Dresner: Business Intelligence in transformational state (P1)

Highlights from the Howard Dresner Wisdom of Crowds Business Intelligence Market Study 2011 Webcast (Part One)

Howard Dresner officially launched the 2011 Wisdom of Crowds Business Intelligence Market Study in a live Webcast on June 15.

The Webcast, sponsored by InformationWeek, discussed the results of the survey.

For a high level overview of the wisdom of crowds report, check out our blog Dawning of a new era in Business Intelligence: 2011 Wisdom of Crowds.

The full Wisdom of Crowds Business Intelligence Market Survey can be downloaded here.

The global study compared 16 of the world’s leading Business Intelligence (BI) vendors on a five-point scale, across 32 criteria. The results are based on feedback from 630 customers with first-hand experience with vendor products and services. Vendors are ranked on: Sales experience, value, quality and usefulness of product, quality of technical support, quality and value of consulting services, and whether existing clients would recommend the vendor and its product to others.

The consumerization of Business Intelligence

The study supported the sentiment that BI is becoming a more consumer-oriented product. Results indicated that more BI buyers, vendors and actual implementations are now focusing on the non-technical business user and the ability to empower decision-makers throughout an organization with reporting and analytics, regardless of background or technical expertise.

"We can see that the bulk of IT-oriented BI deployments [occurred] about six to ten years ago,” said Howard Dresner, report author, former Gartner Research Fellow and Founder of Dresner Advisory Services (DAS).

“So this sample is global, and you can see that now it’s about a 50-50 split between IT and business deployments."

"Now when we look at North American trends, we can see that it is a much more pronounced trend, and that IT deployments are in fact in the minority, representing 44 percent of total BI deployments within the sample gathered,” said Dresner.

Growth in Business Intelligence Deployments

The report reflects recent Gartner and IDC predictions regarding the strong continued growth of the BI market worldwide, with 63 percent of study participants reporting planned budget increases “in at least one BI area and 31 percent of respondents had increases of more than 10 percent in at least one area,” the report states.

Manufacturing industry and government lead charge in Business Intelligence deployments by industry
“A lot of the growth in BI deployments in recent years has come out of manufacturing and government and have experienced a lot of growth within the last two years,” said Dresner.

SMBs account for substantial growth in Business Intelligence deployments
"Now if we look at growth of BI deployments by size of organization, we can see that most of that growth has been coming from smaller organizations, or the small to midsized businesses [SMBs],” said Dresner.

"And we can see substantial growth in BI deployments for SMBs within the last one to two years, so there’s a real sea change, where deployments are shifting in favor of smaller organizations and the business user."

This trend reflects the fact that BI solutions are becoming easier to use and less expensive to own and maintain as mentioned in our blog post Top 13 Business Intelligence trends for 2011 (part two). This reduction in the total cost of ownership is allowing many SMBs to enter the BI marketplace for the first time. As the global BI market continues to experience double-digit growth, vendors will be able to offer lower cost BI to SMBs, and compete for this small-scale emergent market segment.

The number of Business Intelligence products in use climbs
"When we look at the number of BI products in use within an organization, the trend shows that the number of tools in use has increased in most organizations from 2010 to 2011, moving towards the two to three, or four or more,” said Dresner.

“We can see that there are probably lots of stovepipes emerging in many organizations that we need to be conscious of. Now, this doesn’t mean that you should have just one BI tool, but it doesn’t mean that you should have ten either."

Too many different business analytics programs or solutions within a single organization can cause confusion, information backlogs or bottlenecks, and prove nightmarish to manage. The trend towards a greater number of BI platforms within a single organization can possibly be explained by an increase in interest regarding business-user oriented BI tools, as organizations look to new-age solutions to empower business users, but hold onto their traditional BI tools as well.

Large organizations have a larger number of Business Intelligence products
Unsurprisingly, the report revealed that larger organizations were more likely to have the most number of BI tools. Dresner explained that this “occurs simply through history; the longer an organization has been around, the more tools it is likely to have. Very often there is departmental buying occurring within those organizations as well.”

The growth and consumerization of Business Intelligence: Key takeaways

“Business users are clearly in the driver’s seat, and in some cases, are sidestepping IT,” Dresner summated.

