Business Intelligence Buyers Should Change Their Priorities

PRESS RELEASE – WÜRZBURG, October 30th, 2019
The Business Application Research Center (BARC) publishes The BI Survey 19, the latest edition of its influential, empirical study into the global market for analytics and business intelligence (BI) software. For more information, visit

Data from The BI Survey 19 reveals that the most popular reasons for choosing to buy a BI product are not always those that result in the most successful implementations. For example, buyers who made sure they evaluated BI tools with a large data handling capacity yielded the highest business benefits with their BI solutions but, in practice, only 20 percent of buyers reported having that priority. Conversely, some criteria have less influence on future success but are often treated as important, such as price-performance ratio, which was cited as a major selection criterion by 42 percent of buyers.

How buyers should choose (rank) Difference
in rank
How buyers choose (rank)
 Large data handling capacity 1 +6 7
 ‘Proof of concept’ faster or better 2 +11 13
 High innovative capacity of the vendor 3 +9 12
 Fast query performance 4 +2 6
 Good coverage of BI specific requirements 5 -1 4
 Ease of use for report designers 6 -1 5
 Flexibility of the software 7 -5 2
 Ease of use for report recipients 8 -5 3
 Deployment option 9 +10 19
 Ability to support large numbers of users 10 +1 11
 Price-performance ratio 11 -10 1
 International focus of the software 12 +8 20
 Good vendor relationship 13 -4 9
 Availability of local support 14 0 14
 Predefined data connection 15 -7 8

Figure 1: Reasons to buy a BI product vs. level of business benefits achieved, top 15 (n=2,212)

“Comparing the motives behind choosing analytics and BI tools with the benefits gained in real-world deployments produces some fascinating insights and enables us to see which selection criteria should be highly valued and which will have less impact on the success of implementations,” said Robert Tischler, Senior Analyst at BARC and co-author of The BI Survey 19.

Top benefits gained from BI relate to improved decision support

The three business benefits most likely to be achieved through analytics and BI – faster and more accurate reporting, analysis or planning and better decision-making – all relate to the improvement of decision support. However, many companies are also striving to monetize their data.

“Data monetization means generating measurable economic benefits from available data sources through analytics,” explained Tischler. “Data monetization can yield direct or indirect results and it can be internal or external. Using analytics and BI to make money out of data is becoming increasingly important nowadays, but still these benefits are typically achieved less frequently than others due to the challenges faced.”

BI Survey 19 press release - figure 2

BI Survey 19 press release - figure 2 legend

Figure 2: Level of business benefits achieved from using a BI product (n=2,477)

Democratized access to data: a work in progress

While finance and controlling departments are using BI in 80 percent of the companies surveyed, other departments that heavily rely on data such as sales (60 percent) and operations (53 percent) appear to be starved of the opportunity to gain relevant insights from their BI solution.

“Successful decision support in modern organizations requires democratized access to data,” said Tischler. “Decision makers in all departments need up-to-date and relevant information to base their decisions and actions on a reliable foundation. Results from analytics and BI must reach and be actively used by data-literate employees throughout the organization.”

BI Survey 19 press release - figure 3

Figure 3: Which departments in your organization use BI application(s)? (n=2,550)

Self-service analytics tools rule the business intelligence market

More companies are now evaluating self-service analytics tools than any other flavor of BI solution. The list of most commonly evaluated BI software products is dominated by self-service-oriented tools, with the top four all belonging to this category.

This dominance is underpinned by figures for implementations taking place in the last two years. At the top of the pile, Microsoft Power BI, which has been evaluated 9 percent more often in the last two years compared to all-time, and Tableau (+6 percent) have improved on their already strong positions. The same is true for Qlik Sense (+4 percent).

About the study

The BI Survey 19 is the eighteenth edition of BARC’s major annual study into the selection and use of analytics and business intelligence tools. The findings are based on a worldwide survey of 3,021 software users, consultants and vendors, which was conducted from February to mid-June 2019. It features current data on market trends as well as detailed analysis and comparison of 36 leading software products from 31 different vendors based on user feedback.

For more information, visit:

For aggregated product-related results and an online product comparison tool, visit: 

About BARC – Business Application Research Center

BARC (Business Application Research Center) is an enterprise software analyst and consulting firm with a focus on Analytics/Business Intelligence (BI), Data Management, Enterprise Content Management (ECM), Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). With experts in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, BARC supports clients in their software selection and strategy through specialist consulting, leading-edge research and a program of conferences and highly-focused seminars. For more information, visit

For further information, please contact:

Nikolai Janoschek
Head of Market Research
Tel: +49 (0) 931 880651-0