2013 Business Intelligence Trends

Credit: e-bcorp.com

A few weeks ago we posed the question of whether or not Excel had the staying power to be the next great Business Intelligence tool. An overwhelming percentage of readers said yes. This week we decided to delve further into what else is on the horizon for the Business Intelligence arena.

Each year experts and industry leaders make their predictions on what lies ahead on the Business Intelligence landscape. We’ve distilled those predictions down to ones that appeared several times over. Looking at TechTarget, InformationWeek, Forrester, and Tableau Software, we scoped out the top Business Intelligence (BI) trends for 2013 and this is what we discovered.

  1. Cloud BI – The cloud isn’t going anywhere. It still has a lot of attention, despite the reliability, performance, availability, and privacy concerns from your IT department. The cloud’s ability to adjust to larger and larger data sets and petabytes of information makes it attractive for the Business Intelligence arena. TechTarget doubts moving infrastructure to the cloud will become mainstream in 2013, but that it is definitely destined and headed in that direction.
  2. Big Data – Big Data still gets big talk. Forrester predicts a rise in Hadoop-based BI applications, particularly within the mission-critical applications. Along those same lines, Forrester sees Big Data moving out of silos and into enterprise IT. They see enterprise IT becoming more involved with enterprise BI in order to save on the costs it takes to manage Big Data.
  3. Self-Service BI – We’re seeing it with the addition of Powerview to Excel, the desire for people to be in charge of their own data with less of a reliance on IT support to pull information and make business decisions. Forrester cited:
    1. Organizations need to find just the right amount of control that balances the needs of end users and IT. The winning solution will combine the flexibility and agility that self-service brings with behind-the-scenes monitoring and adjustments that improve performance.
  4. Mobile BI Tools – with the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) generation steadily gaining ground, the need to access information quickly and on-the-go are important features of any BI tool. Forrester predicts that the best BI tools outweigh IT standards, meaning companies will be willing to pay more for the best Business Intelligence tools (even if that means multiple tools and headaches for IT). InformationWeek writer Cindi Howson also predicts that mobile BI will boost BI adoption in general.
  5. Multiple BI Tools – There are tons of BI tools out there and with the increase in mobile workers using different devices, there will be a need for multiple BI tools. Among those tools is the need for visual analytics. Tableau Software argues visual analytics are not merely a handy tool for data scientists, but instead a necessary means to help others understand and make sense of the data.

Previous Director of TDWI Research and author of the 2012 book, Secrets of Analytical Leaders: Insights from Information Insiders, Wayne Eckerson, writes that future Business Intelligence will be most successful with Purple People. (Stick with me.) Purple people are people who can grasp and blend both business (blue) and technology (red) in terms of analytics. They know how to seamlessly bridge these two disparate forces. These people know how to best utilize the Business Intelligence tools and trends to propel a company forward.

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