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Looking Back on 2011 Predictions

At the beginning of 2011, I made 5 predictions in terms of Business Intelligence trends for the year and I thought it would be interesting to look back on the year and see how those predictions turned out. So here goes :

Prediction 1: Visual Dashboards will remain dominant as the BI User Interface of choice. They will expand beyond their traditional tactical and strategic usage and be seen more in operational BI applications as backend performance with in memory analytics and caching continues to improve. Tools like Xcelsius will increase their presence due to both their visual appeal and ease of use.

Well Visual Dashboards did remain dominant and they certainly did expand into operational BI areas. We saw non-traditional BI functions like “write back” become more used. Xcelsius continued to grow in popularity and usage. I think I scored a 5 out of 5 on this one!

Prediction 2: Data Governance will be a priority as both large and mid-size companies are compelled to accurately consolidate and clean up their data for more relevant and precise business intelligence. Data quality, integration and master data management solutions will become mandatory in many organizations.

Data Governance was a priority with many large companies in 2011 but not so much with mid-size organizations as they tried to navigate a very unpredictable and bumpy economy. Data quality remained important but was still often pushed down the priority list in favor of meeting deliverable deadlines. I think I can only give myself a 2 out of 5 on this one.

Prediction 3: The race for optimal mobile business intelligence solutions will get into full swing. With a plethora of new tablet devices and new BI mobile software products, I anticipate a year of experimentation and we will need to wait another year before the real market leaders are determined. Watch out for Roambi (http://www.roambi.com/) because they are definitely heading in the right direction.

Mobile BI was a big topic in 2011 and a lot of new solutions appeared, both streaming and off-line based applications. Many companies did explore and experiment and some purchased and deployed. We saw many new tablet devices appear and almost as quickly disappear. Apple’s iPad remains the business tablet device of choice while Androids are becoming the most popular mobile smart phones. Roambi increased its presence globally and just released more amazing new views (Layers and Squares) and has become the BI mobile solution to beat. I score myself a 5 out of 5 on this one!

Prediction 4: Relational database Data Marts and Warehouses will continue to be the BI repository of choice in 2011. OLAP cubes will remain a niche market and the new in memory databases are just too immature and too expensive to have a serious impact this year. There will probably be lots of hype but until this new technology is affordable to the masses, it will have minimal effect. Data Mart projects will continue to thrive in the small to medium enterprise space.

Data Marts and Warehouses still remain the BI repository of choice although many companies are looking at a quicker method to deploy their ever-increasing demand for BI analytics. SAP spent a boat load of money, resources and hype promoting their new HANA in-memory analytics solution but there are very few running in live production. As the technology evolves and becomes more commodity that may change. I score 5 out of 5 on this one.

Prediction 5: Business Intelligence for Web and Social Media content will be hot and in demand. The need to perform BI against the predominantly unstructured data sources of the web has never been greater as more business and institutions both grow their web presence and web driven marketing. BI tools and solutions that can quickly analyze this data both quantitatively and qualitatively will see fast growth and adoption in 2011.

Using BI against Web and social media content has grown in 2011 but it has not been as hot as I was predicting. I have read several articles this year about success stories in this area but I have actually encountered very few first hand. The tools to analyze the unstructured content are good but are still relatively expensive and require a lot of services (more expensive). Maybe that will change in the next year or so. I can only score myself a 1 out of 5 for this one.

So my final grade is a 72% which according to my daughter in High School is only a “C”. Well I will have to do better than that so stand by for my 2012 BI predictions coming in the next few weeks.

About Paul

Paul Grill started his career in Information Technology in the U.K. in 1978, as an Executive Data Processing Trainee for Honeywell. More than thirty years later, he still has a voracious appetite for learning as Information Technology continues to advance at an ever accelerating pace. He was first introduced to the world of Business Intelligence in 1991, in France, when he saw a demonstration of an early version of BusinessObjects on Windows 2.1. He returned to the U.S. to rave about this phenomenal product, but it was many years before BusinessObjects made it into the mainstream. Paul founded InfoSol in 1997, and made Business Intelligence one of the key solutions offered by the company. Today, InfoSol is a leading SAP BusinessObjects solutions partner, known for its expert consulting, education and innovative add-on solutions. Paul is well known within the SAP BusinessObjects community for his extensive knowledge of Business Intelligence, and he has lectured and written many articles on the subject. Paul enjoys writing, running and coaching kids soccer, and is passionate about Ancient Egyptology.

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