The business analytics software market represents a collection of software markets that functionally address all the steps in the life cycle of decision support and decision automation processes. Various market participants may refer to these processes as business intelligence, business analytics, analytics, big data, and so forth. IDC's definition views business analytics as the overarching market, with big data technology as a specific set of business analytics software that can address very large, fast-moving, and diverse data sets. For a more detailed definition of IDC's big data technology market, see IDC's Worldwide Big Data Taxonomy, 2015 (IDC #254052, March 2015).
Despite difficult economic conditions in 2013, the overall business analytics market managed to bounce back fairly quickly in 2014 with a modest growth of 7.2% (as compared with 4.4% in previous year) to reach US$3.2 billion. Although market demand remains healthy, the stellar growth momentum recorded in prior years proved almost impossible to replicate. In the first half of 2015, the business analytics market grew by a mere 3.2% year-over-year (as compared with 6.5% in the first half of 2014). This was mainly due to the overall softening of economy in the region (slowdown in large economies such as China and India) and emerging market dynamics such as the increasing adoption of cloud-based analytics solutions (cannibalizing on-premise license revenue). In general, IDC observed that smaller vendors (tier 2 or 3) are more likely to outpace the market in niche segments.