Microsoft is this year's Annual Report Card winner in Data and Information Management, soundly beating rivals IBM--which had won in this technology category the last two years--and Oracle. Microsoft improved its overall score by nearly 10 points, reflecting nearly 10-point gains it made in its support and partnership scores and an eight-point gain in product innovation.
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Microsoft has traditionally run third against IBM and Oracle in the $20.6 billion global database software market: In 2011, Microsoft's $4.1 billion in database software sales represented a 17 percent share of that market compared with IBM's 20.2 percent and Oracle's whopping 48.8 percent, according to Gartner.
IBM and Oracle suffered significant declines in their ARC scores. For Oracle, that was largely the result of a precipitous drop in its product innovation score, while IBM's partnership scores sank.
Microsoft's high scores in product innovation are the result of the vendor's "overall vision of where we're taking our product and where we're taking our customers" with the data management platform, said Doug Leland, Microsoft general manager of SQL Server marketing. He cited the product's ability to handle structured and unstructured data, in-house operational data combined with data from outside the organization, and the ability to "derive real value and insights out of that data."
"What we find the most innovative with SQL Server 2012 and Windows Azure is the flexibility," said Adam Worobec, business intelligence practice director at Tallan, a Rocky Hill, Conn.-based Microsoft partner. "You can keep data on-premise, in the cloud, or both. You can help a small department manage a few megabytes of data or crunch through hundreds of terabytes of an enterprise's customer purchase history. You have the tools to make sure the data stays clean and secure, yet can be accessed quickly and easily.
"We believe the heart of Microsoft's innovation lies in that open platform. It enables partner firms like ours to extend their capabilities, effectively adding our innovation on top of Microsoft's innovation."