SAS and IBM catch an analytical Wave

Leaders in most industries get there by being the best at meeting customer needs. Customer analytics vendors are no different. IBM and SAS were cited as leaders in the analytics market and customer analytics landscape because their analytical products best match their customers’ requirements, according to The Forrester Wave: Customer Analytics Solutions, Q4 2012 report. While SAS and IBM ranked supreme, Pitney Bowes and KXEN were also considered “leaders” in the industry, while FICO and Angoss Software were considered “strong performers.”

“SAS and IBM in particular have made an effort to address the needs of the marketing organization by tuning their analytics messaging to their marketing and customer intelligence organization—i.e., selling into the business buyer as opposed to the IT buyer,” says Forrester analyst Srividya Sridharan, who authored the report.

Forrester evaluated customer analytic vendors using a 70-item assessment that was broken down into three key groups: current offering, strategy, and market presence, according to the report. These three categories were assembled based on previous research, user demand assessments, and interviews with vendors and specialists, according to the report.

Forrester chose to analyze Angoss Software, FICO, IBM, KXEN, Pitney Bowes, and SAS based on the organizations’ product fit, customer success, and Forrester client demand, according to the report. The research organization evaluated the vendors’ data management, analytics production, analytics consumption, analytics activation, and customer-focused analysis, as well as how they maintained users’ demands for usability, automation, and flexibility, according to the report.

Although SAS’s score for customer references is lower than that of most of the other vendors, Forrester claims that SAS’s Rapid Predictive Modeler, Add-in for Microsoft Excel, Text Analytics, and Visual Analytics products target marketing and analytics professionals’ needs for usability, insight, and speed—making it a top leader. On the other hand, IBM does have a high customer reference score and Forrester referred to IBM’s customer analytics suite as “formidable.”

Sridharan admits that data management and data integration are major challenges today, and cites understanding customer profiles across multiple channels, determining previous customer interactions across channels, and merging qualitative and quantitative customer data as common pains within those areas.

However, Forrester reports that today’s vendors help their customers tackle these issues by focusing on four key categories: analytical prowess, execution, automation, and usability.

“These themes are important to focus on for customer analytics [and] analytics users looking for tools and technologies to start mining customer data,” Sridharan says.

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