Analysis Services

BI Survey 9

I’ve just got hold of my freebie copy of the latest edition of the BI Survey and, as I do every year, I get to blog about some of the juicier SSAS-related findings it contains. So what’s interesting in the BI Survey 9…? Here are some points/thoughts –

  • The survey finds that SSAS is most often used in companies with below the average size both in terms of the number of employees and in turnover. It’s also most popular in IT companies and with technical (as opposed to business) users. Note that this doesn’t mean that SSAS isn’t used in larger companies, because the survey shows it is most likely to be evaluated in the largest companies and (as we see below) it has a very good win rate when it is evaluated. It’s just that it is used by a much wider range of company sizes, unlike many products which are only used in the largest companies. This accounts for its dominant market share. This also, I think, is a result of Microsoft’s use of partners and influence over internal IT departments to sell its products, as opposed to large, expensive teams of salespeople and consultants, and also its licensing strategy. 
  • Only 1% of SSAS users in the survey were using AS2K; 45% were using 2005 and 48% 2008. This tallies with my experience out in the field; in fact I can’t remember when I last saw an AS2K installation in production. Good to see these levels of migration to the latest versions.
  • SSAS comes third in the rankings for the percentage of employees in an organisation using using a BI tool: on average 26% of employees use it (SSRS comes second in the rankings at 30%). This is surely ‘BI for the masses’ in action and however much the likes of me might moan about the shortcomings of Excel as a client tool, high usage like this is only possible because everyone already has Excel on their desktop so there are no extra costs involved in rolling BI out to large numbers of users.
  • Interestingly SSAS is one of the least likely products to undergo a formal evaluation when buying BI tools, but when it does get a formal evaluation it still has a very respectable 70% win rate, although this seems to be decreasing over time.
  • SSAS has the third-lowest number of technical problems reported and the second-lowest number of complaints about reliability. My feeling is that while SSAS was never all that buggy, at least in comparison to other software, it seems to have got even better recently; indeed it’s been a while now since I came across a really nasty bug. Maybe that’s because all the dev team have been away working on PowerPivot?
  • As far as SSAS client tools go, Excel again takes the top spot with 76% of users using it. Depressing but believable: 22% of users still have Proclarity, and are probably wondering how to migrate to something else. More surprising is that almost 25% of users claim to be using Excel Services – I know it’s out there, but I haven’t seen a single customer of mine use it yet.

That’s probably enough – if you want to know more, go out and buy the survey! But the generally positive ratings that SSAS has received has cheered me up somewhat; it’s always nice to see the product your livelihood depends on getting good reviews.

11 thoughts on “BI Survey 9

  1. thanks Chris!One thing that strikes me though, is that somehow SSRS and SSAS are seperate categories in the rankings. I didn\’t realise they were competing for space?Do people not know that SSAS + SSRS = Wicked Combination?Gavin

  2. Hi Chris, thanks for this nice summary, especially on dev team being away, kind of sad, isn\’t it? SSAS is really a great product, but it looks like MS is already heading somewhere else…

  3. Well, no, the dev team have been off working on PowerPivot but they\’re back working on \’corporate\’ SSAS now and I believe a lot of the work done for PowerPivot (which is SSAS anyway) will be useful for the next version of SSAS

  4. It comes in at 5th place, with just under 15% of SSAS sites using it. To be honest I\’m surprised the number is so high: I almost never see it at my customers.

  5. Hi Chris, Thanks for sharing the SSAS part of BI Survey report :)Good to know that almost 50% use SSAS 2008 … i was expecting around 30-40%. Amit G

  6. Hi Chris
    Just wondered if you’d had any information/thoughts about the new ‘proclaity replacement’ from Pyramid Analytics
    I should hopefully be getting a eval copy soon. We are looking to replace ProClarity with someing flashy. After looking at numerous products we came across Pyramid’s website. From our perspective it looks too good to be true.


    1. Chris Webb – My name is Chris Webb, and I work on the Fabric CAT team at Microsoft. I blog about Power BI, Power Query, SQL Server Analysis Services, Azure Analysis Services and Excel.
      Chris Webb says:

      Hi Jamie,

      No, I hadn’t seen this – it does look interesting. I’ll have to take a closer look…


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