How do the world’s most prominent analytics firms match up against one another? That’s a tricky question—while the companies that actually use those firms’ platforms will talk for hours about the merits and drawbacks of each, their opinions often differ about which is “best.” However, research firm Forrester has taken its own crack at the question, with a new research report breaking down the “Leaders” in the industry. Forrester’s evaluative gumbo involved a whole mess of variables, including the various IT firms’ current offerings, strategy, and market presence; it kicked the tires on each piece of analytical software—even asking each vendor to demonstrate how their platform could create a recommendation engine to “predict song choices by analyzing the Million Song Dataset.” It focused in particular on general-purpose analytics solutions, including enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) platforms. In Forrester’s estimation, SAS and IBM topped the list of analytics vendors, with SAP also performing well. “SAS, with its 36- year history of providing analytics software, is a Leader in this evaluation because it scored well in all categories,” read the research firm’s report. “IBM’s complementary solutions, such as InfoSphere Streams and Decision Management, strengthen the appeal for firms that wish to integrate predictive analytics throughout their organization.” While calling SAP a “newcomer to big data predictive analytics,” Forrester also praised its architecture and strategy, most notably its decision to make the HANA in-memory technology the “glue” binding together its analytics applications. Forrester called out Tibco, Oracle, StatSoft and KXEN as “strong performers” with their respective takes on analytics:
“In general, the Strong Performers had lower architecture scores than the Leaders. Tibco’s Spotfire advanced data visualization tool offers core support for S+ and R, which makes it attractive to data scientists who know those languages.6 Oracle’s solution centers on offering in-database R and the strength of its in-database analytics technology. StatSoft has a comprehensive number of analysis algorithms and is very strong in manufacturing use cases. KXEN collapses the normal predictive analytics life cycle by automating the predictive model discovery process; it also offers strong social network analysis.”
Forrester also cited Angoss, Revolution Analytics, and Salford Systems as “contenders” with “a narrower focus. A more thorough breakdown of each firm is available at Forrester’s Website.   Image: Forrester