Microsoft earned victory over Oracle and IBM in a closely contested 2012 Annual Report Card survey of Business Intelligence vendors, winning with high quality and easily integrated products backed up by one of the best channel programs in the IT industry.
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Microsoft's widest margin of victory came in the product innovation subcategory, where it captured five of the six criteria. Microsoft bested Oracle and IBM by more than seven points in compatibility and ease of integration, and also had clear wins in product quality and reliability, and in technical innovation.
That Microsoft's business intelligence products would get high marks in integration comes as no surprise, said Andrew Brust, CEO of Microsoft analyst firm Blue Badge Insights, based in New York.
"Lots of enterprises use SharePoint and virtually all businesses use Excel, so this is a high-priority need for Microsoft customers and partners," said Brust. "Given its 'home field' advantage, Microsoft BI tends to integrate with Office and SharePoint better than any of its BI competitors' stacks."
Microsoft and Oracle fought a much closer battle in the support subcategory, with Microsoft winning three of the five criteria and prevailing by one-tenth of a percentage point. The contest was also close in the partnership subcategory, where Microsoft beat Oracle by 1.3 points. Microsoft's highest winning margin in that subcategory was in managing channel conflict, where it trounced IBM by 20 points. However, Microsoft's partner portal was rated inferior to Oracle's--which was a full 15 points better than IBM's. Meanwhile, IBM, despite finishing a distant third overall in support, edged Microsoft in the revenue and profit potential criterion.
Once Microsoft releases Office and SharePoint 2013, it will be able to offer an integrated in-memory analytic column store (PowerPivot) and a competitive data visualization and analysis tool (Power View), Brust said: "There will be a cloud story here, too, because of further integration with Office 365. It may not be a juggernaut yet, but the Microsoft BI-Office-SharePoint combo has a very compelling value proposition."