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The business intelligence (BI) software market continued to grow in 2009, according to Gartner, but at a rapidly diminished pace from the previous year.

In 2009, revenues for BI technologies — which Gartner defines as BI platforms, analytic applications and performance management software — grew 4.2% to just over $9.3 billion from $8.9 billion in 2008.

That growth rate is down considerably from 2008, when the BI market grew an estimated 22%, according to the Stamford, Conn.-based research firm.

Still, compared with other IT markets, BI fared reasonably well in 2009. As measured by revenue, the server market, for example, shrank by 18.3% in 2009. The semiconductor market suffered a 10% decline over the same period

“Organizations largely continued their BI projects, hoping that the resulting transparency and insight would enable cost-cuts and improved productivity and agility,” said Dan Sommer, a Gartner analyst, in a statement. “However, there is no doubt pressure has intensified on deal sizes and price points on new sales throughout the year.”

Vendor market share changed little in 2009, according to Gartner. SAP still tops the BI market, with a 22% share, followed by Oracle at 14.5%, SAS Institute at 14.2%, IBM at 12.2%, and Microsoft at 7.9%. Combined, the five vendors control more than 70% of the total market.

In terms of market segments, revenues from sales of BI platforms accounted for 64% of total BI revenue, coming in at just under $6 billion for the year. Corporate performance management suites brought in close to $2 billion in revenue, according to Gartner, followed by analytic applications at $1.4 billion.

Gartner said demand for self-service BI tools is likely to drive continued market growth in 2010, as line-of-business buyers turn to easy-to-use data visualization and in-memory BI engines.

“While IT is trying to rationalize around one or a few vendors, the market for self-service BI is wide open,” Sommer said. “The vendors in this segment, together with the open-source crowd, continue to be the fastest growers in the BI market.”

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