The second area of automation advances will be in the context of all of the data preparation. If I change one step, I better automatically propagate those changes to all the next steps. That is called end-to-end lifecycle management of BI. That’s another feature that some vendors are working on.
Speaking about the trends toward pervasiveness, a lot of other BI vendors will say their software is pervasive because it integrates with the spreadsheets on your desktop, but that is not enough. There are several very important components of pervasive business intelligence that are only beginning to be addressed.
Number one. We don’t really live in the world that is data centric. The world is process-centric. We all run budgeting processes, forecasting processes, all sorts of management planning, strategic processes. Today, in most companies, business intelligence and data analysis is not really integrated well with processes. So integrating BI inside of the processes is an opportunity. So that you are proactively forced to look at a report, forced to look at a dashboard when something goes awry, when performance deviates from plan or historical trends, that is one thing that is going to make business intelligence more pervasive.
Something else that is interesting: a lot of BI vendors talk about how their software integrates with spreadsheets or word processing applications, but what about email? Email is the most mission-critical application in any enterprise. If email stops, we stop working. The enterprise stops working. Very few vendors, today, integrate business intelligence with email, like we do with automated triggers and email alerts, for instance.