The end of each year warrants a look at the key trends that may take hold in the coming months. Mobility, cloud computing, bring-your-own-device (BYOD), and big data topics are clearly influencing the business intelligence industry. However, major market players such as Amazon, Apple, Google, Samsung and others are producing the technology to make these developments possible. The question becomes: are the trends paving the way for these companies to produce the technology, or is the existence of the technology influencing the trends? I believe the latter – that Amazon, Apple, Google and Samsung are the true pioneers of the BI industry.
In 2014, we’re not going to see much in the way of wholly new trends, even though some experts are already forecasting more innovations. Gartner, for example, has singled out voice-controlled BI as a hot topic. However, the idea of being able to control BI processes by voice instead of through user interfaces is more of a fantasy than a realistic business requirement. Instead, the focus for 2014 will be on developments that are already possible and how to integrate these into the corporate IT environment. Big data for one has been a subject of discussion for years. In 2014, there will be more talk about the benefits and value provided by the increasingly larger amounts of data. Primarily though, it is the underlying technical innovations created by industry giants such as Amazon and Apple that are driving the development of BI and the requirements of the market.
Mobile BI Thanks to Tablets and Smartphones
Business Intelligence Trends 2013: The Breakthrough of Do It Yourself BI and the Breakup of Big Databy Markus Gisske
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
The BI World is small. Therefore, market news and opinions are dominated by software vendors and industry analysts. No surprise! There are, of course, many tech-savvy people who write about their software of choice and best practices associated with that technology. Technical communities around Microsoft SQL Server and related BI components, for example, are abound. The same is true for open source communities where information sharing is part of their members’ DNA.
However, it is very hard to find truly objective advice and opinions about the marketplace and available tools. On the one hand, this is caused by a wide selection of BI technologies still available today, even after the market consolidation of 2007-2008. You will be hard pressed to find so-called BI specialists who have a good grasp on a broad cross-section of the market segment. On the other hand, there are obvious commercial interests driving news and commentary from market analysts, at the same time providing the manpower to assess the capabilities of the majority of vendors.
How does one follow the trends in the Business Intelligence space? I guess by now everybody uses Google Alerts, RSS Feeds or other commercial intelligence tools to stay abreast on product and market developments. Joining groups on Linkedin or Yahoo are other ways of staying in touch with the BI community. When it comes to analyst blogs, I really enjoy reading the BIScorecard by Cindy Howson. While she apparently has deeper expertise in some technologies, her blog posts are written in an informative and balanced manner. Haven’t read any of her research yet, but that might change :-)
What is your approach to following business intelligence and what blogs do you recommend?