Where will the competition come from?

As an emerging technology and “the next big thing”, it is difficult to say what will be “the next next big thing” that will supersede citizen data science. It might be Artificial Intelligence that will do analytics for us and make redundant any kind of human input required now. Or it might be that Internet of Things will convey a similar level of localised knowledge and personalised input won’t be needed anymore. We could be brainstorming for a bit longer, but I would rather use this space to look at the real competition in the next few years – competition within industry. There is a number of players aspiring to have a share of this market. I don’t believe that their solutions will ever merge into one-size-fits-all, and as such it is definitely not only the price competition that we will see.

IBM Watson, is having the most visibility from among the currently available tools, and as such could be described to be at the top of the food-chain. Surprisingly for me, a look at the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Advanced Analytics betrays another picture.

As part of the Business Intelligence (BI) sector, we could assume that Advanced Analytics, and specifically Citizen Data Science, will be emerging from the same companies. According to Gartner, the top 5 vendors of Business Intelligence and Analytics Software were SAP, Oracle, IBM, SAS Institute and Microsoft. The story is a bit different though. Gartner Magic Quadrant made specifically for Advanced Analytics agrees with the top 5 BI vendors only in two names – SAS and IBM.

Magic Quadrants_Advanced Analytics.png
Source: Gartner Magic Quadrant – Advanced Analytics

The other three leaders, as you can see, are KNIME, RapidMiner and Dell. All three are commended by Gartner on their improvement of user experience of tools aimed at citizen data scientists. I won’t be going over individual companies as you can do that yourself on the link above (Magic Quadrant), but I do want to note a few things:

  1. KNIME is open-source which means that it is free to download for anyone; it has commercial extensions but its analytics platform core is free – that such program is successfully competing against giants like IBM and SAP tells a lot about the where to look out for the competition in the field – almost anywhere
  2. RapidMiner is also open-source but with a bit more commercialisation going around; similarly to KNIME it proves that to be a relevant competition to those giant software companies, one does not have to be a giant herself
  3. Both RapidMiner and KNIME support community-developed extensions to their core software, which is also a thing which drives their value up, offering additional variety of tools in addition to the powerful core software – a curious (but not solitary) case of crowdsourcing of abilities which under a strong and well-maintained platform synergise together and pack a strong analytics punch
  4. On the other hand, community support cannot be taken for granted, and in case that KNIME or RapidMiner would fell out of favour of the community, the most important questions is – what would be left of them?

Thus, where will competition come from? Well, it appears that it might come from anywhere (i.e. a place of community solution), but wherever it might come from, it will still need at least the three basic competences mentioned in here.

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