In a recent Forrester post Boris Evelson reveals his Top 10 BI predictions for 2012. Each of which is an interesting take on the short term BI landscape, but I fear Boris falls short of making bold enough predictions as his take on the future resembles our reality today. Ironically, Boris references Goldilocks and the Three Bears; perhaps Boris just awoke from a twelve month slumber in a bed just right.
Effective delivery and getting things done is exactly what clients in 2011 are solely focused on. Three projects I worked on this year basically said forget standards, just get it done. In a struggling economic era, successful and lean project delivery is the top priority. That means using an open source tool instead of corporate standard big vendor software or ignoring overly burdensome and poorly understood standards in favor of delivering a quick win solution to a specific problem. Boris's #1 2012 prediction is our reality today.
Living with multiple BI tools is simply the norm in most large organizations. Many agencies have already learned to operate with several BI tools. Perhaps a better future prediction would be enterprise standards groups realizing they need to adapt to this reality; they must learn to help projects achieve successful business outcomes rather than fight initiatives into submission.
His takes on end user BI and exploration are interesting, but the more relevant trends will likely be more statistical analysis in BI. End users will become more involved in the design, creation, and subsequent actions of their reports, but IT will stay play a major role. Companies are hiring smart statistical analysts to help make sense of all the data they have and how to make predictions out of it. Internal IT may not have as much responsibility in helping the business understand data and learn what questions to ask: that time is now. In 2012, IT must get better at providing complex analytical data structures for use in predictive analytics. I do see a trend of business units trying to hire their own IT experts, which is good for the consulting business. It's much easier to sell to a desperate business owner than to the invisible IT manager.
In Managed end user self-service, Mobile BI, Cloud BI, BI-specific DBMSs and collaborative platforms (predictions 4-7, 10) Boris again seems to reference the future in 2011. While I do agree Cloud BI will become a more established practice, it's been in use at several large (progressive) enterprises for a few years already. Most of our sophisticated clients have been using a combination of end user self-service, Cloud, Mobile BI, and BI-specific DBMSs since last year. Granted, Mobile BI is exploding in new and exciting ways – no longer just delivering reports on your phone or mobile PC.
2012 will surely bring about different ways of managing big data and more collaboration, but that's a safe prediction every year. As agencies continue to operate under a tough economy, gone are the days of a new implementation of Oracle or SAP enterprise wide. Companies are looking for ways to operate with what they have or add something new in a lean way. Our clients are looking for short quick win projects, which include faster/simpler BI deployments that aren't hindered by unnecessary standards and IT slowdowns. Better project management (likely through Agile), smaller tool footprints (open source or other already in house tools), better data management (handle small sizes for mobile and big sizes with cloud) and asking more analytic questions (rather than just IT and business guessing at reporting needs) are the ways of today and will likely be the same tomorrow.