Agile Business Intelligence is the way of the future: Forrester

Forrester Research has authored a new report – Trends 2011 And Beyond: Agility Will Shape Business Intelligence For The Next Decade – in response to the substantial growth in the Business Intelligence (BI) market, as increasing numbers of organizations turn to BI to help grow their business, and maximize operational efficiencies.

“Business intelligence software has emerged as a hot topic in the past few years; in 2011, most companies will again focus their software investment plans on BI,” Forrester Principal Analyst, Boris Evelson, wrote in his Forrester blog.

The report was instigated by the findings from Forrester’s Forrsights Software Survey. The survey, discussed in a blog post by Holger Kisker towards the end of last year, found that around 50 percent of respondents said they planned to implement and expand their BI deployments within 24 months.

Business Intelligence in a word? Agile

The Trends 2011 And Beyond report, written by Evelson, is based on interviews with 32 vendor companies and summarizes the major trends in BI processes, best practices, technology and architectures by stating that the overall field is moving towards one of agility.

Lack of Agile Business Intelligence has hurt organizations in the past

The report suggests that a lack of agility across all process and technical areas has been a major stumbling block for traditional BI implementations, resulting in a lack of BI maturity and successful implementations, despite many companies dedicating greater resources and attention to BI. The Forrester report cites three major reasons for this gap between resources spent and outcomes achieved:

  • Successful BI projects are achieved on the back of substantial experience and learning from past mistakes – best practices must be followed over a sustained period of time to achieve optimum project outcomes
  • Many BI technologies and their accompanying processes are too inflexible to adjust to the constantly and rapidly changing information needs of modern businesses
  • Organizational efforts to consolidate their BI environments into a centralized single source of truth have led to bureaucratic processes that ultimately inhibit agility

A point of difference: Surely consolidation aids agility
Forrester claim that fewer organizations are consolidating their BI deployments, arguing that this decline is due to increased levels of bureaucracy encountered as a result of consolidation. As evidence, they point to the drop-off in respondent organizations, from their 2009 and 2010 BI Maturity Online Surveys, that state plans to consolidate their BI environments. However, the figure has dropped a mere two percent, from 40 percent in 2009, to 38 percent in 2010. It seems dubious that anything of note can be drawn from this insignificant change. Furthermore, much evidence and common sense suggests that consolidating BI rollouts enables a streamlining of reporting processes, facilitating a more user friendly environment, leading to pervasive user adoption, hence greater independent access to larger volumes of actionable intelligence in reduced timeframes.

Next generation technologies that will drive Agile Business Intelligence

The Forrester report identifies four major technological areas / technology enablers of “next-generation” BI solutions that it believes are vital for achieving successful, agile, BI deployments in 2011 and beyond. The report states that next generation BI should be:

  • Devoid of limitations; encompassing adaptive data models, unlimited dimensionality, as well as data exploration and analysis
  • Automated – all BI processes and components wherever possible
  • Pervasive: make BI available to all decision-makers wherever, and whenever its needed, via online self-service, mobile, social and integrated components
  • Unified; to eliminate knowledge silos

Yellowfin and Agile Business Intelligence

For more on Yellowfin and Agile BI, check out our white paper: Agile Business Intelligence

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