A year and a half ago, my colleagues and I at Palo Alto Management Group forecast (in the multi-client study Large-Scale Database Solutions ) that users would be spending some $70 billion a year on data warehousing and decision support by the year 2001. This rather bullish forecast was scoffed at by most of our clients and positively ridiculed by several well-known forecasters, who had issued numbers much, much smaller than ours. But wouldn't you know it, six months after we issued that forecast, our clients and a bunch of other vendors that were not our clients began telling us that our numbers were actually way too low! Many of these same companies are enjoying annual growth rates of better than 100 percent in their data warehousing businesses with no end in sight, and fast- rising players like Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard are telling us they don't have enough people to return the phone calls of prospects and would-be partners. I recall one practice manager from a Big Five consultancy telling me that he could immediately employ another 5,000 people in his data warehousing practice if only he could hire them!

This year, we did another worldwide study called Data Solutions II, and now we can tell one of those good news/bad news stories. The bad news is that we were dead wrong a year ago. The good news is that we were wrong on the downside--the market is going to be a lot bigger than we thought! Our magic number is now $113.5 billion for the year 2002!

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