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February 5, 2016updated 04 Sep 2016 10:31pm

BI and analytics market grows but mixed results for SAS & Teradata show success isn’t easy

News: Mixed financial results show it isn't easy to be a vendor in the big data space.

By James Nunns

The global business intelligence and analytics market is set to hit $16.9 billion in sales this year, but that doesn’t assure vendor success.

SAS is an example of a business that is doing well, posting its 40th consecutive year of revenue growth. The company posted $3.16bn in total operating revenue, up 6.4% in constant currency over 2014.

Software sales increased 12% or 11% year-on-year in the UK and Ireland.

SAS puts this success down to listening and working with customers to understand business challenges, working with them as a strategic partner, rather than just being a software vendor.

Mark Wilkinson, SAS Regional VP, Northern Europe & Russia/CIS, said: "We’ve been able to tackle sometimes complex business issues through use of analytics in areas such as customer intelligence, risk and fraud. The UK & Ireland is now very well placed to deliver in 2016."

Financial services, government and insurance are the areas which bring in the highest proportion of revenue with customers such as Bank of America and HSBC, said the company.

SAS might be doing well, but one company that isn’t is Teradata, a company which specialises in data warehousing and analytics.

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The company posted sales of $719 million for the year, compared to $761 million for the 2014, a decrease of 6%.

For the full-year 2015 revenue was $2.53bn, a 7% decline from $2.732bn in 2014. Fourth quarter net income showed a profit of $41m, however, that is 65.3% lower than the $118m posted a year ago $118m. It is also 47.4% lower than Q3.

Full year net income was a loss of -$125m compared to the previous year’s profit of £367m.

The decline in Teradata’s performance has been linked to the failure of its Marketing Applications unit which experience an operating loss of around $45m in 2015.

Mike Koehler, President and CEO said: "I am pleased that Teradata’s fourth quarter results were in line with expectations and that we are making solid progress on our transformation plan for Teradata’s successful future.

"We have developed a comprehensive transformation blueprint and are on the path to return the company to meaningful and sustainable revenue growth."

Clearly then, quite mixed results for vendors in the big data analytics space suggests that success is not always guaranteed even though Gartner expects the BI and analytics market to grow by 5.2% from 2015 this year.

The analyst firm expects this rise to come from a shift to modern BI and analytics platforms, which has reached a tipping point, it said.

Ian Bertram, managing vice-president at Gartner, said: "Organisations must transition to easy-to-use, fast and agile modern BI platforms to create business value from deeper insights into diverse data sources."

That tipping point is leading to changes in how analytics is being consumed by the business and IT. The firm says that a shift from BI reporting centred on IT to self-service BI is occurring.

This replaces the need for upfront data modelling, so while IT will still have a role in preparing and ingesting data for consumption by business users, "structured ad hoc reporting and analysis based on a predefined model" will end up being replaced by free-form exploration.

The shift in consumption may lead to companies such as SAS and Teradata tailoring their products differently in order to fit changing demands.

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