Enterprises have lots of solid choices for big data predictive analytics.
That’s the key takeaway from Forrester’s just released Wave for Big Data Predictive Analytics Solutions for the second quarter of 2015.
That being said, the products Forrester analysts Mike Gualtieri and Rowan Curran evaluated are quite different.
Data scientists are more likely to appreciated some, while business analysts will like others. Some were built for the cloud, others weren’t.
They all can be used to prepare data sets, develop models using both statistical and machine learning algorithms, deploy and manage predictive analytics lifecycles, and tools for data scientists, business analysts and application developers.
It’s important to note that there are plenty of strong predictive analytics solution providers that weren’t included in this Wave, and it’s not because their offerings aren’t any good.
Instead Forrester focused specifically on “general purpose” solutions rather than those geared toward more specific purposes like customer analytics, cross-selling, smarter logistics, e-commerce and so on. BloomReach, Qubit, Certona, Apigee and FusionOps, among others, are examples of vendors in the aforementioned categories.
The authors also noted that open source software community is driving predictive analytics into the mainstream. Developers have an abundant selection of API’s within reach that they can leverage via popular programming languages like Java, Python and Scala to prepare data and predictive models.
Not only that but, according to report, many BI platforms also offer “some predictive analytics capabilities.” Information Builders, MicroStrategy and Tibco, for example, integrate with R easily.
The “open source nature” of BI solutions like Birt, OpenText and Tibco Jaspersoft make R integration simpler.
Fractal Analytics, Opera Solutions, Teradata’s Think Big and Beyond The Art and the like also provide worthwhile solutions and were singled out as alternatives to buying software. The authors also noted that larger consulting companies like Accenture, Deloitte, Infosys and Virtuasa all have predictive analytics and/or big data practices.
In total, Forrester looked at 13 vendors: Alpine Data Labs, Alteryx, Agnoss, Dell, FICO, IBM, KNIME, Microsoft, Oracle, Predixion Software, RapidMiner, SAP and SAS.
Forrester’s selection criteria in the most general sense rates solution providers according to their Current Offering (components include: architecture, security, data, analysis, model management, usability and tooling, business applications) and Strategy (components include acquisition and pricing, ability to execute, implementation support, solution road map, and go-to-market growth rate.) Each main category carries 50 percent weight.
Leading the Wave
IBM, SAS and SAP — three tried and trusted providers — lead this Forrester Wave:.
IBM achieved perfect scores in the seven of the twelve criteria: Data, Usability and Tooling, Model Management, Ability to Execute, Implementation Support, Solution Road Map and Go-to Market Growth Rate. “With customers deriving insights from data sets with scores of thousands of features, IBM’s predictive analytics has the power to take on truly big data and emerge with critical insights,” note the report’s authors. Where does IBM fall short? Mostly in the Acquisition and Pricing category.
SAS is the granddaddy of predictive analytics and, like IBM, it achieved a perfect score many times over. It’s interesting to note that it scored highest among all vendors in Analysis. It was weighed down, however, by its strategy in areas like Go-to-Market Growth Rate and Acquisition and Pricing. This may not be as a big problem by next year, at least if Gartner was right in its most recent MQ on BI and Analytics Platforms Leaders, where it noted that SAS was aware of the drawback and was addressing the issue.
“SAP’s relentless investment in analytics pays off,” Forrester notes in its report. And as we’ve reiterated many times, the vendor’s predictive offerings include some snazzy differentiating features like analytics tools that you don’t have to be a data scientist to use, a visual tool that lets users analyze several databases at once, and for SAP Hana customers SAP’s Predictive Analytics Library (PAL) to analyze big data.
The Strong Performers
Not only does RapidMiner’s predictive analytics platform include more than 1,500 methods across all stages of the predictive analytics life cycle, but with a single click they can also be integrated into the cloud. There’s also a nifty “wisdom of the crowds” feature that Forrester singles out; it helps users sidestep mistakes made, by others, in the past and get to insights quicker. What’s the downside? Implementation support and security.