February 21, 2013 – Business intelligence spending will get billions of dollars from big data and as-a-service investment, but lag behind the explosive growth rates from a few years ago, according to a new market forecast from Gartner Research.

Gartner puts business intelligence software spending at $13.8 billion worldwide for 2012, a 7 percent increase from last year that solidifies BI and analytics as the fourth-largest applications software segment. That growth rate ranks below the spending rise in 2011, which was 16 percent higher than the year prior. Through 2016, Gartner put the global BI market at $17.1 billion, a modest expansion of nearly 24 percent from the firm’s projection for this year that still ranks below the double-digit percentage growth in annual spending of the early 2000s.

Hampering growth are a lingering global economic malaise and a slowed sales cycle of full-stack BI offerings to early and mature business adopters, according to Gartner. On the flip side, as-a-service adoptions could build up the investment in BI and analytics platforms, and many IT and business leaders are keen on the possibilities of experimenting and investing in efforts to tap into advanced analytics and “big data.” Principal Research Analyst Dan Sommer wrote that it is “increasingly clear that mastering analytics on big data will be a key driver for the next economic cycle."

Kurt Schlegel, Gartner research VP, said in a release accompanying the market forecast that there is “still a lot of unmet demand” even in businesses with mature BI implementations, with other businesses or departments yet to begin with BI and analytics.

"The descriptive analytics have largely been completed for most large companies in traditional subject areas, such as finance and sales, but there is still a lot of growth expected for diagnostic, predictive and prescriptive deployments,” Schlegel said. “Since many midsize enterprises have yet to even start their BI and analytic initiatives, we expect the market for BI and analytics platforms will remain one of the fastest-growing software markets."

In January, Gartner put the overall 2013 global IT spending mark at $2 trillion, a slight reduction from its previous forecast for the year but maintaining solid growth, particularly with mobility and an “aggressive” interest in cloud and SaaS.  Gartner’s new BI forecast is one in a  a chorus of firms anticipating growth in that market. However, the levels of advancement and change are in dispute. Ventana Research has plotted BI to grow in 2013, particularly along the lines of “hot” areas such as mobility, cloud computing and advanced analytics. Nucleus Research expects BI adoption in some form to double by the end of the year, though they stopped short of putting spending estimates or success rates into the forecast.