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Business intelligence report report examples

Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence Platforms

Gartner is a company that provides business intelligence to any IT company in any field. With the knowledge that Business Intelligence is getting the right information to the right people at the right time through the right channel, Gartner delivers the knowledge quickly in order to make the right decisions swiftly (Rud, 2009).
Gartner uses various research methodologies through their many years of observing business trends, which include Hype Cycles, Vendor Ratings, Magic Quadrants, Market Forecasts, Market Scopes, and Market Share Analysis.
This paper discusses the Magic Quadrant, which is one of Gartner’s best tools, as it provides graphical competitive positioning of technology providers in fast-growing markets, giving a wide-angle view of the relative position of the market’s competitors.

Vendors Listed in the BI Platform Magic Quadrant

There are 20 vendors listed in the BI Platform Magic Quadrant. These vendors are divided into different sections of the Magic Quadrant, namely Challengers, Leaders, Niche Players, by their ability to execute, and their completeness of vision (Lehman, 2008).
Leaders include vendors like Microsoft, Oracle, MicroStrategy, IBM, QilkTech, SAP, SAS, Information Builders (Sallam, Richardson, Hagerty, & Hostmann, 2011). They execute well today and are well-positioned for tomorrow. Leaders usually have a large customer base and are highly visible in the market. However, they fail to meet the specific needs of vertical market segments.
Challengers are vendors like Tableau and Tibco Software (Spotfire) who execute well today and may dominate a large segment but who do not understand market direction. Challengers can become leaders if their vision develops. Large companies may fluctuate between the Challengers and Leaders quadrants as their product cycles and market needs shift.
Niche Players like LogiXML, Board International, Targit, Sailent Management Company, Bitam, arcplan, Corda Technologies, Actuate, Jaspersoft, and Panorama Software focus successfully on a small segment or is unfocused and does not out innovate or outperform others. They may be struggling to remain relevant in the market.

Criteria for Inclusion in the BI Platform Magic Quadrant

In order to be listed in the BI Platform Magic Quadrant, the vendors must meet the following criteria (Sallam et al., 2011):

The vendors must generate at least $15 million in BI-related software license revenue

annually, this revenue can be generated from appliances, new licenses, updates, subscriptions, hosting, technical support and maintenance.
Must deliver at least nine of out 13 capabilities detailed in the Market Description section
In the case of those that also supply transactional applications, show that their BI

platform is used routinely by organizations that do not use their transactional
Must be able to obtain a minimum of 20 customer survey responses that use the vendor
platform as their enterprise BI platform.

Capabilities that a BI Platform Should Deliver
According to Sallam et. al (2011), there are thirteen capabilities that a BI platform should deliver. They belong to the main categories of integration, information delivery, and analysis.

Integration Capabilities

A BI platform’s integration capabilities include BI infrastructure, metadata management, development tools, and collaboration (Sallam et al., 2011).

Aside from sharing a uniform look and feel across all tools in the BI platform, all of these tools must also use the same object model and query engine, portal integration, administration, metadata, and security.

The BI platform must also use the same metadata. In addition, it must have a full feature for searching, capturing, storing, reusing, and publishing metadata objects such as report layout objects, performance metrics, measures, hierarchies, and dimensions.

The BI platform must provide a visual environment for program development. It must also come with a software development kit that can be used for the creation of BI applications, the integration of the applications into a business process, and the embedding of applications in another application. It must also provide wizards for graphical assembly processes so that developers can create Business Intelligence applications without coding. In addition, it should support for Web services for the completion of tasks such as schedule creation, delivery, administration, and management. The BI platform should also be capable of assigning and tracking events that are allotted to certain users as a result of running an organization’s business rules. BI platforms usually provide this capability by allowing its integration with separate workflow or portal tools.

In addition, the BI platform should allow its users to collaborate, that is, engage in discussions and manage metrics and hierarchies through annotations, chats, and discussion threads. This can be a feature that’s built into the BI platform or integrated from social software and collaboration, analytical master data management (MDM).

Information Delivery

A BI platform’s information delivery capabilities are reporting, dashboards, ad hoc queries, Microsoft Office integration, and search-based BI (Sallam et al., 2011).
A BI platform should allow for the creation of formative and parameterized reports that can be scaled and scheduled. It should also provide various report styles for different report types such as performance dashboards, operational reports, and financial reports. In addition, users should have access to these reporting capabilities from their mobile devices.
Dashboards are another reporting tool that allows users to view and access data from operational applications in real-time. Dashboards can provide formal and Web-based reports in an interactive and intuitive manner. Some of the visuals that can be used to display meaningful and easily understood data on dashboards include traffic lights, check boxes, sliders, gauges, and dials.
In addition, a BI platform should provide features that allow users to query the data without IT expertise for the creation of reports. Users should be able to easily navigate to the data sources. A BI platform should also allow for remote access to the data sources and should provide for auditing and query governance capabilities to maintain and ensure the optimum performance of queries.
With the predominant use of Microsoft Office applications in organizations, a BI platform must be able to integrate with Microsoft Office and provide support for pivot tables, data refreshes, formulas, and document formats. Some organizations use Microsoft Office, particularly Microsoft Excel, as their main BI client and the actual BI platform as a middle tier for managing, securing, and executing BI tasks. In this case, the BI platform should provide write-back and locking capabilities.
A BI platform must have a search index for the unstructured and structured data sources that users can easily navigate using an interface that resembles Google. This feature should encompass more than the basic keyword searching performed on the metadata and BI platform content.


A BI platform must have the following capabilities for analysis: OLAP, interactive visualization, predictive modeling and data mining, and scorecards.

