Tableau Ranks #1 in 3rd Annual Survey

Howard Dresner, Chief Research Officer, Dresner Advisory Services

In its third annual Wisdom of Crowds Business Intelligence Market Study, Dresner Advisory Services dives deep into the shifts and evolution within the business intelligence (BI) industry. The 2012 report explores the balance between BI adoption by IT and business, the landscape of BI options today, and the extent to which users view their BI solution as a success.

Tableau Software placed first among “High Growth” peers, the category of BI companies who have achieved critical mass in the market and are growing at an extremely high rate – well above industry average. Tableau outranked all other “High Growth” vendors in categories such as sales, value, product, tech support, consulting, whether respondents would recommend and integrity. It had the highest average score with 4.57 out of 5.

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Executive Summary:

  • Globally, functional alignment (and adoption) of Business Intelligence remains nearly evenly split between the IT Department (45%) and various business functions.
  • Increasingly, functions other than Finance and Sales and Marketing have grown in their adoption of Business Intelligence.
  • Very large implementations of Business Intelligence solutions (more than 1,000 users) remain unchanged since 2010, with most implementations ranging between one and one hundred users. While there has been expansion and growth in recent years, still only a minority of users within most organizations have access to BI.
  • Industry growth for 2012 was driven predominately by mid-sized organizations (1,000 – 10,000 employees), Retail & Wholesale and Technology verticals, and EMEA and APAC regions.
  • The proliferation of multiple BI tools continues to accelerate as line of business independently invests in solutions. Nearly half of the largest organizations reported the use of four or more tools.
  • Only 41% of respondents completely agreed that their Business Intelligence initiatives have been successful, with smaller organizations reporting greater success than larger ones. Users of Emerging and High Growth segment products were more likely to report success than other segments.
  • Related technology initiatives, with the greatest priority (and investment), include traditional areas such as: “Dashboards”, “End user ‘self service’”, and “Data warehousing”. Hot areas such as “Advanced Visualization”, “Data mining and advanced algorithms” and “Mobile device support” also topped the list.
  • Three of four Business Intelligence market segments showed growth in numbers of new deployments over 2011. This includes “Titans”, “Large Established Pure-plays” and “High Growth” segments.
  • While most measures of industry performance declined somewhat over 2011, a majority of users believe vendor integrity is “good” or “excellent”.

Study Demographics:

As with last year, we’re seeing a rich cross-section of data across geographies, functions, organization size, and vertical industries. We believe that, unlike other industry research, this supports a more representative sample and better indicator of true market dynamics.

Cross-tab analyses have been constructed using these demographics to identify and illustrate important industry trends.


As in previous years, we’ve been able to attract survey respondents from a wide array of geographies – including 28% from EMEA (19 countries) and 11% from APAC (7 countries). Although North America represents the largest group, it is in itself diverse – representing four Canadian provinces, 34 US states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.


The IT Department represents the largest single group of respondents, representing roughly half of the sample. We also experienced strong participation from the Sales and Marketing, Executive Management and Finance functions.

This distribution across functions has enabled us to develop analyses comparing and contrasting the plans and priorities of the different departments within organizations.

Vertical Industries:

For 2012, vertical industry distribution was similar to 2011 and 2010– with pronounced participation from Health Care, Financial Services, and Retail & Wholesale. We encourage the participation of consultants – who oftentimes have deeper industry knowledge than their customer counterparts. This also yields insight into the partner ecosystem for BI vendors.

Organization Size:

We saw strong participation from a balanced mix of small, medium and large organizations. This year the largest of organizations represent 26% of the sample, mid-sized organizations at 42% and the smallest of organizations at 32%. As with previous years, we have found important differences by organization size.

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About the author


Howard Dresner

Chief Research Officer, Dresner Advisory Services

Howard Dresner is Chief Research Officer of Dresner Advisory Services, LLC, an independent advisory firm and a well known authority and author in the areas of Business Intelligence and Performance Management.

Howard has 30 years of IT industry experience with 23 years in the Business Intelligence market. He spent 13 years at Gartner, where he was a Research Fellow and Lead Analyst for BI. He also served as Chief Strategy Officer at Hyperion Solutions prior to forming Dresner Advisory Services.