SAS and IBM are at the forefront of a "highly competitive" Big Data predictive analytics market, a report from analyst firm Forrester has claimed.

The Forrester Wave: Big Data Predictive Analytics Solutions Q1 2013 report evaluated 10 vendors providing predictive analytics solutions, pointing to SAS and IBM as having the strongest market presence and strategy.

According to Forrester, end user customers are increasingly looking to predictive analytics in order to boost profitability and predict business outcomes by analysing correlations and trends in data sets.

With increased uptake of Big Data analytics tools by customers, Forrester is expecting the market to continue to grow with a number of new entrants over the next three years, increasing the challenge to the established leaders.

Evaluating the current market outlook, SAS and IBM rated well on 51 criteria such as their ability to provide comprehensive core predictive analytics functionality, the size of their installed base and the strength of their solution architecture.

SAS, which has around 3,000 predictive analytics customers in 135 countries, received praise for its "easy to use" Enterprise Miner tools. However the report warns that SAS will have to fend off stiff competition from new market entrants to retain its leading position in future.

IBM is considered to have benefited from its Smarter Planet initiative, opening it up to around 1,500 predictive analytics customers across the Americas, EMEA and Asia Pacific regions. At the same time the company received criticism for its "confusing" go-to-market strategy across its large Big Data portfolio.

SAP is also highlighted as one of the market 'leaders' with strong architecture and market strategy identified by Forrester, though it currently has a smaller market presence with 100 predictive analytics customers. SAP's HANA in-memory appliance helped strengthen its position, while analysts suggested that it will need to continue to build out cloud-based HANA solutions to drive wider adoption.

Tibco, Oracle, Statsoft and KXEN were identified as 'strong performers' in the market, with lower architecture scores in Forrester's evaluation, though these vendors were noted for their ability to provide "unique approaches" to Big Data predictive analytics.

Smaller vendors were also highlighted as 'contenders' in the Big Data predictive analytics space, with Angoss, Revolution Analytics, and Salford Systems offering solutions with a narrower focus.

The full report is available on the Forrester website here.