If 2007 was the year of business intelligence (BI) consolidation, with the acquisitions of Hyperion, Business Objects and Cognos by Oracle, SAP and IBM, respectively, then 2008 will be - what? Conventional wisdom suggests this will be a year for digestion - neither the year of the snake nor the pig, rather the year of the pig in the python. But conventional wisdom will be wrong in three ways.

Data warehousing architecture will be rationalized. Granted, the need to process the acquisitions will create some coordination costs and distractions, but it will still unfold, like a caterpillar into a butterfly, into platform-based BI. The acquisitions will actually create opportunities for technology innovation based on the interaction and integration of architectural layers. The front end of the BI system will become more scalable and rich in actionable information, while the back end, the persisting data store itself, becomes more accessible, manageable and useable. Flexible architecture is required to accommodate future business requirements that cannot be foreseen by the conventional wisdom, and the acquisitions will enable the creation of a critical mass of architecture to integrate. This work in progress will make significant headway.

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