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The Future of BI

The Future of BI

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The future of Business Intelligence
The future of Business Intelligence

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Published by: Xavier Martinez Ruiz on Oct 08, 2009
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Next-Gen BIIs Here
Predictive analytics, real-time monitoring, and the speedof in-memory technology are changing the valueproposition of business intelligence.
Analytics Alerts
InformationWeekanalytics.comSept.18,2009
2Next-Gen BI Is Here9IDC Ranks Vendors In GrowingBusiness Analytics Market12IBM’s SPSS Deal May SparkMarket Consolidation14Aberdeen Tells SMBs HowTo Get The Most Out Of BI16BI Is A Top Technology OnExecutives’Wish Lists17As Big BI Gets Hip,QlikTechTargets Large Deployments19In-Memory BI Upgrades PointTo Mainstream User Adoption
Contents
 
2Sept.18, 2009
 The New BI
Analytics Alerts
Aug. 31, 2009
Next-Gen BIIs Here
By Doug Henschen
PAST PERFORMANCE
is no guar-antee of futureresults. This invest-ment-prospectus lingo has neverbeen more apt for business in gener-al than in this post-financial-melt-down, pre-recovery economy. Yetnow more than ever, top executives,corporate directors, and financialmarkets want no surprises.So it’s pretty clear why businessintelligence initiatives continue totop CIO priorities, as executivesfrom the boardroom on downdemand better visibility. The problem is that BI often has fallen short of ideal, delivering insightinto the past but not into up-to-the-moment performance or future prospects.That’s about to change. Next-generation BI has arrived, and three major factors are driving it: thespread of predictive analytics, more real-time performance monitoring, and much faster analysis,thanks to in-memory BI. A fourth factor, software as a service, promises to further alter the BImarket by helping companies get these next-generation systems running more quickly.Predictive analytics is a white-hot growth segment that got hotter with IBM’s $1.2 billion dealto buy SPSS, a company that uses algorithms and combinations of calculations to spot trends,risks, and opportunities in ways not possible with historical reporting.Between the extremes of rearview-mirror reporting and advanced predictive analytics lies real-time monitoring. Front-line managers and executives increasingly want to know what’s happen-ing right now—as in this second, not yesterday or even 10 minutes ago. This is wherestreamprocessing technologies aremoving beyond niche industry uses. Real-time monitoring detects
InformationWeekanalytics.com
 
3Sept. 18, 2009© 2009 InformationWeek, Reproduction Prohibited
 The New BI
Analytics Alerts
events or patterns of events as data streams through transac-tional systems, networks, or communications buses. Provenon Wall Street and in other data-soaked industries, streamprocessing technologies deliver subsecond insight that con-ventional BI can’t touch.Forward-looking and real-time analysis aren’t brand-new BIconcepts, but in-memoryprocessing is making them morepractical. Until next-generation in-memory products emerged, you usually needed pre-builtcubes, pre-defined queries, summarized data, and long-running queries for “what if” explo-ration. All those requirements killed spontaneous exploration. In-memory products, unliketools that explore historical data on disk, load vast data sets into RAM so people can performqueries in seconds that would take minutes or even hours with conventional tools.The fourth factor in the next generation of BI addresses another place wherespeed is needed:in the deployment phase. With software-as-a-service options, BI doesn’t always require themonths-long distraction of building a data warehouse or a new data martapplication, some-thing particularly attractive for small IT shops (see story,below).This next generation of BI technology is still evolving and comes with plenty of risk. Predictiontypically requires statistical expertise that’s scarce and pricey. Real-time monitoring of streamprocessing technology can be a lifesaver,but only if you can respond as quickly as you detectopportunity or risk. Fast in-memory-analysis tools are selling briskly, but they may requirecompanies to pony up for higher-performance 64-bit hardware. And if you’re going to exposethese powerful BI tools to new users, be mindful of misinterpretation. Avoid these pitfalls, however, and there’s no turning back to guesswork forecasting, weeks-oldreports, and glacial querying.
PREDICTIVE ANALYTICS GOES BIG
 Analytics and predictive capabilities have been around for decades, but interest has mush-roomed in recent years thanks in no small measure to the 2007 bestseller Competing On Analytics, by Tom Davenport and Jeanne Harris, with its examples of companies profiting bypeering into the future. (The book came a year after
InformationWeek
published an extensivecover story on the subject—you can read that at
informationweek.com/1091/predict.htm
.) BI ven-dors that lacked analytic tools have rushed to integrate them into their BI suites, with SAPBusinessObjects and IBM Cognos cutting integration deals with SPSS. In May, IBM launched an Analytics & Optimization practice, and then last month took the plunge with the SPSS deal.
InformationWeekanalytics.com
Predictive Analysis
Scouring demand data canflag trends and problems sooner.Get the report at
informationweek.com/alert/demanddata
Plus more on Next-Era Business Intelligence atIntelligentEnterprise.com
DIG DEEPER

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