The general trends in the business intelligence (BI) marketplace are well known: deployment to front-line operations, replacement of descriptive with predictive analysis, extension to unstructured data sources, greater use of hosted services and more advanced visualization. All of these certainly apply to marketing departments. Are any BI trends more unique to marketing? Let me propose two that are definitely happening and another that's a bit more speculative.

One clear development is the consolidation of Web and nonWeb analytics. An observer from Mars might ask why these were ever separated in the first place, but it wasn't done on purpose: the newness of the Web and the technical difficulties of capturing Web behavior ensured that initial Web analytics systems would be standalone products. Only now that a generally accepted approach has evolved for acquiring Web interaction data - essentially, building tracking codes into Web pages - is it possible to shift the focus from data capture to true analysis. (Not that the data capture problem is fully solved: page tags are inadequate for many types of Web data, including user-generated content, rich media content and some dynamic Web pages. We can still expect more innovation in that area.)

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