A BI platform should allow users to perform data analysis through slicing and dicing, that is, fast performance for data queries and calculations. This can also include drilldown capabilities.

Aside from being able to quickly run data queries and calculations, a BI platform must be able to display the various aspects of the data in an interactive and efficient manner through the use of charts and pictures. This makes the data displayed easier to interpret and understand as opposed to having the data display in rows and columns. In the future, even workflows will be displayed using graphical representations.

A BI platform should allow for the use of advanced mathematical techniques in the organization and classification of categorical variables and the estimation of continuous variables. It should also allow for the easy integration of these models into dashboards, reports, and analysis.

Lastly, a BI platform should be capable of applying metrics to a strategy map that is in alignment with a strategic objective and the KPIs. In addition, the BI platform should provide links from the scorecard metrics to related reports and information, enabling users to perform deeper analyses. Along with the implementation of scorecards in the BI platform is the implementation of performance management methodologies such as a balanced scorecard framework and Six Sigma.

Comparative Review of Two BI Platforms

This section aims to compare two BI platforms and take a look at whether they provide the thirteen capabilities identified by Sallam et al. (2011) as the capabilities that a BI platform should consider.


(Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition)
(SAP BusinessObjects Edge BI)

BI infrastructure

The Catalog Manager provides users with a single interface for accessing and managing their items (Oracle. 2011b).
SAP uses standardized business terms that users can easily understand. It also presents report information in a manner that’s easy to understand (“ SAP BusinessObjects Edge BI,” n. d.).

Metadata management

Oracle’s BI-Answers Based metadata dictionary allows “ administrators to analyze metadata repository statistics in Oracle BI Answers” (Oracle, 2011b, p. 1-1)
SAP has the capability of interchanging metadata between the BI platform and the data integration. This enables users to perform end-to-end impact analyses, in turn enabling them to manage changes in their BI environment better (“ SAP BusinessObjects Edge BI,” n. d.).

Development tools

Oracle offers several development tools, including Oracle JDeveloper, Oracle Developer Kit for Spring, Oracle Toplink, and others. (Oracle, n. d.).
The SAP NetWeaver Business Intelligence query and development tools include the SAP NetWeaver BI Query Designer, Java Server Pages (JSP), Web publishing, Report Designer, and others (Berg, 2008).


Oracle’s Dashboard Links Type feature allows for report sharing and collaboration through shortcut links to these reports and prompts. Users can generate either bookmark links or prompted links (Oracle, 2011b)
SAP Steamwork allows decision makers to come together when making decisions. They are presented with all the information and the right methods that they need to make the right decision (Elliott, 2010).


PublicReportService supports the validation of privileges; the retrieval of report and repository information; and the running and scheduling of reports (Oracle, 2011b).
Users can receive reports on their mobile devices where they can interact with and perform drilldowns on the reports (“ SAP BusinessObjects Edge BI,” n. d.).


Oracle’s Multi-Select Dashboard Prompts feature allows for the easier use and more powerful displays for the specification of dashboard prompts (Oracle, 2011b)
SAP’s dashboards allow managers and executives to easily view data that aids them I their decision-making. Users can also easily create dashboards using a point-and-click tool called Xcelsius (“ SAP BusinessObjects Edge BI,” n. d..)

Ad hoc query
Oracle BI Answers is a tool users can use to get answers to their questions. It is an ad hoc reporting and query tool that uses a Web interface (Oracle, 2011a)

SAP offers users with a flexible ad hoc, query, reporting, and analysis with a user-friendly web interface

“ SAP BusinessObjects Edge BI,” n. d.
Microsoft Office integration
Oracle enables the saving of reports in PowerPoint format and the direct pasting of. reports in Microsoft Office applications (Oracle, 2011b).

The Oracle BI Office Plugin enables the integration of SAP with MS Office.

SAP users can conveniently access live company data using Microsoft Office applications and SharePoint (“ SAP BusinessObjects Edge BI,” n. d.)
Search-based BI
Oracle Business Intelligence Discoverer is a tool that users can use to gain quick access to information from the Oracle E-Business Suite, online transaction processing systems, data warehouses, and data marts (“ Oracle Business Intelligence Discoverer 11g,” n. d.)
Polestar allows users to search for information in data stores by entering search keywords. Search results are displayed on dashboards, in reports, or other forms of visualizations (Kanaracus, 2009).


BI Publisher allows for the establishment of a connection to databases that are configured for OLAP and the submission of an MDX query for the return of the report XML (Oracle, 2011b).
Interactive visualization
Oracle users can create interactive dashboards. They can also format and customize queries (“ Oracle Business Intelligence Workshop,” n. d.)
SAP users allow users to track operations with real-time and interactive dashboards (“ SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards,” n. d.)
Predictive modeling and data mining
“ The Oracle BI Administration Tool supports the drag and drop feature for XMLA data
sources (SAP/BW and Microsoft Analysis Server). Using this capability, you can drag
and drop physical metadata objects (cubes) into the Business Model and Mapping
layer as fully configured Logical Model Metadata (Subject area), which retains metrics,
attributes, and dimensions” (Oracle, 2011b, p. 7-1) .
SAP provides users with multidimensional and in-depth knowledge that enables them to create their business strategies (Paddock & Lemoine, n. d.).
Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition 11g allows for the integration of Oracle Fusion Middleware MapViewer, scorecards, and key performance indicators (Rittman, 2011).


Berg, Bjarne. (2008, March). SAP NetWeaver BI: A comprehensive guide to SAP NetWeaver
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answers. html
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