Business Intelligence (“BI”) has been experiencing explosive growth over the last 15 years or so, and 2015 is perhaps the most exciting year on record. Many believe it is a tipping point year for BI. Below are the Top 5 trends we expect to see in 2015.
#5) Mobility becomes table stakes.
Getting the right information to the right people at the right time is what BI is all about, and mobility has been a key consideration of this goal. For years, mobile access via smartphones and tablets has been viewed by many clients as an advanced feature, but more and more, clients are making this a strong requirement in 2015. As the proliferation of mobile devices continues to grow, and as client organizations get more sophisticated with Bring Your Own Device (“BYOD”) and other enabling policies, mobility can no longer be viewed as a nice to have. Data analytics delivered through mobile devices is increasingly functional and while it’s not quite as refined as desktop usage, the gap has narrowed significantly. With significant investments and developments in this area, the promise of analytics anytime anywhere has become more of a reality than ever before.
#4) Decentralization of Monolithic BI Platforms.
We have seen a strong consolidation of enterprise BI platforms to a standard system in years past with the acquisition of Hyperion by Oracle, the acquisition of Business Objects by SAP, and the acquisition of Cognos by IBM. Even clients with SAS, MicroStrategy, Information Builders, and other pure play BI platforms have benefitted from the industry move towards consolidation in previous years.
Many of our clients believed that through consolidation, a single-supplier solution would speed time to market, improve operational efficiencies, and lower costs. What many of our clients realized, however, was that a single-supplier solution often limited them in ways they did not anticipate as the supplier solutions did not fit all use cases, particularly in the areas of emerging needs. Partly as a result of this, and partly as a result of supplier tactics and policies aimed at controlling market share and monetizing the considerable investments made in this area, enterprise BI suppliers started to see their customer satisfaction ratings drop significantly. Add to this the emergence of smaller niche players with strong use cases, high value solutions, and low cost models, and we have seen a steady decentralization from monolithic BI platforms to a more integrated multi-supplier environment lead by use cases and user self-service.
#3) Operational Integration.
As a result of the decentralization of monolithic enterprise BI solutions, the increase in mobility and cloud solutions, and the emergence of specialist suppliers with a vertical and/or industry focus, there is a much bigger need for integration in 2015. Compatibility and integration is top of mind for our clients, especially as suppliers don’t often focus their research and development investments in these areas. As such, the need for tools and services is higher in 2015 than in previous years. Our clients are on the hunt for supplier solutions that not only meet their needs, but also do so in a way that is compatible with their other solutions and fully integrate in their environment.
With multi-supplier environments, it’s not always cost efficient to hire teams of experts in all disciplines,. As a result, we are also seeing an increase of outsourcing business intelligence staffing expertise with a variety of BI disciplines that match the revised client landscapes.
#2) Business User Self-Service.
Business users want to be actively involved with the data they consume, and be able to dynamically access information on demand. It’s not about canned reports, rather it’s about real time performance, customized queries to check specific conditions and tests of predictive models. As a result, users are demanding solutions that allow for flexibility, are fully functional and offer true self-service.
Solutions are migrating controls from the database administrators to the business users. This has been placing strong demands on the ease of use of the system, causing many of the suppliers in this category to make major investments and modifications to the user interfaces. Compared with monolithic environments where the database administrators would agree on a software platform and system architecture and would then push out various capabilities as they saw fit (and many business users wouldn’t fully exploit the system features), business users are now able to self-serve which is further driving requirements for enhanced capability. The proliferation of Tableau and QlikView are examples of the migration away from centralized IT control, and a push to empower business users with self-service capability. This phenomenon is rapidly gaining traction in many of our client environments with monolithic platforms.
#1) The Rise of the Disruptive Supplier.
Significant innovations have occurred in this area, led by smaller companies with great ideas, great technology, and strong funding. These new disruptive suppliers are delivering high value, low cost solutions that are cloud based, fully functioning, highly mobile, elegant and easy to use, quick to implement, and offer strong integration to industry leading systems and architectures. We believe disruptive suppliers that are delivering high value and low cost solutions with specific use cases, and ones that give the controls to the end user instead of the database administrators, will aggressively capture more market share for the remainder of 2015 and into the foreseeable future.
The BI Market is once again hot in 2015, and significant change is happening at an accelerating pace. If you’re not considering these strategies today, you should, because you could find yourself behind the market very soon, paying a significant premium for not enough value, and missing out on new market opportunities available to you at low cost. More than likely, large enterprise BI players will try to acquire smaller companies to retain control of the market, but even as that starts to happen, the genie will already be out of the bottle. As a result, we view the BI market as a place to capture value and reduce costs for the next several years, but especially now as disruptive suppliers are in client acquisition mode, looking to cut deals for new business.
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