1.  IT budgets will continue to be tight - even while information needs continue to accelerate.

While economic rollercoaster days appear to be leveling off, businesses still should expect to confront ups and downs ahead. In the face of this uncertainty, only the most important IT projects will be funded and many will remain on hold while the queue of requests continues to grow. CIOs will be forced to become firefighters focused on immediate goals, short time horizons and making good of what’s easily and affordably acquired or already readily available.

2. Unmet end-user requirements will force end users to seek powerful and user-friendly stop-gap solutions that minimize IT involvement.

As pressure mounts on business and IT can only offer limited support, solution requirements will shift from “Can it do this?” to “Can it do this in a way that is quickly deployed and makes end users truly effective?” The challenge is to provide business solutions that appear simple but are also powerful, so that they can be considered genuinely useful and make a real impact on business success. As a result, end users will work with IT but take more responsibility to find and drive solutions that have the rapid impact companies want.

3. Cloud-based technology will emerge as the most impactful solution architecture change since client-server.

Salesforce.com, RightNow Technologies and others have proven wrong the doubt sown by traditional software license providers. The ease, speed, cost, performance and security offered by software as a service solution architectures is so compelling that perpetual license providers will go the way of the mainframe.

4. Cloud confusion is dissipating.

There’s no doubt about it – the cloud is sizzling at the moment and many companies are creating confusion by stretching to associate their products with it. Due to cloud affordability, there is increased market interest in finding out what the cloud can mean for businesses. However, there are a large number of cloud-referenced offerings out there, and they’re not all the same. 2010 is the year of sorting through cloud confusion – differences between virtualized hardware, ASP offerings and SaaS. A cloud map will emerge, easing the confusion for the marketplace.

5. A substantial portion of software evaluations in 2010 will include a cloud alternative.

As benefits of the cloud are more widely understood, and as it continues to grow more pervasive, cloud offerings will be evaluated alongside traditional alternatives. While they may not yet dominate the selection process, the compelling value of the cloud will be increasingly considered and taken very seriously.

6. BI remains the top priority.

We expect BI to continue to top the Gartner list of CIO priorities. As in past periods of economic difficulty, BI demand has remained strong due to the intensifying needs for companies to better understand and analyze their businesses.

7. Large BI vendors who have been recently acquired will lose their data source-agnostic religion.

Many of the largest BI companies have been acquired by larger software conglomerates for the purposes of strengthening their portfolio and expanding sales in their installed base. As a result, those BI companies will shift their focus away from a segment of their traditional base and partners to more deeply support their new partners’ customer base and proprietary software stack.

8. Cloud BI economics and adoption rates will force traditional BI vendors to lower purchase and maintenance prices, and to introduce cloud-like offerings of their own.

The growing adoption of cloud BI will continue to put pressure on perpetual-use software license vendors’ pricing and maintenance models. Lower prices and profits will disrupt the traditional software company business models and force them to change their approach.

9. Cloud BI will emerge as the preferred solution for new BI deployments.

Our conversations with business and IT executives have boiled down to this: “I need better analysis, I need it quickly, and I need it at a price that meets my newly reduced budget.” In this fast-moving environment, IT executives are looking for solutions that can be implemented within a timeframe that allows their business users to make a real impact. Traditional BI solutions, with their long implementation and update times, can’t do this. Newer, modern BI solutions like cloud BI (SaaS BI) can be implemented rapidly and at low cost.

10. The BI portfolio approach gains ground: core BI workhorses remain the same, but new projects go to newer, modern vendors.

IT executives continue to wring value out of their traditional BI implementations. That implementation that took a year and cost millions? It’s not going anywhere. New projects, however, will go to more affordable and flexible BI solutions that are business user-friendly. These new BI projects will spring up in sales, marketing and HR to start.

11. Project-based, incremental BI beats out “intergalactic” projects.

Due to continuing budget constraints, necessarily short implementation timeframes and winnowed IT teams, BI will get funded on a BI project basis, with strict deliverables and requirements. The massive, intergalactic project that takes years to deploy will get put on indefinite hold.

12. Companies get more pervasive with BI deployments.

Pervasive BI is not something that any vendor can offer; it’s something that a company can achieve by adopting a “democratization of information” mindset and selecting the technology that achieves that goal. Democratizing information – making key information available to frontline employees, so that they can make better decisions about prospects, customers, products and services – can yield significant impact on revenue and profits. Achieving pervasive BI requires a technology that can be quickly deployed at low cost to large numbers of people. With modern BI capabilities, like on-demand BI and in-memory analytics, it is finally possible for forward looking companies to unleash the power of insight across their organization.

13. Open source customers realize that there are better, lower cost options out there.

Open source has been buzzing for the last few years, with millions of trial downloads of open source customer relationship management and BI, as well as a number of large implementations. The appeal is undeniable – “open source” means that it’s free, doesn’t it? While the initial software is often without cost, the implementation, support, maintenance and expansion costs can be significant. In the BI world, the cost of an initial open source implementation can often exceed the cost of selecting a low-cost SaaS BI or in-memory analytics provider. Faced with thinning budgets and resources, IT executives will take a hard look at their real costs, and open source’s momentum may very well cool.

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