Yellowfin: Top Business Intelligence predictions for 2012 (Part Two)

Have you seen Back to the Future – the movie? Well if you haven’t, this analogy is about to get awkward. But, as posited in the first installment of this blog series – Yellowfin: Top Business Intelligence predictions for 2012 (Part One) – the 2012 Business Intelligence (BI) marketplace is set to emit a little (no pun intended) Michael J Fox. Or in the words of Shirley Bassey: “It’s all just a little bit of history repeating”.

The first three déjà vu conjuring ‘predications’ for 2012 included: A spending spree, Location Intelligence and Mobile BI. But what are the others?

4. SaaS: BI in the Cloud spurs SMB adoption

A recent Gartner report suggested that cloud-based BI is being adopted at a slow, ‘steady as she goes’ pace, accounting for only three percent of BI revenue by 2013. Whilst this prediction puts much of the hype into perspective, we believe the Software as a Service (SaaS) BI market will experience stronger growth given the potentially lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for small to midsized businesses (SMBs).

TechTarget’s 2012 IT Priorities Survey – which polled more than 2,600 IT professionals and business analysts – found that a growing number of enterprises plan to increase their expenditures for cloud services over the next year.

IDC research indicates that the SaaS BI market has and 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.

Additionally, global SMB ICT market research and industry analyst organization, Techaisle, revealed that cloud BI usage is expected to jump in the next year, with 47 percent of respondents planning to shift from spreadsheets to cloud – a jump of 59 percent from 2011. The study found that 22 percent of SMBs are currently using BI, another 27 percent plan to implement in the coming year, and that cloud-based BI is the top BI area of planned investment for 2012 amongst SMBs.

InformationWeek’s 2012 BI and Information Management Trends Report further underlines the appeal of SaaS-based BI for SMBs, with respondents listing “low overall cost” (55 %) and “low initial cost” (39 %) as two of the biggest attractors.

5. Big Data

Despite Big Data rating highly on Gartner’s latest “Hype Cycle” – it’s not all puffery. Big Data will continue to receive significant market place attention in 2012, as vendors and analysts scramble to meet and dissect emerging market demand. But why has Big Data become a hot topic? The answer seems to be two-fold – and fairly simple. Firstly, new, affordably priced, products and services have emerged to give organizations the capability and capacity to capture more information than ever before. A recent TDWI article – 5 Macro Trends Shaping Next-generation BI and Analytics – provides an extremely relevant example of how such developments have changed corporate data collation approaches and mindsets: “suppose you run a manufacturing company that produces baby bottles. In 2001, you probably focused on just two data points: how many bottles your plants produced and how much money you made from that production. Today, however, you’re likely to track how many bottles you manufacture and how much money you make as well as how satisfied your customers are, what percentage are repeat customers, and what people are saying about your bottles on social networks.”

This has been simultaneously meet with the expansion of existing data types and sources, and the creation of new ones. The emergence and continuing proliferation of a multitude of notable social media platforms has created vast amounts of potential customer data. Data which is just waiting to be mined and explored! For example, Facebook now has over 800 million users whose details, preferences and interactions are available for analysis.

A recent Gartner study puts the propagation of available data into perspective, stating that the volume of data generated in 2009 alone was greater than in the preceding 5,000 years combined. IDC predicts that digital content volume will balloon by 2.7 zettabytes in 2012 – a 48 percent boost from 2011. Gartner expects global enterprise data assets to grow by around an additional 650 percent by the end of 2014.

6. Ease-of-use will continue to be the number one BI priority

Players from both side of the proverbial fence in the BI marketplace will work hard to consolidate the most notable and overarching trend to affect the software segment since its inception – ease-of-use. Why? Because organizations have realized the value in equipping non-technical employees and business areas outside IT with ‘self-serve’ reporting and analytics and, naturally, vendors are-all-too-keen to tap into that vastly expanded potential customer base.

Gartner’s 2011 and 2012 BI Magic Quadrant surveys report “ease-of-use” as the new number one purchase consideration for BI platforms. New Ventana benchmark research on business analytics elicited a similar response from participants, with 89 percent expressing a desire for simpler analytics. Like Gartner, Ventana’s “Value Index” also lists product usability (57%) as the most important evaluation criteria, according to end-users, for product assessment.

Again, InformationWeek’s 2012 BI and Information Management Trends Report – an October 2011 survey of 542 business technology professionals – found that lack of usability is the most common barrier to BI adoption. Forty-five percent of respondents cited “ease-of-use challenges with complex software/less technically savvy employees” when presented with 15 possible responses to the question “what are the barriers to adopting BI products enterprise-wide?”. But ease-of-use doesn’t merely relate to product usability. Sixty-three percent of respondents to the same Information Management survey listed “ease of implementation” as their first choice when asked to identify “the most important features to look for when purchasing a BI product or selecting [a] vendor”. The bottom line? It just has to be easy.

Where to next?

Join us next time, as we conclude our predictions for BI 2012 in Yellowfin: Top Business Intelligence predictions for 2012 (Part Three).

Thanks for trying Yellowfin

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