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February 15, 2019

Gartner: Augmented Analytics Ready for Prime Time

George Leopold

(Pasuwan/Shutterstock)

Augmented analytics, an approach that uses machine learning, natural language processing and other automation tools, is poised to dominate the data analysis and business intelligence markets by 2020, according to a closely watched forecast that ranks relative newcomer Microsoft far and away the leader in this maturing category.

Gartner Inc.’s “Magic Quadrant” review of the analytics and BI sector released this week ranks Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) head and shoulders above its nearest competitor, Tableau Software (NYSE: DATA). The formula gauges vendors based on their ability to execute their analytics strategy and “completeness of vision.”

Gartner (NYSE: IT) has for more than a year predicted that augmented analytics will emerge as “the next wave of disruption in the data and analytics market,” urging analytics practitioners to jump on these platforms as their capabilities mature.

That time is at hand.

“By 2020, augmented analytics will be a dominant driver of new purchases of analytics and business intelligence, data science and machine learning platforms and embedded analytics,” Gartner asserts. Beginning next year, half of analytical queries “either will be generated via search, natural language processing or voice, or will be automatically generated,” it added in its BI market survey.

Along with augmented analytics, the market watcher stresses added support for a reporting mode focused on “predictability” as among the key differentiators for market leaders such as Microsoft, Tableau and Qlik. So-called “Mode 1” reporting capabilities folded into a single platform are seen as a way of upgrading legacy BI environments to provide new capabilities such as data governance and formatted reports based on popular tools such as data visualization.

Gartner notes that BI users are now attempting to integrate those Mode 1 capabilities with data exploration, or “Mode 2” analytics that fall somewhere between predictive analytics and proving a hypothesis to be either true of false.

“The holy grail is for customers to have both Mode 1 and Mode 2 capabilities in a single, seamless platform that draws on existing assets but also has emerging best-of-breed capabilities,” Gartner noted.

Microsoft is rated as the BI market leader by virtue of of its Power BI platform that includes data preparation, visualizations, interactive dashboards and augmented analytics. The goal is offering a BI platform “for all analytics use cases,” Gartner said.

Source: Gartner

Microsoft is faulted for its “two-product deployment” that falls short of Gartner’s “holy grail,” the integration of Modes 1 and 2.

Tableau also is among a small group of BI “leaders” that also includes Qlik and ThoughtSpot. Tableau impressed with its visualization tools and its platform’s ability to ingest data from a variety of sources. The analytics vendor is credited with a “fan-like” following among customers, which translated into double-digit revenue growth during 2018.

Qlik got props for new augmented analytics features added to its flagship Cognitive Engine. It was faulted for workflow and Mode 1 reporting shortfalls along with platform migration issues.

Among the up-and-comers within a large group of “niche players” is Yellowfin. Market tracker Forrester previously ranked Yellowfin among its “strong performers. Gartner credited Yellowfin with offering “a single platform [that] includes one of the broadest ranges of capabilities, spanning data preparation, reporting with scheduled distributions, visual exploration and augmented analytics.”

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