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Business intelligence trends for 2009

11th Mar 2009
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It was a year of consolidation for the business intelligence sector in 2008. But what's in store for the field in 2009? A handful of Gartner analysts forecast the following key trends.

This year, organisations will demand more than ever from those IT leaders responsible for business intelligence. In these more challenging conditions, the capabilities of business intelligence will be viewed as a way to transform and improve the business.

As such, it is expected that the next 12 months will see a focus on efforts to significantly increase the value that is being derived from business intelligence investments.

With this in mind, Gartner analysts including Bill Hostmann, Kurt Schlegel, Bill Gassman, Nigel Rayner, Neil McMurchy and Matthew W. Cain, identified the following trends for the business intelligence sector.

Through 2012, more than 35% of the top 5,000 global companies will regularly fail to make insightful decisions about significant changes in their business and markets

By Bill Hostmann

    Most organisations are finding they do not have the information, processes and tools their managers need in order to make informed, responsive decisions. Too many enterprises under-invest in their information infrastructure and business users' tools.

    However, economics and regulators will mandate better information to detect change, make better decisions and communicate the changes and decisions. The economic crisis will reveal which enterprises have the information and tools to support management decisions and which do not. For example, could your enterprise provide the management team with information regarding a major business or market change without a painful, stop-everything project? This kind of decision requires a wide range of internal and external information and analysis to support rapid risk analysis and contingency planning with business rules, formulas, quality controls, processes and skills.

By 2010, 20% of organisations will have an industry-specific analytic application delivered via software as a service (SaaS) as a standard component of their BI portfolio

By Kurt Schlegel

    Information aggregators such as Nielsen, Thomson Reuters and IMS Health will increasingly rely on multi-tenant SaaS to deliver industry-specific analytic applications built from the data they collect from numerous competitors within a given industry. SaaS ensures a consistent data model and code base. Business users will be able to subscribe to SaaS-based analytic applications that provide an array of reporting and analysis capabilities.

    SaaS analytic applications will not eliminate the need for on-premises BI and data warehouse architecture, but they will command a much higher share of customer spending. The trend will shift the balance of power in the $5-billion BI platform market. As SaaS infrastructure and BI capabilities will be easily commoditised, information aggregators will emerge as major powerbrokers. Companies will only share their data with aggregators that can guarantee its security and confidentiality. While hundreds of information aggregators offering SaaS analytic applications will emerge, a virtual monopoly will persist within each industry segment because of the high barrier to entry for other information aggregators.

By 2012, business units will control at least 40% of the total budget for BI

By Neil Chandler, Bill Gassman and Nigel Rayner

    At present, the IT organisation excels at building BI infrastructure but struggles to understand the business enough to support it with the right information. Business units drive analysis and performance management initiatives today. Mainly, they use spreadsheets that create dashboards full of metrics and are turning to analytic applications and packaged business applications to automate the process.

    BI vendors already offer packaged analytic applications targeting specific functions, such as finance or marketing, but they are often not the choice of business users. As a result, business units will increase spending on packaged analytic applications, including corporate performance management, online marketing analytics and predictive analytics that optimise processes, not just report on them. But by making these purchases outside of the influence of the IT organisation, business units risk creating silos of applications and information, which will limit cross-function analysis. This adds complexity and delay to corporate planning and execution of changes.

In 2009, collaborative decision making will emerge as a new product category that combines social software with BI Platform capabilities

By Kurt Schlegel, Rita Sallam and Matt Cain

    The emergence of social software such as Facebook, MySpace and Delicious presents an opportunity for savvy IT leaders to exploit the groundswell of interest in informal collaboration. Instead of promoting a formal, top-down decision-making initiative, these IT leaders will tap people's natural inclination to use social software to collaborate and make decisions. If collaborative decision making takes off, social network analysis can track who is making decisions in the organization and how. Social network analysis would show the value of BI by tying the dimensions and measures to decisions made in the company. It would also create a powerful archive that would enable a forensic approach to audit decisions to understand how decisions are made in the company.

By 2012, one-thirds of analytic applications applied to business processes will be delivered through large-grained application mashups

By Kurt Schlegel and Bill Gassman

    Enterprises should not trust their mega-vendor to solve all their integration problems. At the same time, business units do not care about grand visions for SOA, such as assembling composite applications by weaving together fine-grained services. Out-of-the-box integration of business process management and BI has not yet materialised. Large-grained application mashups provide a more cost-effective way to embed analytics into the business process without a major re-architecture of the applications. Mashups and userconfigurable widgets are catching on fast in the consumer world and will migrate to work with enterprise applications and data.

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