We are happy to share some insights about IBM drawn from our latest Value Index research, which assesses how well vendors’ offerings meet buyers’ requirements.
Earlier this year we published the Ventana Research Value Index: Analytics and Business Intelligence 2019, the distillation of a year of market and product research efforts. We then developed three additional Value Indexes on Analytics and BI focusing on mobile, embedded and collaborative capabilities. Because each is a critical aspect of modern business intelligence, we developed specific criteria for each in order to provide an in-depth look at features geared specifically to mobile, embedded and collaborative use.
In all of our Value Indexes we utilize a structured research methodology that includes evaluation categories designed to reflect real-world criteria incorporated in a request for proposal (RFP) and vendor selection process for analytics and business intelligence. We evaluated IBM and 14 other vendors in seven categories, five relevant to the product (adaptability, capability, manageability, reliability and usability) and two related to the vendor (TCO/ROI and vendor validation). To arrive at the Value Index rating for a given vendor, we weighted each category to reflect its relative importance in an RFP process, with the weightings based on our experience and on data derived from our benchmark research on analytics and business intelligence.
IBM offers a comprehensive product line including products for discovery, interactive dashboards, reporting, planning and predictive analytics. It is one of the few vendors we evaluated to offer this breadth of functionality. The architecture of the offerings is based on a combination of data loaded into the system and dynamic queries of data in place. The company continues to integrate its various analytics products and as it advances that integration will make it easier for organizations to take advantage of IBM’s wide range of functionality.
IBM ranks third overall in the Value Index assessment. Because of its breadth of functionality it also ranks third in Capability. IBM and its products also performed well in the Adaptability and Validation categories. The products support a wide variety of configurations and can be integrated into various business processes. The company has a large number of references and provides quality case studies to help prospects understand how others use their products. IBM ranks third in TCO/ROI with good information and tools to establish the business case and strategic value of its product.
MOBILE ANALYTICS & BI
IBM’s current mobile capabilities are split between HTML displays and a native mobile application. The mobile application operates primarily in offline or disconnected mode — a benefit in some cases, a hindrance in others. The latest versions of reports can easily be downloaded to the mobile device, but until that’s done users could be working with outdated versions. The HTML displays work well for larger devices such as tablets and do not require downloading to the device so they are always up to date.
IBM ranks fifth overall in this mobility assessment and seventh overall in its mobile capabilities. A consolidation of its mobile strategies as well as adding key features such as alerts, notifications and collaboration would help improve its scores here.
EMBEDDED ANALYTICS & BI
IBM bases its product architecture on a combination of data loaded into the system and dynamic queries of data in place. Its depth of data modeling capabilities and flexibility of output options make it well suited to many types of applications. However, some analytic and administrative functions are not available via APIs. IBM ranks second overall in this Value Index assessment; its capabilities rank third overall.
COLLABORATIVE ANALYTICS & BI
IBM’s strength lies in forms of communicating and sharing information other than social-media-style interactions. Nonetheless, the company earned the top score in five of the 13 communication capability subcategories we evaluated. The product provides context for analyses, enabling users to share both vision and mission. It supports annotations, alerts and notifications and delivers documents in a variety of formats and on a variety of devices to enable collaboration regardless of the recipient’s operating environment. It also enables users to schedule and subscribe to document delivery.
IBM ranks first in both this overall Value Index assessment and in the capability category. As noted, IBM could provide more social-media-style collaboration such as support for threaded discussion groups. Better personalization and better search functions also would enhance its collaborative capabilities. The company’s lowest ranking is in Reliability where it nonetheless places fifth. Better server scalability and performance would help improve its ranking here. Better integration of the various products in its portfolio would help to improve the product’s performance in the Usability and Manageability categories.
This assessment was based on IBM’s analytics products available in August of 2018. In November 2018 IBM released Cognos 11.1, which was a major upgrade to the product. I’ve covered key aspects of the new release here.
This research-based index is the most comprehensive assessment of the value of analytics and business intelligence software in the industry. Technology buyers can learn more about how to use our Value Index by clicking here and included vendors that wish to learn more can click here. Read the report here.