Much is written about what trends are occurring within business intelligence (BI) and data management. Whether due to cycles within the market in general, new technologies, consolidations or new entrants, it is not possible to surmise what the industry will look like in the next five to 10 years with impending recession in the U.S., and projections that BI will still continue to grow, it becomes impossible to predict which way the market will go. However, it is possible to point out various developments within BI and data management to identify interesting happenings and understand what is going on in the industry today.


This article is broken into two parts. Part one discusses the increasing emergence of data warehousing appliance vendors and emphasis on columnar databases to increase efficiencies for use in analytics. It also explores some of the affects of market consolidation and the emergence of a large number of new entrants to the market. Finally, the influence of social media on BI is discussed. Next month, part two will coverdata-focused trends, such as the convergence of unstructured data and BI, data integration and data governance.


Data Warehousing Appliances


Over the past few years, there has been an emergence of data warehousing appliance vendors and a focus on the ability to apply analytics at the data warehouse level. Data warehousing and appliance vendors have existed for many years, but recently there has been an increase in market entrants and partnerships with BI vendors to provide enhanced analytical capabilities. The ability for organizations to capture more data, use that information for overall strategy and deliver information consistently and intradaily increases the opportunities organizations can take advantage of.


The era of differentiation based on columnar databases and the use of in-memory to increase speed is over. As data volumes increase exponentially and organizations require access to more information quickly, the ability to make decisions in a timely fashion becomes more essential to maintaining a competitive edge. In addition, the current rise of column-based databases to enable quicker responses to analysis seems to be a general theme of new offerings.


Whether full-scale enterprise data warehouses or initiatives at a business-unit or functional level, the increase in offerings is quite noticeable. Vendors are taking advantage of gaps and changes in the market. This in turn enables organizations to look beyond price and space when evaluating solutions and toward additional value-adds such as service and support. Additionally, the key differentiators that existed in the past, like being able to store terabytes of data or offering in-memory data access, are becoming the norm. Consequently, competition will only become fiercer within this industry.


Convergence and Diversification


Consolidations over the last few years and a number of new market players have diversified solution offerings, providing organizations more choice when looking to implement BI and various components. Whether new advantages exist because of added capabilities tighter integration within customer relationship management, enterprise resource planning applications or by best of breed solutions that offer specified features and functionality at a lower price point, market diversity is good for organizations.


The traditional argument for on-demand solutions is that they offer organizations that don’t have internal resources, large budgets or the desire to house the data in house easy access to BI and analytics through professional services. This service model involves hosting data and providing a portal access to reporting and analytics. The additions to the general diversity of the market give organizations the advantage to pick and choose the available offerings.


Application of Social Media Concepts


Web 2.0 and general social media concepts permeate the industry, through the use of blogs, wikis, podcasts, collaboration and social networking sites. People expect to be able to interact with their environment, not just receive information. As a result of this expectation, organizations are looking for ways to increase the appeal and user friendliness of BI applications. The ability to utilize the concepts of social media to enhance the end-user experience is becoming a focus of solution providers and organizations alike.


End users want immediate access to data as well as the ability to interact with their surrounding environment. This means that in order for organizations to get the most out of their employees it becomes important to engage them with the technologies they use when they’re outside of the office. For BI popularity to spread, organizations and solution providers will have to provide end users easy access to social media within their day-to-day use of computers.


The general landscape of BI is changing. Demand for rapid analytics and access to exponential amounts of data accounts for some of the developments that are occurring in the industry. The continued focus on expanding information access beyond the organization through the analysis of unstructured data and using social media for collaboration increases the more general use of BI within organizations.

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