After Flat Year, BI Goes on the Move

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January 14, 2013 – The business impact of BI software and practices have plateaued for some, though 2013 brings huge opportunities with mobile access, according to a just-released BI adoption assessment.

BI Scorecard surveyed and assessed 634 business intelligence practitioners “2012 Successful BI Survey,” the sixth installment its annual gauge of adoption and trends.

The state of business intelligence impact in 2012 were relatively similar to last year’s assessment: very successful BI adoption ranked at 24 percent, down 2 percent from previous year; moderately successful at 51 percent, up 3 percent from previous year; and only a 2-percent drop in slightly successful or outright failures in BI ventures. Closer still were the results on the degree of business impact from implementations, even with only 6 percent of respondents returning from last year’s survey. BI’s contribution ranked the same with “somewhat” of an impact (41 percent) and significant impact (34 percent) across the two years. Two-percent more respondents shifted from having no impact to a slight impact between 2011 and 2012, according to the survey.

After a few years of single-digit increases in business impact, BI Scorecard founder and report author Cindi Howson said the 2012 results “startled” her. She attributed the stalemate of growth to global economic concerns coming out of the “Great Recession” that put IT in a “maintenance period.”

“Once you deliver a basic set of data and reports to business, you get caught up in a cycle of maintaining the status quo,” Howson said. “Data quality has gradually improved over time, where flexibility has not.”

The BI modules that have been most successful for those in the scorecard are fixed reports (95 percent), ad hoc queries (92 percent), dashboards (79 percent) and OLAP (72 percent). The least successful sector was mobile BI (40 percent), though that is ready for a rush of attention, according to respondents. In a separate question on BI improvements expected for the next year, 47 percent pointed to mobile BI, ranking it behind dashboards (52 percent) and the same as self-service BI.

Howson said there remains debate among vendors and analysts on the best way to deliver BI functionality to mobile devices. But between the high level of enterprise investment and the BYOD trend, mobile data access holds the possibility of disruptive change in 2013.

“There is a lot of chaos out there,” Howson conceded. “Only a minority of companies has deployed mobile BI, but for the ones who are successful, the adoption rate is at 39 percent. That’s about 15 percent higher than the industry average. I think it will be the technology that helps BI become more mainstream and impactful.”

Another boon to evolving BI adoption that Howson anticipates over the next “two-to-five years” comes from the users themselves. As BI spending and implementations grow over the near term, so, too, will the number of business adopters and hybrid business-IT enterprise employees, Howson said.

Register for the “2012 Successful BI Survey” here.

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