What are some business intelligence trends for the future?

InetSoft's CMO, Mark Flaherty, speaks about future BI trends:

One trend is a people trend. When you think about information consumers and the way that people expect to digest, consume, or use information, the expectations of those people are beginning to change as we see the new generation of young people entering the workforce. Their expectations of information access and consumption have been so influenced by social media. This is going to have an impact on how enterprise data is going to be consumed.

Part of the impact will be on the user interface of BI tools and on the information delivery methods. There will be less emphasis on the model of logging into a business intelligence application to find out information. They will want it to just “be there.” That might mean embedding that information inside the ERP or CRM application that they always use. It might also mean embedding it in social media applications.

You might call this goal for BI to become “invisible.” By that I mean people are using BI to a much higher degree but they are not actively, intentionally seeking out BI. In other words, they don’t have to consciously make another step to see relevant information by using a BI tool. Rather the information is already available in the context of where they need it. That could be any kind of interface or application.

So the goal for BI technology is to have it inserted all over the place. So the actual contact with BI becomes greater, but the conscious use of business intelligence becomes much smaller.

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Second Trend in Business Intelligence

The second trend in business intelligence is a technology one. It’s in-memory computing. For almost the entire history of computing, up until now really, memory has been a resource that has always been a limiter of what can be done in information processing. While the cost per MB or GB kept coming down, it’s only now where it’s low enough to catch up with the data processing needs we have in everyday business. It now makes it possible to think about redesigning software to take advantage of it, relying less on the traditional disk-based architecture. Granted data stores are growing all the time, but you can now have so much of your data sitting in memory without disrupting the operational systems collecting new data.

That fosters real-time analysis that is closer and closer to the literal meaning of those words. It also lessens the reliance on data warehousing for rolling up data, for instance. This technology trend is one that has gradually crept on us, not that it was not foreseeable, but it is now clear that it can cause fundamental change and allow us to rethink what BI means and how it can be used. So you have an interesting combination of user expectations and technology capabilities converging to make this idea of ubiquitous BI a realistic possibility. The assumptions of what is and isn’t possible just won’t apply any more. So we need to rethink our definition of business intelligence.

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