Business Intelligence Blog from arcplan

Business Intelligence Trends 2013: The Breakthrough of Do It Yourself BI and the Breakup of Big Data


arcplan recently examined the trends that will shape the BI landscape in 2013 - self-service BI, collaboration, and mobile BI. Under the umbrella of Do It Yourself BI (DIY BI), these trends will come to the forefront and big data will lose steam. It might be controversial to say, but we have our reasons.

Enterprises are demanding an increased focus on cost reductions and customer profitability – typically under business users' purview – which constantly impacts the development of BI as business users are driving future trends. In 2013, business users will demand easier ways to access and analyze data, pushing their employers to purchase the self-service tools that BI vendors have been developing over the past few years and leading to a true breakthrough of DIY BI. Beyond that, the big data challenge has not yet been solved with an easy-to-digest solution, causing a lot of the hype to die down next year (for good reason). Let's examine these trends further:

DIY BI Part I: Self-Service BI
In the past, BI was limited to a few expert analysts and users in the IT department. No doubt it has come a long way since. More and more BI users are taking over tasks traditionally dominated by IT developers, such as report development, dashboard creation, and ad-hoc reporting. In fact, Forrester Research advocates that 80% of BI tasks should be in the hands of business users themselves – and these business users need easy-to-use interfaces, programming-free BI app creation, the ability to search, write-back and drill-down, and data exploration capabilities.

In 2013, the delays associated with IT will be brushed aside in favor of the speed, control, and rapid access that comes along with self-service BI. The demand will increase for modern ad-hoc tools that allow users to directly tap the corporate data warehouse and provide a high degree of flexibility to slice-and-dice the data for insight on the fly. In-memory technology, advanced visualizations, and the broader emergence of HTML5 will support developers in creating multifaceted web-based apps that run on any device via a standard web browser and offer simple, intuitive self-service features every type of user can enjoy. Users will become more self-sufficient in 2013, able to get the information they need in order to optimize and accelerate their decision making processes.

DIY BI Part II: Collaboration
BI has already become a part of our daily work due to the democratization of information – placing Business Intelligence in the hands of many. Unfortunately, it is still often implemented as a silo'd process, resulting in isolated applications that do not encourage interaction between users and departments and do not integrate unstructured information into the decision-making process.

Real collaboration around patterns and trends in corporate data will be achieved in 2013 as companies implement social network functions such as commenting, tagging, rating, bookmarking and sharing of relevant content. The result is broader use and better utilization of enterprise BI. As benefits like open communication, more nimble decisions, and competitive advantage are realized, the corporate BI app store will potentially be just around the corner.

DIY BI Part III: Mobile BI
Accessing data anytime and anywhere will become an even more prominent business need in 2013. This puts demand on the back-end of the BI solution, as well as the front-end where information access and visualization has to be available on a wide variety of devices. The increased use of tablets and smartphones since 2010 has become daily routine in many business environments, and not every user prefers the same device. In the near future, IT departments will need to understand the best possible way to manage mobile application development to reduce the burden of creating many versions of each application – one for each device in use at the company. Technology-wise, HMTL5 is gaining more traction, wider acceptance, and thus provides more deployment options. Combined with a responsive user interface that adapts to device size and functions automatically, one BI application can work for users no matter their device – PC, tablet or smartphone. By the end of 2013, a real "all-in-one" solution should have entered the market.

The Big Data Challenge
Big Data will surely still be a buzzword in 2013. There is no doubt that modern technology and social media will provide even more data in the years to come. Nonetheless there are still questions to be answered: What is the value of all this big data and for whom will it be necessary to structure these multi-terabytes and petabytes of information? In 2012, we have seen only a few proven implementations within the top 100 organizations worldwide. But does this status quo justify a global hysteria?

From an evolutionary point of view, big data is both new and established technology at the same time. On one hand, the BI industry has been working toward efficient analysis methods for large data sets for decades, using established databases and in-memory technology. On the other hand, access and analysis methods and standards for truly big data – like Hadoop and MapReduce – are young, if not infant. They have not yet made it convincingly into consumer-ready analysis environments in 2012. We expect that 2013 will present more solutions that will melt and merge the pure data hype with other trends such as self-service and collaborative BI.

Do you agree with our assessment? Leave a comment!

Markus Gisske

About Markus Gisske

I'm a Senior Marketing Manager at arcplan. I've been at the company for almost 10 years and work out of the Langenfeld, Germany office.
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