Here are my top 10 predictions for business intelligence in 2012:

  1. It’s all about getting things done. Standards, a single version of the truth, and enterprise-grade platforms continue to be important, but individual BI tools with the functionality to get things done trumps standards.
  2. Enterprises will learn to live with multiple BI tools. Forrester client inquiries about how to live with multiple BI tools far exceed inquiries about platform consolidations.
  3. More BI will move into the hands of end users. IT will learn not fight it or risk becoming irrelevant. IT will also learn not to fight spreadmart/spreadsheet wars or risk becoming irrelevant. Why? See prediction #1.
  4. Those BI platforms that support “managed” end user self-service will become more popular. It’s like the story of Goldilocks and the three bears. No management or control is not acceptable, but too much control does not work. Finding the right win-win combination that combines the flexibility and agility that self-service brings with behind-the-scenes monitoring and adjusting will become the name of the game.
  5. Mobile BI will go mainstream. One needs to make decisions when and where they need to be made. Not “when I get back to the office,” which may be too late.
  6. Cloud BI will continue to chip away at on-premises BI, but it’s still a long road ahead. Heavy customization and integration of enterprise BI platforms, tools, and applications done by subject-matter experts and consultants will not go away.
  7. BI-specific DBMSes (in-memory, others) will go mainstream.
  8. Big data will start to move out of silos and into enterprise IT. IT will start to learn how to live with it.
  9. Exploration (without preconceived notions, prebuilt fixed data models, or up-front specific questions in mind) will be the new bread and butter of BI suites in addition to reporting, querying, OLAP, and dashboards/data visualization.
  10. BI users will start demanding — and vendors will start delivering — BI tools integrated with email and collaboration platforms. Just integrating BI with Excel is no longer enough.

This blog originally appeared at Forrester Research.