BI Trends 2012 – From Hype to Breakthrough

Mobile, collaborative and cloud BI to find their way in 2012

Langenfeld, Germany/Berwyn, PA, November 30, 2011 - The market for Business Intelligence (BI) in 2011 was shaped by three much-hyped themes: mobile BI, collaborative BI and cloud BI. While vendors and analysts are driving the buzz around these new technologies, users have thus far hesitated to fully embrace them as they explore what their business benefits might be. Will 2012 be the year that mobile, collaborative and cloud BI go mainstream? Global BI innovator arcplan dares to look into its crystal ball to see what technologies will break through in the coming year.

Mobile BI – Simplified Entry
The hype around mobile BI was clear this year, but did the talk result in concrete implementations? According to The BI Survey 10 from analysts BARC, only 8% of companies using BI software access their reports in mobile form – an astonishingly low number if you consider that mobile BI is being lauded by analysts and the media as the next big thing, and users are clamoring for mobile solutions.

So why hasn't this hype translated to action yet? So far, Apple has dominated the market for mobile devices with the iPhone and iPad, which are only conditionally compatible with business applications. This will change in 2012 when Microsoft and Phone 7 return to the market with a focus on both the business sector and the consumer market, which will set it apart from Apple. Companies are looking beyond the Apple platform for cost-effective mobile BI solutions, and in 2012, they will encounter Microsoft's new Metro Design, which will simplify entry into mobile BI tremendously. This concept, fueled by clean typeface and balanced design, can be used on Phone 7 as well as any other mobile device and is well suited for business applications. Furthermore, Web apps – in contrast to native apps – will meet the demand for an efficient entry into the world of mobile business applications. Due to their develop once/deploy anywhere nature, they offer businesses the chance to productively use mobile BI apps on any platform (Apple, Microsoft, Android, etc.) and independent of cumbersome approval processes or other restrictions in manufacturer-controlled app stores.

Collaborative BI – The Democratization of Knowledge
2012 will be the year in which companies realize the promise of collaborative BI when information becomes democratized. Thanks to clever software solutions, employees from all areas of a company will be able make important decisions for their areas of responsibility, backed by easily-accessible information and analyses. Previously, only a select group of technical experts or managers had access to BI systems. In the coming 12 months, businesses will discover that knowledge is the basis of financial success and that all employees must be able to access the reservoir of information that exists in the company. It is not sufficient to simply put information in the intranet or a database. Rather, collaborative tools that make it possible for employees to search, rate, comment on, and request enhancements to content will become more and more desirable. These functions are used every day in the Web 2.0 world of social communities like Facebook, Wikipedia, Linkedln and Xing. Adopting collaborative BI tools that take advantage of this pre-existing behavior, as well as provide open interfaces, work on more than just one provider's platform, and are also capable of integrating unstructured data sources when searching for information will be paramount. In 2012, we'll see collaborative BI bring increased efficiency and shortened time-to-decision, providing concrete value to the first adopters.

Cloud BI – Better Security Through Intelligent Concepts
Cloud computing will gain even more popularity in 2012, especially in BI. The private cloud – where IT infrastructures are operated solely for a single organization – is drawing a great deal of attention. According to a recent survey from Info-Tech, more than three-quarters (76%) of all IT decision makers are interested in private clouds. One-third of those surveyed even said that a private cloud is their exclusive focus when it comes to cloud computing. The reason is that private clouds provide stricter controls than their public counterparts, because data security meets the respective company standards. In contrast, the benefits of public clouds, such as Amazon's EC2, include high scalability, reliable back-up, tremendous flexibility, and attractive prices. So, why not combine the best of both models? The solution is called a hybrid cloud and it will take hold in 2012. Hybrid clouds allow all critical applications that need strict security controls to be housed in a private cloud, and applications with lower security concerns to be placed in the public cloud. So both cloud systems can be combined in such a way that data transmission is possible without issue.

Important for the selection of the right cloud model can be data volume and level of security: Marketing data is relatively manageable and easy to move out into the public clouds – but for financial data it can be better to keep the data of a BI solution in the private cloud. The hybrid cloud offers an outstanding point of entry into cloud BI as companies look for ways to deploy BI at a lower price point while limiting the public cloud's security concerns. Cloud solutions are an optimal addition to a company's BI environment, especially in connection with the growing desire for mobile BI, which is best serviced from a cloud.

So that's a look ahead to what BI consumers can expect in 2012: a focus on anywhere, anytime accessibility, employee participation in the decision-making process, and scalable, secure BI solutions in a hybrid cloud environment.


About arcplan

arcplan is a leader in innovative Business Intelligence, Dashboard, Corporate Performance and Planning software solutions for desktop and mobile use.  Since 1993, arcplan has enabled more than 3,000 customers worldwide to leverage their existing infrastructure and achieve organizational efficiency through the powerful combination of analysis, insight and collaboration.  Simply put: We make organizations perform better.  Get more information at www.arcplan.com.

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