Shawn Rogers, the co-founder and editorial director of BeyeNETWORK, has more than 19 years hands-on IT experience with a focus on Internet-enabling technology. Prior to founding BeyeNETWORK, Shawn was a partner at a business intelligence publication. His wide knowledge of both IT and business management enables him to provide extensive industry insight for the NETWORK.
Q: What do you see as the Top 5 business intelligence trends?
SR: The first trend we’re seeing is business intelligence appliances. In fact, appliances are starting to emerge in several areas – including analytics, data warehouses and data quality.
SR: Secondly, real-time data is still a huge trend in business intelligence. As the business intelligence market is maturing, we’re seeing more and more companies updating information – even on an hourly basis.
SR: The third trend in business intelligence is performance management. More and more companies are using business intelligence and blending it with strategy and key performance indicators (KPIs) to run the business. In fact, performance management is seen as the ‘holy grail’ of business intelligence: taking the information generated through business intelligence, an running the business on that information.
SR: Open source is another trend that has emerged over the past months. Open source for business intelligence is huge in Europe, but North America has been slow to adopt it. Now it’s getting traction here in North America. As a recent BeyeNETWORK survey showed, price is the number two concern among CIOs. We think that issue is a primary driver of interest in open source business intelligence – its lower price point. It seems to be coming through a project or department and then going viral. And, some vendors have found ways to eliminate some of the concerns around open source, such as intellectual property and scale.
SR: The biggest trend we are seeing is interest in software-as-a-service business intelligence (SaaS business intelligence). Companies see SaaS as easier to implement and another money saving option. It’s an opportunity to have enterprise tools without much hassle.
Q: These trends sound similar to business intelligence trends in years past. How has the economy impacted this list?
SR: The economy has a clear impact on this list. For example, performance management has been a key trend for several years. Because it can make a strategic impact on the business, it has moved higher up on the priority list. On the other hand, lower cost options have also gained in popularity as a result of the economy; the primary two being open source and SaaS business intelligence.
Q: Is there innovation in today’s business intelligence marketplace? Has the economy temporarily “squashed” innovation?
SR: The economy has created an opportunity for innovation. In addition to the innovation from the business intelligence appliance guys, we’re seeing a lot of innovation in the vertical space. Some industry segments, such as human resources (HR) and manufacturing are even starting to head towards vertical-specific business intelligence ‘mashups.’
Q: What do you see in the future for business intelligence?
SR: Right now we have 4 – 5 “mega” players in business intelligence – really a result of the M&A activity over the past few years. This type of activity is almost always followed by a period of new players emerging. Mergers and acquisitions take time to integrate the people, processes and technology. As the merging companies focus on that – and their new marketing messages – the playing field opens up for new competitors. It’s a bit of a self-perpetuating cycle. We’re going starting to see the second half of that cycle now in the business intelligence market.
Q: What about business intelligence adoption trends?
SR: The business intelligence early adopters have experienced the benefits of business intelligence and are still investing in business intelligence. The taste of success they’ve had in initial business intelligence applications have translated into updating their original applications and rolling out new applications. Those businesses are focused on extending the power of business intelligence to more and more employees. For example, retail stores have seen the benefits in the home office, and now are trying to figure out how to get embedded business intelligence into the cash registers, or in a real-time call center.
SR: The second business intelligence adoption trend we’re seeing is that the small-to-medium business market is turning to business intelligence. It’s almost as if the business intelligence vendors have “discovered” the SMB market. Smaller companies have the same data problems, and now vendors are developing more affordable options for those companies.
Q: Any parting observations?
SR: All the vendors are looking at the challenge of pervasive business intelligence. How they can drive business intelligence throughout the enterprise.
Spotfire Blogging Team