Forrester “Wave” for Predictive Analytics

Last week, Forrester published its 2015 “Wave” report for Big Data Predictive Analytics Solutions.  You can pay $2,495 and buy it directly from Forrester (here), or you can get the same report for free from SAS (here).

The report is inaptly named, as it commingles software that scales to Big Data (such as Alpine Chorus) with software that does not scale (such as Dell Statistica.)  Nor does Big Data capability appear to impact the ratings; otherwise Alpine and Oracle would have scored higher than they did, and SAP would have scored lower.  IBM SPSS alone does not scale without Netezza or BigInsights; SAS only scales if you add one of its distributed in-memory back ends.  These products aren’t listed among the evaluated software components.

Also, Forrester seriously needs to hire an editor.  Alteryx does not currently offer software branded as “Alteryx Analytics”, nor does SAS currently offer a bundle called the “SAS Analytics Suite.”

Forrester previously published this wave in 2013; key changes since then:

  • Among the Leaders, IBM edged past SAS for the top rating.
  • SAP’s rating did not change but its brand presence improved considerably, which demonstrates the uselessness of brand presence as a measure of value.
  • Oracle showed up at the beauty show this time, and improved its position slightly.
  • Statistica’s rating did not change, but its brand presence improved due to the acquisition by Dell.  (See SAP, above).  Shockingly, the addition of “Toad Data Point” to the Dell/Statistica solution did not move the needle.
  • Angoss improved its ratings and brand strength slightly.
  • TIBCO and Salford switched their analyst relations budgets from Forrester to Gartner and are gone from this report.
  • KXEN and Revolution Analytics are also gone due to acquisitions.  Interestingly, the addition of KXEN to SAP had no impact on SAP’s ratings, thus demonstrating that two plus zero is still two.
  • RapidMiner, Alteryx, FICO, Alpine, KNIME and Predixion are all new to the report.

Gartner issued its “Magic Quadrant” back in February; the comparisons are interesting:

  • KNIME is a “leader” in Gartner’s view, while Forrester considers the product to be decidedly mediocre.  Seems to me that Forrester has it about right.
  • Oracle did not participate in the Gartner MQ.
  • RapidMiner, a “leader” in the Gartner MQ, scores very well on Forrester’s “Current Offering” axis, but less well on “Strategy.”   This strikes me as a good way for Forrester to sell strategy consulting.
  • Microsoft and Alpine landed in Gartner’s Visionary quadrant but scored relatively low in Forrester’s assessment.  Both vendors have appealing strategies, and need to roll up their sleeves to deliver.
  • Predixion trails the pack in both reports.  Reminds me of high school gym class.

Forrester’s methodology places more weight on the currently available software, while Gartner places more emphasis on the vendor’s “vision.”  Vision is certainly important to consider when selecting a software vendor, but leadership tends to be self-sustaining; today’s category leaders are likely to be tomorrow’s category leaders, except when markets are disrupted — in which case analysts are rarely able to pick winners.

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2 comments

  • 1. SAS has an analytics suite : http://www.sas.com/en_us/software/analytics.html (particularly SAS/STAT, SAS/QC, SAS/OR, SAS/IML, SAS/ETS, Enterprise Miner and Text Analytics) . It has had several releases now 12.1, 13.1,13.2.
    2.Your impression that SAS does not scale without distributed in-memory backends is absurd. You don’t know how to run two programs and measure their performance and compare them. Run later releases of SAS analytics suite and compare with previous releases you will see the differences.
    3. Your conclusion about SAP was utterly shocking, did you get drugged/drunk while you wrote this blog entry ? They are of course talking about SAP / HANA you dumb idiot. Not the spineless response that oracle gave to Vishal Sikka’s magic called SAP/HANA.

    • Dear Mr./Mrs Anonymous,

      SAP won’t fire you for posting your opinion, but they may fire you for being a jerk. (Anonymizer does not hide your IP address).

      Concerning your substantive points:

      (1) SAS “has” an analytics suite. It does not have a software product called “SAS Analytics Suite”: check the product listing on the SAS Support page. (http://support.sas.com/software/index.html) When Forrester lists “products tested”, they list actual licensable software components from every vendor except SAS.

      (2) Most SAS legacy PROCs run single-threaded, and even the HP PROCs run in single-machine mode unless the customer licenses SAS High Performance Analytics Server. Legacy SAS in general is constrained by the size of a server, which is precisely why SAS invested big bucks developing distributed back ends.

      By the way, I have benchmarked SAS 9.4 against SAS 9.3 across a complex script. PROC MEANS runs significantly faster, but the analytic PROCS run slightly slower.

      (3) Captain of your college debate team, right?

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