Sharp Upturn in Cloud BI Deployments in Last Two Years

PRESS RELEASE – WÜRZBURG, October 16th, 2018
According to The BI Survey 18, published this week by The Business Application Research Center (BARC), the popularity of cloud BI and BIaaS deployments has been one of the fastest moving trends since 2017. The BI Survey is the world’s largest annual survey of business intelligence (BI) software users. It measures trends and provides a detailed comparison of 36 leading BI products. For more information, visit

31% of new BI deployments in the last two years have been on cloud-based platforms, compared to only 14% of BI projects undertaken more than two years ago. Of all the BI trends monitored in The BI Survey 18, cloud BI adoption has seen the sharpest upturn in the last two years. Visual analysis (68% within the last two years vs 58% over two years old) and mobile BI (37% vs 27%) are the next closest.

“We have seen a gradual increase in the overall number of cloud deployments over time, but the data since 2017 tells us just how popular cloud is right now”, said Carsten Bange, founder and CEO of BARC. “Although BI is behind the curve compared to the CRM market for example, several of the main BI vendors have now switched to a cloud-first strategy, which has clearly had an influence on the deployment option customers are choosing.”

BI Usage Trends 2017-2018

Figure 1: Use of BI capabilities – new BI investments vs. products purchased over 2 years ago

Why companies choose their BI product

Respondents’ top four reasons for purchasing a BI tool are flexibility, ease of use for report recipients, functionality and price-performance ratio. Since 2003, reasons to buy have remained pretty consistent, with most varying by less than ten percent in that time. Ease of use has varied the most, but in the past six years it has been consistent at around 40 percent. The largest recent fluctuation is functionality, which has decreased by over ten percent since 2016.

“This consistency indicates customers’ needs have changed little,” said Bange. “A fair price for a flexible and functional tool that is easy to use is what customers most want out of a BI product. Vendors understand this and often prioritize ease of use, functionality and flexibility during development. Microsoft’s aggressive pricing for PowerBI is putting a lot of pressure on other BI vendors, which is good news for customers since prices for BI tools with self-service capabilities are decreasing.”

Business intelligence penetration rate increasing slowly

The median percentage of BI users in companies taking part in The BI Survey has risen from 10% in 2014 to 13% in 2018. Further analysis reveals that companies claiming to have achieved the most benefit from their BI tools (“Best-in-Class”) have on average 9 percent more BI users than those achieving the least benefit (“Laggards”), suggesting that there is a relationship between the number of BI users and the degree of benefits an organization gains. This relationship should provide an incentive for businesses to maximize BI tool penetration and train as many employees as possible to use their BI tool. 

About The BI Survey

The BI Survey is BARC’s long-running annual survey-based study into the BI software market. It is based on user opinion about software selection, implementation and usage from over 3,000 BI professionals worldwide. Detailed feedback on 36 BI products is analyzed and compared. Visit to perform interactive, high-level product comparisons.

About BARC – Business Application Research Center – a CXP Group Company

The Business Application Research Center (BARC) 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). Along with analysts CXP and PAC, BARC forms part of the CXP Group – the leading European group of analysts for enterprise software and IT services with staff in eight countries.

For further information or media enquiries, please contact:

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