The CIO focus on business intelligence and analytics will likely continue through 2017, according to Gartner Inc. The research firm says the benefits of fact-based decision-making are clear to business managers in a broad range of disciplines, including marketing, sales, supply chain management, manufacturing, engineering, risk management, finance and human resources.

"Major changes are imminent to the world of BI and analytics, including the dominance of data discovery techniques, wider use of real-time streaming event data and the eventual acceleration in BI and analytics spending when big data finally matures," Roy Schulte, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, said in a statement. "As the cost of acquiring, storing and managing data continues to fall, companies are finding it practical to apply BI and analytics in a far wider range of situations."

Gartner outlined four key predictions for BI and analytics:

  • By 2015, the majority of BI vendors will make data discovery their prime BI platform offering, shifting BI emphasis from reporting-centric to analysis-centric.
  • By 2017, more than 50 percent of analytics implementations will make use of event data streams generated from instrumented machines, applications and/or individuals.
  • By 2017, analytic applications offered by software vendors will be indistinguishable from analytic applications offered by service providers.
  • Until 2016, big data confusion will constrain spending on BI and analytics software to single-digit growth.

Recent Gartner surveys show that only 30 percent of organizations have invested in big data, of which only a quarter (or 8 percent of the total) have made it into production. This leaves room for substantial future growth in big data initiatives, the firm says.

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