Gartner?s Business Intelligence ?predictions? are rear-window

We’re confused. Are you confused too?

At the recently held 2011 Gartner Business Intelligence Summit in London, and in the report Predicts 2011: New Relationships Will Change BI and Analytics, Gartner said that Business Intelligence (BI) and analytics leaders need to embrace several trends that will challenge traditional assumptions about these technology areas.

So what are these ‘predictions’? Gartner forecast that:

  1. BI will be increasingly consumed via handheld devices
  2. BI deployments will combine with collaborative and social software to produce better analytics-based decision-making environments
  3. Analytic applications will use in-memory functions to increase scalability and speed

Sensing a problem? I am.

These aren’t predictions. It’s commentary – these shifts are happening right now. Or, depending on perspective, have already occurred. Whilst Gartner did offer some genuine predications in terms of timeframes and percentage of industry uptake for these trends, the trends themselves, offer little insight.

In a recent media release regarding these predictions, Neil Chandler, research director at Gartner, said: “By 2014, the metamorphosis of BI from IT-owned and report-centric will be virtually complete for a large number of organizations. These organizations will change what types of BI and analytics they use.”

Chandler’s remarks are an observation. Which is fine. But it’s a fare-cry from the shrewd insight we’ve all come to expect from Gartner.

Looking into the future is hard

Ok, I know what you’re thinking. At times, we’re all guilty of telling it like it is, rather than how it will be, when asked to stare into a crystal ball and pull-out something meaningful. Offering true predictive insight is a hard, unenviable task.

Our recent article – Top 13 Business Intelligence trends for 2011 – probably contained a few fairly obvious, non-earth-shattering forecasts, or BI ‘prophesies’.

But, I think you would agree, telling BI and analytics leaders they need to embrace Mobile BI, collaborative decision-making modules, and in-memory analytics is very rear-window.

Why? Because:

  • We know about the proliferation of Mobile devices within the enterprise – there are almost enough IDC research papers and media releases on the topic to fill that infinite void we call cyber space. Preeminent Mobile BI researcher, Howard Dresner, continually reminds us of the importance and omnipresent nature of Mobile BI; and Aberdeen research confirms the growing interest and adoption, emphasizing its ability to increase performance by facilitating faster information sharing and decision-making.
  • We know that improving the use of the actionable information generated via reporting and analytics by enhancing the decision-making cycle is critical. It’s impossible for anyone involved in the BI space to open his or her inbox on a Monday without finding a paper, article, or webinar on “Social BI”.
  • In-memory analytics has become a normal checklist item for reporting and analytics solutions. Enough said.

Want a genuine prediction?

People will continue to simply commentate on current BI trends under the guise of ‘prediction’ because few of us have authentic foresight. And those who do leave themselves open to ridicule when their visions don’t eventuate. Predicting BI trends is hard.

Luckily, Yellowfin is making Business Intelligence easy.

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