Gartner Says Business Users Heavily Driving BI Decisions, Demanding Ease of Use

By Elissa Fink 2011/05/01

This blog entry is part of a series that reviews and discusses recent reports from Gartner.

As one of the world’s most influential Information Technology analysts, Gartner produces a large volume of research. About 2 ½ months ago, Gartner released their seminal “Magic Quadrant Report for Business Intelligence Platforms” and wrote an in-depth analysis of Tableau (check it out here). One month ago, Gartner released two of the detailed reports.

We already shared our thoughts about the Magic Quadrant itself. Now that all the reports are out, we thought it would be useful to share some of Tableau’s perspective about items in this business intelligence software report "BI Platforms User Survey, 2011: Customers Rate their BI Platform Functionality".

The graph “Overall Product Score vs Ease of Use” is the first one you encounter. It places vendors on 2 axes: the x axis is customers’ composite ratings of product functionality (which is based on 13 BI capabilities) and the y axis is their ratings of ease of use.

Figure 2. Overall Rating of Business Intelligence Platform Capabilities in Meeting Needs

Source: BI Platforms User Survey, 2011: Customers Rate their BI Platform Functionality, 31 March 2011, Rita L. Sallam, Gartner Research Note G00211770

We chose to highlight this because of a noteworthy analytical insight from Gartner. “’Ease of use’ is now the No. 1 reason why organizations select a BI platform — surpassing ‘functionality,’ which has traditionally been the No. 1 reason.” People being able to use their business intelligence software is more important than the specific functions the software provides.

To us, that’s not surprising. We spend a lot of time on making sure product capabilities are usable – after all, if we build a feature people can’t use easily, they won’t use that feature. This likely explains Tableau’s position in the graph.

Gartner takes it even further: they say that by driving business intelligence software purchasing decisions, business users are choosing easier to use tools over traditional BI platforms. To quote:

    "...Vocal, demanding and influential business users are increasingly driving BI purchasing decisions, most often choosing easier to use data discovery tools over traditional BI platforms — with or without IT's consent.”

Tableau has made the full Magic Quadrant report and the supporting Gartner detailed reports available at no charge at

Also, tomorrow Gartner kicks off its annual North American Business Intelligence Summit in Los Angeles, CA where Tableau will be exhibiting. If you're there, stop by our booth and meet some of our team.


Submitted by Mark Zych (not verified) on

Do you have an updated picture with Cognos 10?

Submitted by Suzanne Hoffman (not verified) on

The Gartner Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence and Analytics Platforms is updated on an annual basis. You can find the 2012 version here: It compares Cognos 10.