January 17, 2012 – The speed of business mixed with the slow maturation of enterprise BI spells less control for IT departments and a stronger emphasis in the near future on applications that get work done quickly, according to a new Forrester report.

Individualized BI platforms, tools and applications, and a move away from IT department standards are two of the reverberating expectations in the new report, “The Future of BI: Top 10 Business Intelligence Predictions for 2012.” Central to the predictions for the year are the dependence on IT that often slows business data decisions, and the lack of agile and varied BI technology harnessed throughout the enterprise. At this same time, development and implementation of BI efforts have increased across a majority of enterprises, according to Forrester.

Boris Evelson, Forrester BI principal analyst and co-author of the report, says that the speed and uncertainty of economic conditions in recent years have put a spotlight on BI that “just gets it done.” In one instance, Evelson says the prevalence of spreadsheets shows the existing control issues with end users of business data and hints at the direction of developing new applications.

“Most organizations realized that only 20 percent of BI applications are mission critical and complex enough to be controlled by IT. The remaining 80 percent are best left in the hands of business users,” Evelson says.
To that end, the report in part concludes that in 2012:

  • Agile BI tools based on in-memory models will grow in implementation. In addition, self-service features and freeform information discovery will increase in value as more business users seek inroads to data.
  • Mobile BI will “become the norm,” Evelson says. Information workers will be expected to make decisions whether or not they’re in the office, and vendors will respond with more features for multiple visual query methods, GPS analytics and integration with enterprise mobile ERP applications.
  • BI-specific database management systems will move to the mainstream this year, with Forrester expecting more than 20 percent of all BI applications to be based on this technology within the next two years. And in incremental steps, trends like cloud computing and big data will move from the hype stage to actual implementations for BI.
  • Various platforms, portals, social functionality and other BI tools will be increasingly integrated into user friendly “information workplaces.”

To access a copy of the report, click here. For more musings on the future of the BI space, check out Evelson’s blog here.