BI Predictions: 9 Experts Discuss Where Business Intelligence is Headed

Business intelligence is one of the fastest moving industries right now.

BI vendors are innovating quicker than ever in an arms race to help businesses make smarter data-driven decisions.

To find out where the industry is headed, we reached out to 9 experts to get their perspective.

Business Intelligence Predictions

Prediction: We predict a dramatic increase in the creation of disruptive cloud-based applications that use analytics as the core value driver.

The number of companies leveraging data to create brand new application categories that bridge previously disconnected services will explode.

We expect that customer and consumer-facing applications with customized analytics at their core will increasingly use all their data, seamlessly blending their cloud and on-premise sources. This may yield a growing number of enterprises to reevaluate their warehouse solutions as high maintenance payments are due for renewal.

We anticipate a growing acceptance of cloud analytic deployments, especially those that support an end-to-end value chain. As the developer ecosystem expands, we expect developers and businesses to increasingly recognize the importance of joining a larger analytics community brought together by a central platform.


Jeff Morris, VP of Product Marketing
GoodData

Prediction: Big data needs to play well with others!

Historically, big data projects have largely sat in the IT departments because of the technical skills needed and the growing and bewildering array of technologies that can be combined to build reference architectures. Customers must choose from the various commercial and open source technologies including Hadoop distributions, NoSQL databases, high-speed databases, analytics platforms and many other tools and plug-ins. But they also need to consider existing infrastructure including relational data and data warehouses and how they’ll fit into the picture.

The plus side of all this choice and diversity is that after decades of tyranny and ‘lock-in’ imposed by enterprise software vendors, in 2014, even greater buying power will shift to customers. But there are also challenges. It can be cumbersome to manage this heterogeneous data environment involved with big data analytics. It also means that IT will be looking for Big Data tools to help deploy and manage these complex emerging reference architectures, and to simplify them.  It will be incumbent on the Big Data technology vendors to play well with each other and work towards compatibility. After all, it’s the ability to access and blend information from multiple sources that will add value to big data analytics.


Quentin Gallivan, CEO
Pentaho

Prediction: Companies will put business intelligence in the hands of employees.

Self-service analytics will extend into larger and more complex datasets, with employees able to access the data they need. Every employee will be able to drill down into the data in all its detail, explore wherever their line of questioning takes them, and find what they need to make better decisions. Time-consuming processes that have been core to BI solutions—such as cleansing data, forcing it into a stringent model, aggregating and summarizing it before warehousing—will no longer be necessary, making it easier for employees across departments to navigate complex inter-relationships within the data. BI will again focus on the enterprise – as opposed to department solutions – and bring big value to businesses.


Frank Bien, CEO
Looker

Prediction: Empowered Analysts Come to the Rescue of IT Departments

As the IT department looks for ways to tame their growing list of data and analytics service requests, they discover a new class of tools that give analysts in line of business groups like marketing, sales, and HR direct access to the data they need, from whichever source it is coming from. Not only do these tools reduce the need for complex and laborious IT processes and tools, but they also enable the entire organization to use data blending and advanced analytics to react faster to market opportunities. This, in turn, fosters the next level of innovation leveraging data new and old, proprietary and public, big and small.


Paul Ross, VP Product & Industry Marketing
Alteryx

Prediction: We are approaching the third wave of BI and Business Analytics.

The first wave was Traditional BI using data warehouses and data cubes. The second wave focused on Business Data Exploration and Visualizations. Some call this “Self-Service BI” putting the power in the business user’s hand.

We are now at the beginning of the third BI/BA wave, which is actually a confluence of many major categories: Big Data Analytics, Real Time Analytics and Visual Analytics.

This is how I see the blending confluence – Real-time systems are blending real-time data with Big Data for more business contextual answers. The goal is to apply visual analytics on both Big Data and real-time data simultaneously in a single seamless dashboard-like environment. Maybe the Third BI Wave can just be summed up as one big BI Real-time/Big Data/Visual mash up.


John Crupi, VP/CTO Visual Analytics
Software AG

Prediction: Organizations will demand predictive analytics as an integral part of their BI strategy

Most organizations today use some element of business intelligence, even if it’s basic dashboards, reporting and scorecards.  As the BI industry has matured over the last decade companies consider BI as critical as their ERP and CRM systems, and use BI as a tool to maximize return on investment for these enterprise systems. Savvy CIOs are ready to take the next step and  move beyond descriptive and diagnostic BI — which focuses on backward-looking and current conditions — to predictive analytics, which supports more strategic decision-making for future planning.

We at Prognoz have built our BI platform to support this very evolution.  Our modeling, forecasting and time-series analysis tools are designed to build upon traditional BI and help customers gain further value from their data to understand likely impacts from possible market changes, changes in business investments, or unexpected industry volatility.   Companies evaluating next steps for their BI strategy should think beyond today’s immediate reporting needs and consider how more advance analytics can both help them avoid risks and take greater advantage of market opportunities.


Sergey Shestakov, Head of Business Development
Prognoz

Prediction: There is a battle brewing in the BI industry.

Traditional BI and data warehouse vendors, with their large installed bases and strong data governance are pitted against newer data discovery providers, with their self-service agility and data blending. We believe that the ultimate battle will be between vendors offering agility coupled with proper governance and the ability to handle enterprise sized data. “Big data discovery” fundamentally changes the data landscape, allowing companies to do more analysis with more data using less technology.  This is the single point where big data, data discovery, advanced analytics and cloud technology all come together for maximum effect.


Sandy Steier, CEO and Co-founder
1010data

 

Prediction: Technology advancements are now providing businesses with new options for business intelligence, and are paving the way for new breakthroughs in business understanding.  

For instance, data visualization – which emerged last year as a trend – will continue to be at the forefront of the BI industry.  What is exciting here is we’re now seeing new methods for displaying and organizing data into visual formats emerge, such as infographics that will change this sector of data analysis.

Another future direction for BI we’re very excited about is the whole concept of self-service BI.  Industry data shows that BI tools are still out of reach for the vast majority of business users.  In addition, data that is presented in static graphs and charts that cannot be adjusted, limits the usefulness of information. Self-service BI will “democratize data” allowing users who may not be experts in data analysis to manipulate the variables using live data.


Tomer Paz, Product Manager
Panorama

Prediction: Follow the Money, Business-led Tech Innovation Will Disrupt and Drive Growth

Putting more data to work drives innovation.  Innovation can transform processes, products, services and people. Our newfound ability to cost-effectively analyze and find hidden patterns in huge swaths of data will enable a new generation of business-led technology innovation.  With this trend, the IT organization must find new ways to integrate and collaborate within the enterprise, becoming an enabler of business-led innovation.  This collaboration is more important than ever as technology now defines the new economic battleground for every industry and organization.  Even Gartner’s latest predictions abound with a Digital Industrial Revolution theme and watchwords for CIOs and their IT organizations to either lead or get out of the way.  It’s a bold new world.

All companies are now technology companies.  Every organization must put technology to work in ways that create distinction and competitive advantage.  Evidence of this trend can be found in any industry-leading company today, where IDC says that business units already control 61% of tech spending.  Fortunately, the technological barriers to entry have never been lower.  Organizations of all sizes now have affordable access to powerful, enterprise tools, which levels the playing field, allowing even small companies to compete with the big guys (sometimes even more effectively, because of their nimbleness).  One example is AirIT, which can help every airport become a technology-enabled data center, driven by metrics relevant to the business, which in turn, streamline operations and save money.

Brian Gentile
Brian Gentile, CEO
Jaspersoft

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