Thanks to Information Week:

Gartner's "magic quadrants" are typically annual market evaluations that place software vendors in one of four quadrants within a square: niche players, visionaries, challengers, and leaders. Specific placement within a quadrant depends on a vendor's ability to execute, which moves them upward, and completeness of vision, which moves them to the right.

Business Objects, Cognos, and Microsoft were placed among the leaders in Gartner's just-released Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence Platforms, 2008. But the research firm placed Microsoft above the other two in its ability to execute, including the competitiveness and success of its BI goods and services, its viability and investment in BI, and the execution of its sales and pricing. In last year's BI platform report, Gartner put Microsoft in the challenger quadrant.

Business Objects and Cognos slightly outranked Microsoft in completeness of vision, which includes such things as market understanding, sales strategy, and product development and delivery strategy.

By placing the world's largest vendor of commodity software as one of the BI market leaders, Gartner is demonstrating how quickly BI is moving from a specialised, expensive technology into a commodity itself. 

In its report, written by James Richardson and three other Gartner analysts, the firm cites the attractiveness of Microsoft's integrated Office suite, its PerformancePoint Server released last year, and SQL Server to businesses standardised on Microsoft platforms. "The bundling and pricing of its BI products makes [Microsoft] an economically attractive offering that will be considered by many organisations," the analysts wrote, adding that Microsoft's large development community will further the platform.

They also wrote that customers cite Microsoft for having the "best BI software quality of all the megavendors, with over half of them reporting no problems with the software," and attribute this quality, in part, to much of its technology having been internally developed rather than acquired.

Gartner defines BI platforms as those that enable users to build applications that help organizations learn and understand their business. It divides these capabilities into the functions of integration, information delivery, and analysis.

The great news is that we have the perfect event for you if this is of interest on 3rd April 2008 in London with an expert in this field, Rafal Lucawieki

Data Mining and Business Intelligence for Enterprises in association with Hitachi