Photo - Bhavish Sood, Research Director, Asia Pacific, Gartner, Inc.
Analyst firm Gartner expects Malaysia's business intelligence (BI) platforms market to reach US$30.4 million in 2017, while the Asia Pacific BI market will grow 7.4 percent to reach almost US$1.4 billion in revenue in 2014 and more than US$1.6 billion by 2017,
Gartner Asia Pacific research director Bhavish Sood said a company's new report on the BI platforms landscape in Asia Pacific shows increasing interest in big data solutions driven by data discovery and mobility.
"Information intensive initiatives are popular in organisations in Asia Pacific's accelerating economies, because information is a competitive differentiator," said Sood. "We expect this to continue as organisations pursue regulatory compliance, performance management and overarching enterprise information management initiatives."
The top four 'megavendors' in Asia Pacific - SAP, Microsoft, Oracle and IBM - controlled 72.2 percent of the BI platform market in 2012, up from 65 percent in 2011, he said.
However, business units increasingly prefer data discovery solutions, such as Tibco Spotfire, QlikTech and Tableau Software, while their counterparts in IT are still more comfortable procuring from megavendors, Sood said.
"Given the current economic climate of slow growth, CIOs are looking for solutions that need minimum servicing and can deliver fast time to value," he said. "These demands are being met by packaged analytical applications, preconfigured BI appliances and intuitive data discovery tools."
Malaysia - second biggest BI market in Asean
Sood said Malaysia will continue as the second-largest BI market in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), after Singapore.
He said the need to increase Malaysia's competitiveness against China's and that of other neighbouring Asean countries and renewed focus on depending less on tourism and the oil industry will help drive BI growth.
"Malaysia's investment in infrastructure is proving to be a good advantage for attracting foreign investments. Gartner expects the market to reach $30.4 million by 2017. Telcos and financial services are among the most sophisticated adopters of BI," Sood said.
Singapore is one of the most-developed BI markets within Asia/Pacific, and it will remain the third-largest BI market through 2017. Singapore's BI forecast outlook remains positive, with expected revenue of $95.9 million, he said. "With increasing competition from China and lower-wage neighboring countries, such as Malaysia and Vietnam, Singapore has countered by diversifying into new vertical industries, such as biotechnology and high-tech manufacturing."
Meanwhile, China will remain the second-largest BI software market in Asia Pacific through 2017, reaching US$217.3 million, Sood said. "Most often, BI solutions in China are used tactically in departmental deployments - as a reporting tool, rather than as a strategic platform to build up analytic capabilities to support decision making. Chinese organisations' relatively low-level maturity of the demand and supply sides of IT and analytic professionals creates extra challenges for BI technology adoption in China."
Gartner research director Daniel Yuen said China will be the next battleground for vendor market share. "In the past, due to cultural and market issues, many vendors hesitated before planning an entry into China. However, this is changing, and vendors are slowly waking up to the reality that China represents one of the largest custom development markets, and they are executing to grab market share there. "Interest in big data has also spiked; however, confusion around the terms 'analytics,' 'big data' and 'BI' have started to disrupt the Chinese market, and we expect this trend will result in slowing BI spending cycles in 2014."
Today, it's all about Hadoop
Gartner's report indicates that the industry landscape will evolve considerably in the next three to five years. Some important trends include:
- Big data use cases are maturing, but today it's still all about Hadoop
Customers across the region are keen to harness the innovative capabilities of Hadoop. Most big data discussions tend to be mired in the technical capabilities of Hadoop, rather than focusing on the business problem or use case at hand. Because not many vendors in the region can offer both the technology and the business analytics capabilities, implementation issues are bound to arise. Most open governments, such as in Australia, promote the publication of great quantities of data in raw format in an effort to use data in meaningful ways for its citizens. This, along with smart city initiatives being promoted by several governments Hadoop; will be an important part of governments' information management strategy.
- Mobility and data discovery approaches enhance experience of business users
In Asia Pacific, mobile BI is being used as an information distribution channel for 'road warriors.' The use case is simply the mobilisation of existing content - from basic reports to elaborate dashboards - targeted at current BI users. By following a different strategy, CIOs can use mobile BI to reach new constituencies, not necessarily those on the go. By making it fun and easy to use, BI will appeal to nontraditional users - those mainstream users who don't enjoy staring at a grid all day.
- The Asia Pacific market is opening up for specialist BI and analytics vendors
When it comes to advanced analytics, Asia Pacific organisations are willing to examine products from smaller niche companies that offer packaged analytical applications that solve a particular business pain point. This is possibly due to the scarcity of skill sets in the market and the pressure on IT from business folks to deploy BI. As a result, clients are open to buying packaged analytical applications to address specific pain points and niche problems. One clear distinction is that, unlike platform sellers, these vendors predominantly sell to business buyers.
- Low-cost alternatives
Apart from megavendors and emerging vendors, several low-cost alternatives are available in the market. These vendors saw an uptick in demand mostly from 2007 through 2012 as the megavendors worked on integrating their products. As a result, lower-cost local vendors, such as Yellowfin, TechnologyOne, Open Soft Technology and MAIA Intelligence, built a loyal user base, and they continue to gain market traction.
In addition, open-source vendors, such as Jaspersoft, Actuate and Pentaho, are improving their products and continue to have mind share among government buyers and high-tech clients, especially product independent software vendors (ISVs).