6 predictions for the hottest BI trends in 2011

What does the year 2011 hold for business intelligence (BI)? Here are half a dozen noteworthy developments anticipated.

As the year comes to an end and the time to make merry comes along, top business managers look through their crystal balls to see if they could spot the hottest BI trends for 2011. They came up with six predictions.

BI trend 1: Mobility will be an important trend for BI in 2011

While mobile devices are now becoming computers in their own right, they will be in the spotlight for a BI trend in 2011 for getting a workforce that is continuously on the move connected to each other and to the internal BI systems. Essentially, BI trends in 2011 will facilitate the generation of and access to reports by business users through various means. This new capability of a BI suite can allow business strategists to quickly adapt to change. Mobility for BI has already taken off, so by next year we will see business ownership increase due to this.

I am unsure if there will be any immediate success for any BI solution venturing into the cloud in 2011.

Tamal Chakravorthy, CIO, Ericsson

BI trend 2: Ownership of BI in 2011 will shift from IT to business

Even though BI has just gained momentum in the Indian market, lots of issues concerning trust arise around BI reports, and people have been primarily focusing on Excel sheets. Automation of BI will lead to credibility, authenticity, empowerment of business users and will be one of the hottest BI trend in 2011.

IT has long been the custodian of BI, but top management now wants control over BI to generate its own reports and not be dependent on the IT team to deliver them. The need for this independent report generation will most probably take the mode of automated BI in 2011. BI will see a range of technologies which enable business users to generate their own reports. This gain of their confidence will be fundamental to the adoption of BI next year.

BI trend 3: BI trends in 2011 will be used for social analytics

BI in 2011 will scrutinize the area of social analytics as a potential bloom space. Social analytics involves social media to the extent of collecting data about customer behavior to predict and analyze trends in them. The challenge which impedes the success of this technology is the unquantifiable nature of customer comments. For example, if a customer describes the battery of a certain mobile device as ‘long-lasting,’ understanding the precise duration of ‘long-lasting’ is a problem. “To tackle this, the complex event processing capability of BI can be very helpful. It would entail other metrics such as the percentage of customers holding the same view,” says Prabhas Ranjan Sinha, director - product management at CA Technologies India. Probes may be conducted into the opinion by way of other social platforms or surveys to obtain a multitude of opinions that may then be analyzed to achieve a consensus.

BI trend 4: Act of generosity will be powered by BI in 2011

Another strategic trend for BI in 2011 is the ‘act of generosity’ whereby companies would utilize BI to seek out aggrieved customers to compensate them, thus turning a sour situation sweet and tipping the scales in favor of the company. By over-compensating for the complaint, companies can endear themselves to the customers and cash in on peer-to-peer and word-of-mouth publicity.

BI trend 5: In-memory analytics will gain gradual acceptance for BI in 2011

With the reduced cost of hardware, in-memory analytics may emerge as the next big trend for BI in 2011. In-memory analytics has come to be portrayed as the redeemer for long-waiting BI professionals. It reduces the time required for generating reports because most of the data will be cached in the RAM. In-memory analytics has created an impact in the IT industry as it has the ability to save time. Yet issues regarding the amount of data that can be stored on the RAM and concerns regarding the speed of the computer have already found voice.

BI trend 6: Will BI on the cloud will prove to be all hype, no substance in 2011?

The cloud has been big this year, and BI has proved its worth as a valuable asset to any organization. So if the two were to be merged, would BI in the cloud then make the ultimate technology? Comments Tamal Chakravorthy, CIO of Ericsson, “We may look at the cloud next year but that would be mostly for our transactional systems. I am unsure if there will be any immediate success for any BI solution venturing into the cloud in 2011.”

The reasons behind Chakravorthy’s apprehensions about BI in the cloud may well be appropriated to the need for enterprise applications hosted on the cloud. Offering BI through SaaS model raises many security issues, and BI in India may need more maturity to confidently take on this venture.

On an affirmative note, Shakti Vardhan, data processing head at RMS India, sees this as an opportunity for small businesses to cash in on the BI race in 2011 till they acquire the experience to take on a BI solution in their own organizations.

One thing is certain, BI trends in 2011 will most definitely be looked at to increase not only external customer satisfaction but also internal efficiency by way of improved reporting technologies that lead to better business metrics to rely on.

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