“A lot of the growth that we’re seeing comes from the SMBs, and in which case, there is no IT function, or it’s very modest. So, in this instance, when I say that the business users are in the driver’s seat, that’s because they’ve always been in the driver’s seat, and in fact, IT is just considered part of the business [not a separate entity].

“However, in the large organizations, there really has been a change,” said Dresner. “Those initial implementations that we saw during 2010 are expanding, but so are the number of tools, so I really do believe that some governance is needed to ensure that organizations don’t get three different answers to the same question. [As] we scale up, these governance problems can became very severe.”

In light of the continued consumerization of BI, Dresner advised that it is now more important than ever to ensure that the IT and business components of a business are well aligned, so that BI needs are effectively addressed and delivered: "IT and business users really need to get well aligned moving forward, said Dresner. "In all the case studies that I’ve done over the years, the best ones are where the business function and IT were well aligned.”

User priorities regarding Business Intelligence functionality

Operationalizing Business Intelligence: The highest user priority
"Seventy-five percent of respondents listed operationalizing Business Intelligence as ’critical’ or ’very important’,” said Dresner. “Most organizations just want to take their existing reports, dashboards and Business Intelligence functionality and simply drive it through their operations, so that folks could executive their jobs better by being empowered with fact-based insight.”

In-memory Analysis: Critical for the finance industry
"Forty-seven percent of survey participants listed in-memory analysis as either ’critical’ or ’very important’,” said Dresner. He explained that this demand was not surprising because “there’s a lot of resonance here for people in finance or those dealing with big data, because finance folks in particular are trying to analyze as much data as they can, as quickly as they can, and that’s really the promise of in-memory analysis.”

Social and collaborative Business Intelligence increasingly important, but only if organizational culture supports it
Dresner noted that "forty-eight percent said that collaboration was ’critical’ or ’very important’”, with “more than 50 percent of executives, as well as respondents from sales and marketing, [saying that] collaboration was ’very important’ to them.”

Whilst these figures clearly signal a strong interest and demand for collaborative components within BI software from business-users, Dresner was quick to point out that business culture plays a significant role in the usefulness and effectiveness of collaborative features and endeavors.

“If you don’t have a collaborative culture where people are open, transparent and share information readily, then the technology is probably not going to help you,” said Dresner.

The importance and prevalence of Mobile Business Intelligence continues to grow
Dresner said that one of the biggest shifts encountered in the 2011 study was the increased importance placed on Mobile BI and the increase in the number of BI users who were set to become exclusively mobile consumers of reporting and analytics within the next 24 months.

"Thirty-eight percent said that [Mobile BI] was ’critical’ or ’very important’, with a very strong affinity with executives, sales and marketing,” said Dresner.

“In the last DAS survey on Mobile BI, we asked respondents what percentage of users would be exclusively Mobile BI users [within the next 12 to 24 months].

"Only three percent [of survey respondents] said they’re not going to have any [users using Mobile BI exclusively], Seventy percent said a full quarter [of their current BI users would be exclusively mobile users within 24 months], and 23 percent said that half of their users would be exclusively mobile within two years.”

In the DAS 2011 Mobile BI study, Dresner said that Mobile BI was set to transform the way reporting and analytics is consumed: “In the future… there’ll never be cause not to know something. That’s the direction we’re going in; information will literally follow the end users.” Read more about Yellowfin’s performance in the Mobile Business Intelligence Market Study here.

When asked about his predictions for future trends in BI for the ensuing 12 to 18 months, Dresner cited Mobile BI as the single biggest continuing trend.

“There are a couple of foundational items, or technologies, which comprise the emerging platform for Business Intelligence. One of those is mobile computing. Do you realize how many mobile devices there are out there when you consider phones as well? The answer is billions. And there are an increasing number of tablets. When you look at Apple, I think they sold six million of the first version of the iPad – that’s just a huge number. So when you start using a tablet device like that, you realize that the information can follow you around, as opposed to having to go somewhere to get the information. It’s a tremendous enabler, very empowering and liberating in many ways. So Mobile Business Intelligence [will be a trend to watch].”

The report found retail to be the number one vertical for Mobile BI.

Stay tuned

Look out for part two this two-part blog series – Dresner: Business Intelligence in transformational state (P2) – for more highlights from the official Webcast launch of the 2011 Wisdom of Crowds Business Intelligence Market Study.

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