Why I Don't Want To Research BI Market Size

I know, I know, this is what analysts do. But I personally would never want to get involved in doing a BI market size – it’s open game for serious critique. Here are some of the reasons, but the main one is a good old “garbage in garbage out.” I am not aware of any BI market size study that took into account the following questions:

  • What portion of the DBMS market (DW, DBMS OLAP) do you attribute to BI?
  • What portion of the BPM market (BAM, process dashboards, etc.) do you attribute to BI?
  • What portion of the ERP market (with built-in BI apps, such as Lawson, Infor, etc.) do you attribute to BI?
  • What portion of the portal market (SharePoint is the best example) do you attribute to BI?
  • What portion of the search market (Endeca, Google Analytics, etc.) do you attribute to BI?
  • What is the market size of custom developed BI applications?
  • What is the market size of self built BI apps using Excel, Access, etc?
  • On the other side, what is the % of licenses sold that are shelfware and should not be counted?

Plus many more unknowns. But, if someone indeed did do such a rough estimate, my bet is that the actual BI market size is probably 3x to 4x larger than any current estimate.

Comments

"my bet is that the actual BI

"my bet is that the actual BI market size is probably 3x to 4x of any current estimate."
3x to 4x larger or smaller? Given the amount of shelfware in BI it is probably the second option...

Roman, larger, of course

Roman, larger, of course

Why the BI market is immeasurable...

I think your assessment is right-on. Your questions point to the fact that Business Intelligence is so broadly defined that market size is not a useful measure. BI can mean everything from desktop widgets to Excel reporting to statistical data mining - and everything in between. And, after all, isn't this what makes BI great? Based on its age, BI should be a mature (dare I say boring) market. Yes, there are some giant players that have been around for a very long time, but there are also a lot of newcomers with fresh ideas and new approaches. For this reason, I'm glad that the BI market size can't be measured.

Market Sizing Is an Important Tool

The simple fact that something is difficult to accomplish or might not deliver exact results and is vulnurable to some rightful arguments and concerns should not keep us from trying and delivering the best we can.
I for myself stand behind my published BI market sizing (Forrester report: Market Overview: The Business Intelligence Software Market, October 2009) and I'm happy and open to discuss its results, arguments and limitations. Based on the feedback I recieved I know that many BI vendors have been looking for such a Forrester report and did welcome the results.
Btw, the answers for the questions in the blog are very straight forward for my sizing: 0% of question 1-7 and 100% of question 8 made it into my sizing. Not too difficult to answer.

Holger, that's why I am glad

Holger, that's why I am glad you are on our team!