By Ben Simmons

Business intelligence (BI) and analytics software will remain front and centre for IT and business agendas in 2012, according to Ovum.

In a new report, the independent IT and telecoms analyst firm claims that there is an increasing adoption of BI technology, and the formation of a mature and function-rich software market. Yet despite a bewildering range of build-or-buy technology options, for many organizations the benefits of BI remain elusive.

“Quantitative growth in the BI software market has also been accompanied by rapid change, particularly in the way BI systems are built, and what is built," Madan Sheina, Ovum lead analyst and author of the report. "Similarly, the expectations of BI customers, has changed, as they demand bigger, faster and cheaper systems. Traditional BI technologies, architectures and processes are now struggling to keep pace. Many fail to address two fundamental business needs: agility and adaptability, which enable organisations to react quickly in today’s constantly changing business and regulatory environment.”

The report finds that as organizations seek greater business agility, BI technologies are evolving for quicker and more nimble analytics, leveraging new tools, technologies and approaches such as in-memory engines, columnar databases, appliances, event stream processing (ESP), data mash-ups and software-as-a-service (SaaS) platforms. Ovum believes these technologies will be key components in achieving analytic agility in 2012 and beyond.

The report finds that enabling faster business analytics is only part of goal. Sheina notes: “Organizations are also looking at new types and sources, such as social media, streaming and mobile data, to deliver broader and deeper business insights. Big Data is challenging BI systems to scale cost-effectively, which will require a rethink of traditional data warehousing and BI architectures. This expanding scale will also put the spotlight on critical data-management issues such as data quality and data governance.”

In addition, the report recommends that enterprises need to rethink traditional approaches and make their BI systems more predictive. Enterprises must quickly anticipate and react and adapt to business opportunities and threats in their market. “Knowing what might happen, as opposed to analyzing what has happened, is a potent competitive weapon for business and affords even greater operational agility,” says Sheina. To achieve this, BI vendors need to combine data analysis that is focused on historic data with predictive technologies, and to focus on specific business processes.


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