub-quadrants could be a good fit.
Why? To even be considered for this FrontRunners, a product had to achieve a minimum user rating score of 3.8 for capability and 3.8 for value. This means that all products that qualify as FrontRunners are top-performing products in their market. Their positions in the quadrant are plotted relative to how their peers performed.
For some buyers, a specific FrontRunners quadrant might be best. For example, products in the leaders quadrant have very high ratings for both product capabilities and value provided to users. However, these products may use licensing schemes that are more expensive for small businesses than dashboard-focused vendors in the contenders and pacesetters quadrants, even though contenders and pacesetters such as Domo and Birst offer comparable functionality.
You can download the full FrontRunners for BI report here. It contains individual scorecards for each product on the Frontrunners quadrant.
How Are FrontRunners Products Selected?
Products Are Scored Based on User Reviews and Other Data
You can find the full FrontRunners methodology here. but the gist is that products are scored in two areas, Capability and Value.
To be considered at all, products must have at least 10 reviews and achieve minimum user rating scores. They also have to offer a core set of functionality for example, self-service visual analytics and custom dashboards.
From there, user reviews and other product performance details, such as the product’s customer base and the features it offers, dictate the Capability and Value scores. Capability is plotted on the x-axis, and Value is plotted on the y-axis.
Got It. But What if I Have More Questions?
Check Out Our Additional Resources!
For more information about FrontRunners, check out the following:
- Check out the FrontRunners frequently asked questions (FAQ) for more detailed answers and information about how it works.
- Check out the complete FrontRunners methodology to understand the scoring.
Have questions about how to choose the right product for you? You re in luck! Every day, our team of advisors provides (free) customized shortlists of products to hundreds of small businesses.
- Simply take this short questionnaire to help us match you with products that meet your specific needs.
- Or, talk to one of our experienced software advisors about your needs it s quick, free, and there s no-obligation by calling (844) 687-6771.
One Last Thing How Do I Reference FrontRunners?
Just Follow Our External Usage Guidelines
Check out the FrontRunners External Usage Guidelines when referencing FrontRunners content. Except in digital media with character limitations, the following disclaimer MUST appear with any/all FrontRunners reference(s) and graphic use:
FrontRunners scores and graphics are derived from individual end-user reviews based on their own experiences, vendor-supplied information and publicly available product information; they do not represent the views of Gartner or its affiliates.
Providers listed as Runners Up were considered for inclusion in the quadrant, but were ultimately not included for one or more reasons: they did not have enough reviews; they did not meet the reviews score minimum; they did not meet the ultimate Value and Capability minimum scores; or they did not meet our functionality requirements for the market.
Business intelligence (BI) software has gained considerable traction since its introduction as “decision support systems” in the 1960s. Today, there are over 100 BI software companies selling some type of business intelligence tool. We put together this buyer’s guide to help buyers understand the market. In this guide, we’ll review:
What Is Business Intelligence Software?
BI software helps organizations organize and analyze data to make better decisions. This could include internal data from company departments as well as from external sources, such as marketing data services, social media channels or even macroeconomic information.
The BI market is growing rapidly because of the proliferation of data to analyze. Over the past few decades, companies that have deployed Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and other applications are now sitting on a mountain of data that can be analyzed. In addition, the growth of the Web has increased the demand for tools that can analyze large data sets.
One of the biggest trends in the BI market is the shift in software architecture and design to more user-friendly applications. These applications are now being used by business users not just IT staff to analyze particular sets of departmental data, including marketing, procurement, retail and Web data.
Common Features of Business Intelligence Software
BI software can be divided into three broad application categories: data management tools, data discovery applications and reporting tools (including dashboards and visualization software). In the next section, we’ll explain how these applications can help your organization’s decision-making process become more data-driven.
What BI tools you need depends on how your data is currently managed and how you would like to analyze it. For example, if it is currently scattered across disparate transactional databases, you might need to build a data warehouse to centralize it and invest in data management tools that offer Extract, Transform and Load (ETL) functionality to move and re-structure it.
Once data is given a common structure and format, you can invest in data discovery solutions such as Online Analytical Processing (OLAP), data mining and semantic or text mining applications, with the capability to create custom, ad hoc reports. And because information is stored within the warehouse, users can quickly pull reports without impacting the performance of the organization s software applications, such as CRM, ERP and supply chain management solutions.
We ve illustrated this concept in the image below:
But this isn t the only way to implement BI within your organization. If you re only analyzing data from a single source, ETL and data warehouses are unnecessary. Alternatively, you might require multiple warehouses, and thus, require different tools to connect data between both these servers and other BI applications that need access to this data.
We’ll cover these in detail in the next section, but in general, the features you should seek in a new BI solution should include:
- Data quality management
- Extract, transform and load (ETL)
- Data mining
- Online analytical processing (OLAP)
- Predictive analytics
- Semantic and text analytics
- Report writers
Top Business Intelligence Tools
This table will help you understand some of the top BI tools available on the market today.
BI Tools Comparison