In September and October 2006, IDC and DM Review conducted a survey on business intelligence (BI), commonly associated with query, reporting and OLAP technology.1 Throughout this study, IDC used the term business analytics (BA) to describe a superset software category that includes tools and applications for tracking, storing, analyzing, modeling and delivering data in support of automating decision-making and reporting processes. 743 people responded.

IDC's research into the BA market has identified that the market moves in 15-year cycles. The first of these periods, from 1975 to 1990, was characterized by production reporting on mainframes. The second 15-year period, from 1990 to 2005, saw the beginning of the modern era of BI characterized by end user-friendlier client/server-based BI. Eventually query, reporting and OLAP technology migrated from client/server to Web-based architecture with the development of broad suites of BI platforms. 2005 was another turning point in the BI market and ushered in the new wave of investment in business analytics (BA) by organizations in all industries. The current market cycle is expected to last until 2020 and will be focused on expanding the reach of BA to more users both inside and outside the organization.

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