In the course of our everyday work, Saugatuck researchers regularly review information and insight developed by third parties – after all, a worldview limited to one’s own data and insights is necessarily incomplete.

One of the more interesting sets of intel and insights we’ve seen comes from old friend Howard Dresner of Dresner Advisory Services, who has published a very helpful analysis of what’s shaping Business Intelligence (BI) adoption and use worldwide. The highlights that we found most illuminating included the following:

BI is a group-oriented/department-oriented phenomenon for the most part. While there are still some “top-down,” enterprise-wide efforts going on, the core market growth is user-, department-, and application-driven BI, addressing specific issues/opportunities/problems. That suggests the possibility for fragmentation (and high TCO) within enterprises pursuing multiple, non-coordinated BI initiatives – unless they are building on open-source solutions (see below). The groups most likely to drive BI projects? Finance and Marketing – no real surprise there, but very useful to know, especially if you’re a solution provider, or an IT manager trying to find where next year’s budget will be spent.    

BI implementation project numbers overall are slowing, while spending is increasing – implying that many existing projects may be getting more investment. To our mind, that’s good news; enterprises may finally be moving beyond trial stages or the single-task stage, and building out to more efficient and effective BI capabilities. The data also suggest that “big bang” projects are declining in numbers, which suggests that the remaining spending is on smaller, group- and function-specific BI.    

Open source BI providers have significant potential to be disruptive to traditional BI markets and players, as the data suggests that they tend to be coming from outside IT; they tend to be deployed in smaller groups by younger (more tech/Cloud-savvy) users; and user organizations relying on commercial open source-based BI tend to settle on the solutions they have, and not utilize other BI providers as much as their traditional enterprise counterparts do. An important factor we found in the report is that, as with almost all open source solution adoption today, BI users tend to begin with free “community” editions and build those out as much as possible before even considering the use of more powerful and capable “commercial” editions. So at least some of the perceived loyalty to open source may be grounded in users’ desire to not spend money on software.  

The bottom line? A growing number of group-oriented and function-oriented BI projects, with a significant open source base, suggest a growing need for VARs, SIs and Cloud-based providers to deliver BI integration services and solutions. If enough of these projects bear enough fruit and get incorporated into enterprise business planning and management, there will be massive demand for integration services within the next few years.

Check out the report and more information at BusinessIntelligenceInsider.com. (You will need to become a site member to access the research.)

This blog originally appeared at Saugatuck Lens360.