This is a guest blog post by Marcus Borba (@marcusborba), the founder of Borba Consulting, a Business Intelligence and Performance Management consultancy located in Brazil. Marcus has over 10 years of experience providing consulting services to designing and implementing business intelligence and performance management solutions. He also writes a blog called Business Intelligence News.
In Part One of this update we revisited the 7 Hot Trends in Business Intelligence. In addition to these trends, the terms “self-service” and “open source” are being seen a lot these days in discussions of business intelligence. To complete the trends update, we’ll take a look at these concepts and where they are headed.Self-service (or self-serve) BI allows users to access data sources and utilize BI tools without going through an IT gateway. Since self-service is more of a general goal than a specific capability, it’s often discussed as a benefit of collaborative tools and cloud-based platforms, both of which reduce the traditional barriers between business users and BI capabilities. Although self-service approaches have been around in theory for a long time, practical implementation is a lot more feasible today—and self-service is much more sought-after by savvy business users who want faster, more flexible BI capabilities. The familiar caveats still apply, though: potentially conflicting data views, diminished control over data quality and security, etc. Outlook: Despite inherent problems, the perceived value of self-service BI is steadily increasing, and solution vendors are highly motivated to close maturity gaps. Insights: ComputerWorld analyzes the appeal of self-service.
James Kobielus, lead Forrester advanced analytics analyst, explores this growing trend in greater detail in a webcast titled BI in the Cloud: A self-service alternative to “Big BI”.
Open-source BI is an alternative to BI software based on the traditional commercial model, which restricts access to underlying code. Open-source has only recently become a factor in the BI market–mainly as an option for smaller organizations and limited deployments–but over the past decade open-source products like the Linux operating system, Firefox browser, and Apache server software have become increasingly mainstream. While the appeal of open-source products is often viewed in cost terms (usually cheap, often free), there’s also an innovation factor: because lots of people can make contributions to open-source development, new ideas and functional improvements can accrue rapidly. Outlook: Proprietary and open-source BI tools are beginning to converge, which could expand the options for customization of enterprise products. As a result, Open-source BI could offer more complete and sophisticated tools. Insights: BI expert Claudia Imhoff outlines considerations about open-source.
For much more about emerging ideas and influences in BI, check out Deloitte’s Tech Trends 2011: The Natural Convergence of Business and IT.