Magic Quadrant for Analytics and Business Intelligence Platforms 2021

February is that time of year when the Gartner Magic Quadrants are presented. As I can see from my own previous publications of the last years, these MQ’s always lead to a lot of commotion. Is my favourite tool included in the Magic Quadrant? Who’s in the Leaders quadrant? If my favourite tool is not in the Leaders quadrant, which one is it in then?

A Gartner Magic Quadrant positions technology players within a specific market. Read how things work here. In this case of the 2021 Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence and Analytics Platforms, you can use the MQ to identify, evaluate and select BI & Analytics Platforms.

According to several Gartner Analysts one should keep the following in mind:

  1. Read the accompanied note. Do not only look at the graphic. The accompanied note gives additional background, so you understand why choiices are made.
  2. Consider all vendors, not just the Leaders Quadrant. It’s interesting to read and understand what the vendors in the Challengers-, Visionaries- or Niche Players Quadrant have to offer.
  3. Look at the market guides for up-and-coming vendors, not (yet) included in the MQ.

Allthough I have been an Oracle addict for several years, I have payed some extra attention to three other tools this year.

  1. Microsoft Power BI — Because it has been in the Leaders quadrant for years, so it must be any good
  2. Google Looker — Because with LookML they have a very interesting solution for a semantic layer. LookML being an extension to SQL; the language to query data
  3. ThoughtSpot — Because Search and AI based Analytics turns out to be a great alternative to traditional BI Tooling.

Microsoft Power BI

Microsoft is considered a Leader and they “execute well against their current vision and are well positioned for tomorrow”. One of the big advantages of Microsoft is its alignment with other offerings in the Microsoft family. Take Micrrosoft Office 365 e.g. There was a brief discussion on LinkedIn recently where Uli Bethke showed his appreciation for Power BI Premium. I have not yet looked into it myself, but the input Uli gave was interesting enough to have a closer look.

Google Looker

Gartner recognizes Google ( Looker) as a Chalengerr in the 2021 MQ for Analytics and Business Intelligence Platforms. They are considered a Challenger and they “execute well today or may dominate a large segment, but do not demonstrate an understanding of market direction”. Google has aquired Looker and that’s not for nothing. Looker is a Challenger in this year’s MQ.

One of the great strengths is LookML, leaving the data in the underlying database and the business rules in a semantic layer powered by SQL. The downside could be the (too) tight integration into Google. The latter could be an advantage as well


ThoughtSpot (for me) is a relatively new kid on the block. They have a different view on Analytics, making it Search and AI based. Via a Google-like interface. Gartner conciders ThoughtSpot as a Visionarie because they “understand where the market is going or have a vision for changing market rules, but do not yet execute well”.

The offering might not be complete (yet), but it can definitely be of added value for a companies current Analytics stack. On top of that a company like Snowflake sees a huge potential judging by the $20 mln investment in Thoughtspot.

To conclude

Take your time to read the 2021 edition of the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence and Analytics Platforms beyond the picture. It might give some valuable background. For me there might be some other interesting technologies to consider. In anotther discussion about the MQ I was pointed into the direction of Domo (another Challenger) and Sisense (another Visionarie).

Thanks for reading.


Daan Bakboord



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Daan Bakboord

Daan Bakboord


Cloud ☁️ Data & Analytics 📊 Engineer @ DaAnalytics | Manager Data & Analytics @ Pong | Snowflake ❄️ Data Superhero | Modern Cloud ☁️ Data Stack enthusiast