More organizations are using business intelligence and applying it more deeply than before, according to the 2011 report, “Wisdom of Crowds Business Intelligence Market Study,” from Dresner Advisory Services.

As users become familiar and comfortable with BI tools, they are more often buying and deploying BI without direct IT support, which puts them “in the driver’s seat,” says report author Howard Dresner. Indeed, BI market growth is being driven by small to midsized enterprises with little or no IT support for product selection and implementation, Dresner says.

“The ‘emerging’ vendor category seems to be an area where business users are choosing solutions more often than not,” says Dresner, where products can be downloaded or subscribed to quickly, easily and inexpensively. Some of the most popular tools have an operational context that supports larger amounts of data, mobile computing and collaborative (social) capabilities.

Dresner advises organizations to take a more active role in planning, managing and evolving their BI portfolios. “The BI initiative should be jointly owned, where everyone’s got ‘skin in the game’ so to speak, and everyone has to have a sense of everyone else’s priority. My advice for IT is to get aligned.”

The study sampled 630 validated users with firsthand BI vendor and product experience via online survey. IT employees made up 50 percent of the sample. The other half were business users in sales and marketing, finance, operations and research and development areas.

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