Top 5 Trends in Business Intelligence

Updated: May 12, 2010

According to the 2010 Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligent Platforms, Gartner expects the market for BI platforms to stay among the fastest growing software markets. "In tough economic times, when competitiveness depends on the optimization of strategy and execution, organizations continue to turn to BI as a vital tool for smarter, more agile and efficient business."

Experts, including Gartner, the Data Warehousing Institute, and Forrester Research, agree that BI is ripe for innovation -- and will evolve to deliver even greater business value. The top five trends for 2010 are:

1. Business intelligence goes open source. When open source software is sound and supported by a vibrant community, it can be an excellent low-cost option. Open source BI software has made that leap, becoming a deployment option that appeals to mid-size companies in a variety of industries as well as to public sector organizations. In fact, Gartner predicts that "open source BI tool production deployments will grow five-fold through 2012."

According to Gartner, open source BI doesn't yet have the same level of functionality as commercial offerings and is more likely to be deployed as individual tools, rather than as an enterprise-wide BI standard. Open source BI isn't free -- support costs must always be factored in -- but it can allow an IT department to experiment with the technologies without making a multi-million dollar investment.

2. Business intelligence moves to the cloud. Not everyone has the development expertise to devote to open source software, yet many companies still want a lower-cost alternative to premises-based BI software. Research by the Data Warehousing Institute, HP, and Forrester show that organizations are increasingly interested in cloud computing for BI. With BI running in the cloud, organizations can pay just for the capacity they need, when they need it. Also, it gives companies access to complex, sophisticated BI technologies without having to pay for in-house BI expertise.

James G. Kobelius, senior analyst at Forrester Research, expects that data warehouses in particular to be deployed in cloud environments in 2010. In January, he told SearchBusinessAnalytics.com, "In 2010, we'll see vendors continue to introduce cloud, SaaS, and virtualized deployments of their core analytic databases. The industry is moving inevitably toward cloud-based services that supplement appliances, licensed software and other deployment options."

3. User interfaces become more graphical and business-user friendly. Traditionally, BI software has generated complex reports that can be difficult to read. Newer BI solutions now offer far more interactive and graphical user interfaces, which feel more like consumer-application UIs. These make BI much easier to use and helps keep the data analysis results accessible to a wide variety of business users.

4. Advanced analytics are more widely deployed. "Advanced analytics is the critical enabler in turning data into insight," reports HP's Top 10 trends in Business Intelligence for 2010 white paper. Forrester's Kobelius believes organizations will use advanced analytics to find ways to reach customers via social networks, saying this year will be "the year social network analysis truly emerges as the new frontier in advanced analytics, supporting mining of behavioral, attitudinal, and other affinities."

5. Pure-play BI vendors get more traction in the market. The enterprise software "megavendors" like Oracle, IBM, and HP aren't the only ones offering viable enterprise BI platforms anymore. Smaller vendors, such as that focus solely on BI are gaining ground in the BI market. According to Gartner, "There is significant, if not euphoric, satisfaction with, and accelerated interest in, pure-play BI platforms. This is particularly true for smaller, innovative vendors filling needs left unmet by the larger vendors."

Featured Research
  • Eight Ways You Should Be Using Contact Center Reporting

    Every day, your contact center collects critical data that can be used to drive strategic improvements to your efforts in the future. But that data is meaningless if you don’t know how to access and analyze it. The key to do doing both is using reporting features. By understanding how to use reporting tools, you will gain much greater insight from the data you are collecting. more

  • Is Your Phone System Stealing Profits?

    Having the wrong phone system can dramatically cut into your profits. Despite this, many businesses just sign up for a plan or platform that seems ‘good enough’. If you haven’t carefully considered your options and the included features, there’s a very good chance that you are leaving money on the table in some way. more

  • Best Video Conferencing Features for Business

    Most businesses are currently underutilizing their video conferencing software because they aren’t aware of the different ways it can be used. Understanding the different features of video conferencing software can be critical to getting the most out of your investment. These features often vary from one option to the next as well, so it's important to do your homework before choosing a specific service. more

  • Phone System Technology Showdown

    VoIP and IP telephony are often misconstrued as being the same type of phone system, but the truth is they operate on different technology and deployment methods. This guide will explain the differences between VoIP and IP, go into the pros and cons of both VoIP and IP-PBX, and give insight into which type of phone system will benefit your business the most. more

  • 8 Ways the Cloud is Changing ERP for the Better

    What if there was a tool available that allowed for you to save up to a quarter of your operational costs? Studies have shown that Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions enable businesses to access accurate, real-time information about daily operations which allow for the reduction of operational costs of up to 23% and administrative costs of up to 22%. more