Are We On The Verge Of A Business Intelligence Revolution?

Scott Albro, founder and CEO of posted a question on the Q&A asking:

Are we on the verge of a “business intelligence revolution” and if so why? Gartner is predicting a revolution in business intelligence. Do you agree and what are the specific factors that might drive so much change in the BI market?

What do we think? Well, we expect BI to grow even more this year than in previous years. As analysts and industry experts have predicted: cloud, in-memory, mobile...these things will all start to take off. As organizations turn to BI in the cloud for the benefits it offers over traditional BI, this has triggered not only a general BI revolution, but also a SaaS BI revolution.... traditional vendors are trying to move into this space, although the strength of their products is somewhat questionable as their initial offerings were not built with the cloud in mind. Not only are vendors rolling out better and improved solutions, but users themselves are becoming more open and knowledgable about using BI every day to help make critical business decisions. So this business intelligence revolution is not only a progress in technology, but also a change in attitudes, abilities and allocation of resources.

Here are some of the main points made by various contributors:

"I think we are in the very early stages of a "business intelligence revolution" - very early. For the most part we have gleaned most of what we will get in process improvements. Business Intelligence will allow businesses to focus their efforts more effectively to squeeze out more productivity improvements, improve sales, improve customer relationships, improve tactics to address cost drivers, improve strategic planning,improve utilization of human resources and identify open field opportunities to expand the business. Business people however, as a generality, are not data centric leaders and must learn to use data to derive competitive advantage. There will be some early adopters who are successful at leveraging their data to create competitive value which will pull everyone else along.

"The tools are there and becoming more user friendly. However, we still have to tackle the data quality issues and improve on existing data warehousing but the infrastructure is there for most businesses. Costs will come down/coming down and will provide the momentum to take usage of data to another level."

John Wilson, CEO, Claim Insights, LLc

"The word revolution brings up recent events in the middle east where I think we're seeing a union of how technology is enabling communication between a large segment of society which is being empowered by this real-time information to do great things.

"I bring that up because I think there is a similar trend happening in the Business Intelligence space in that the demand coming from the business users is to have more access and more control of the information that exists within their business (for the purpose of driving their business better so they can do great things). Today's model tends to be a centralized team responsible for BI. Users submit requests and a team of highly skilled technical folks who in many cases are distant from the business unit and faced with a large workload. The result of this model is that requests are processed incorrectly or too late and users are faced with not having the information they need.

"I think the revolution will be that business users will start to demand user friendly self-service BI technology that they can access real-time information and control the query, the analysis, and the presentation. On the flip side, the second part of this revolution is the BI technology must have a security model that satisfies the IT and Security organization so that they are 100% comfortable sharing this control with the business users. And the solution must also be able to combine and integrate data from many sources and in a cost-effect way so that the cost savings and ROI exceed the current methods and implemented tools (don't think the enterprise vendors will get you to what I described above, organizations will have to change BI solutions and that requires a very compelling disruptive technology with tremendous benefits).

"So we are on the verge of this revolution, there are a lot of new BI technology vendors doing pieces of this [...] and I think it will only be a matter of time before the technology and the business users intersect and force the hand of IT and centralized BI to give them the power!"

David Ferguson, CEO & President, 5000fish, Inc

What do you think?

You can check out the focus thread and see the other views posted and contribute your thoughts to the question.