Top 13 Business Intelligence trends for 2011 (part one)

Brace yourself; make sure you’re wearing a clean pair of jocks, and screw-up your face in readiness. The Business Intelligence (BI) rollercoaster is spooling up for another stomach churning full-throttle annual launch.

2010 saw the emergence of several significant trends in the BI marketplace that were largely centered around the ease-of-use, access to, and speed of reporting and analytics. 2011 will see an intensification and extension of those trends.

In this blog post we offer the first six of our 13 superstition free predictions for the year that lies ahead (appearing in no particular order):

1. Social and Collaborative Business Intelligence

The importance of Social and Collaborative BI will grow. The worldwide enterprise collaborative decision-making (CDM) software market is poised for continued growth in 2011, with revenues forecast to reach $US 769.2 million, up 15.7 percent from 2010. 2011 will be the year where the trend of harnessing and applying features of social media to business analytics, to enable better CDM processes, will make its mark.

Organizations will fully realize the value of CDM technology and its ability to improve collective decision-making via faster information sharing and collaboration.

2. Spiraling iPad popularity will shape Mobile Business Intelligence

Skyrocketing iPad sales are transforming the Mobile BI sector.

The latest Gartner forecast on tablet computer sales highlights the point. Gartner predicted that worldwide tablet sales would reach 19.5 million for 2010 – nearly all of them iPads; and that that figure will climb to 54.8 million units in 2011, and 208 million in 2014.

An increasingly tech savvy and geographically dispersed workforce will expect to be able to access their corporate data anywhere, anytime via mobile devices such as the iPad. Mobile BI will be another stepping stone in the march towards pervasive BI.

2. a) Growth of smartphone apps
To complement the rise of Mobile BI, BI applications for mobile devices will become more powerful and numerous throughout 2011. Users are beginning to be able to not only receive crucial reports on-the-go, but are able to comment on, email and interact with them – drilling down and through data and actively filtering reports for the data sets they need.

3. Location Intelligence

Demand for Location Intelligence has grown rapidly throughout 2010 and this will continue in 2011. The ability to map, visualize and understand geographical data will become an increasingly important part of any BI solution. Why? Because more than 80 percent of the data collected by organizations has a spatial element and vendors are finally starting to offer integrated mapping with their BI platforms.

4. Simple, not just pretty, data visualizations

Data visualizations must be visually stimulating to gain and hold interest. That’s a given. But, as user adoption increases, and more business people from less technical backgrounds attempt to harness the power of data analysis, the visual representations of that data analysis will become increasingly intuitive to ensure that crucial information is interpreted accurately.

5. Business Intelligence as SaaS deployment

BI as a SaaS deployment has allowed organizations previously barred from the benefits of reporting and analytics – due to its expense – to utilize BI technology for the first time. Additionally, larger once-off projects can be undertaken without the time constraints and additional cost of contracting extra IT professionals or upgrading existing hardware. This scalability, flexibility and reduced cost will see BI SaaS deployments grow in popularity in 2011.

IDC research indicates that the SaaS BI market will experience triple the growth of the overall market, expanding at a compound annual growth rate of 22.4 percent through to 2013.

Another recent survey of 500 US based IT end-user clients by non-profit trade association, CompTIA, reflected those predictions, with almost 75 percent of respondents saying they intended to increase spending on Cloud programs.

Research by the Aberdeen Group – Fast, Affordable, Agile: The Case for SaaS BI – has revealed that the primary motivations for utilizing BI as a SaaS deployment are to:

  • Reduce capital expenditure
  • Reduce ongoing costs
  • Enhance technical capabilities
  • Increase employee access to reporting and analytics with minimal IT involvement and support/maintenance requirements

For more information on BI as a SaaS deployment, see our whitepaper (Business Intelligence in the Cloud) and blog series.

6. Social media analytics

As issues relating to the analysis of data generated by social media platforms and its integration into existing data sets are overcome in 2011, the collection of social data types will steadily increase and become commonplace. Organizations will want to harness the power of modern BI technologies that have the ability to dissect and report on social data, as they strive to gain a greater understanding of target market needs, wants, behaviors and sentiment towards its own brand, and that of competitors.

Essentially, dissecting data generated by social media interactions will enable immediate access to powerful and actionable insights into consumer attitude.

Social data can help you answer question like:

  • Who is talking about your organization?
  • How often and how many hits do these comments receive?
  • What are they talking about – what is their opinion of your current offerings?

Answering fundamental questions like these about your brand or a competitor, through the use of social analytics, can help you establish the key messages of your next marketing campaign.

The conversational environment of social media also means the insight gathered from such interaction is likely to be some of the most honest customer service data you’ve ever collected.

Further, the analysis of data gleaned from social media falls into the broader category of textual analysis. 2011 will see organizations’ desire to understand not only the meaning within blogs, discussions boards and forums, but also within other forms of largely textual data such as emails, contracts and other documentation.

Is that it?

Now that we’ve got you hooked like a Yellowfin tuna, keep an eye out for the second half of our 2011 BI predictions.

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