April 7, 2015

Predictive Analytics Now In Reach Of the Average Enterprise, Forrester Says

Alex Woodie
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The average enterprise is better positioned than ever to take advantage of advanced analytic software, says Forrester Research, which put out its annual power rankings for advanced analytic tool vendors last week.

“Good news! Predictive analytics is within easy reach for all enterprises if they choose the right big data predictive analytics solution to meet their needs,” write Forrester analysts in the company’s latest Forrester Wave for Big Data Predictive Analytics Solutions.

Predictive analytics is a “business game changer” that will separate the winners from the losers, according to Forrester. The better a company is at predicting what will happen in the future, the better positioned they are to do something about it.

While data scientists will do the heaviest analytic-related lifting at big enterprises, the improvements that have been made to predictive analytic (also called advanced analytic) applications enables regular business people and developers to partake of the predictive bounty.

Forrester sees several trends that are helping non data scientists get more out of predictive analytics, including the use of APIs and Predictive Modeling Markup Language (PMML); the integration of predictive analytics into business apps; and the availability of “one-click predictive modeling” applications and marketplaces for predictive apps.

In its report, Forrester sliced and diced the offerings from 13 advanced analytic tool vendors who have general-purpose offerings—those with industry specific apps were left out. Here’s a summary of the analysts’ analytics analyses.


IBM offers one of the most complete set of capabilities for building and deploying predictive models, either on-prem or in the cloud, Forrester says. SAS continues to be an analytics powerhouse, and offers tools that integrate with R, Python, and Hadoop. SAP, meanwhile, is moving up in the analytics world with its HANA in-memory technology and PAL, or Predictive Analytics Library.

Strong Performers

This is a busy sector with no fewer than eight contenders.  RapidMiner offers a “rock solid” enterprise solution with more than 1,500 “methods” that address all stages of the analytics lifecycle and has among the tightest integration with the cloud, Forrester says. Alteryx is particularly strong in the data preparation component of the lifecycle, and also impressed the analyst group with its apps gallery.

If you’re an Oracle shop, then the tight integration Oracle has built between its database and analytical workflows built with its SQL Developer tool may be appealing. FICO may have gotten its start in credit reporting, but today it offers its “incredibly deep knowledge” for general purpose predictive modeling, Forrester says.

Dell is also in the “Strong Performer” category thanks to its acquisition of Statistica, which offers a “comprehensive library” of algorithms and tools, Forrester says. Meanwhile, Angoss may be a good bet for a company just starting down their predictive analytics journey, thanks to its “intuitive interface” and continued leadership in decision trees.

Alpine Data Labs offers “one of the most comprehensive” collection of tools, said the analyst group, which was particularly impressed with Alpine’s ability to push algorithms down into Hadoop. KNIME is an open source software developer that delivers “robust” modeling tools that are on part with the proprietary vendors, the group says.


Microsoft is a player in the big data analytics space with its Azure Machine Learning cloud offering. It’s still a bit green, according to Forester, but its acquisition of Revolution Analytics, which completed yesterday, will help.

Predixion Software, meanwhile, got the nod for an Excel-based offering that allows business users and data scientists alike “to effortlessly build” models in the cloud. In particular, Forrester seemed impressed with Predixion’s machine learning semantic model (MLSM), which packages models up in.NET and Java containers.

The Forrester Wave: Big Data Predictive Analytics Solutions, Q2 2015 was written by Forrester analysts Mike Gualtieri and Rowan Curran. See the company’s website for more info.

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