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1/6/2011
02:37 PM
James Kobielus
James Kobielus
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Predictions For Business Analytics In 2011

Forrester's plans for covering self-service, pervasive, social, scalable, cloud and real-time analytics in the coming year.

Scalable analytics: Big data is the rage everywhere, but I prefer to think of it as "colossal content," because it includes much more than structured relational tables. The enterprise data warehouse (EDW) is scaling inexorably toward petabytes to support the increasingly complex content databases required by social media analytics, geospatial applications, clickstream crunching, and other leading-edge applications.

Clearly, Hadoop, as an emerging platform for content that is both colossal and complex, is a key technology. In fact, Hadoop is increasingly figuring into enterprise roadmaps for scaling their EDWs.

Forrester is closely tracking the emergence of enterprise grade Hadoop products from IBM, Pentaho, Cloudera, Karmasphere, and others. In 2011, we will publish a report focusing on first-mover enterprise case studies with Hadoop. And I'd be remiss not to mention that vendor adoption of Hadoop is a key theme in the update to the Forrester Wave on EDW Platforms, which will come out very soon in Q1 2011.

Cloud analytics: Speaking of leading-edge topics that are central to EDW evolution, Forrester will focus more closely on cloud-based analytics platform deployments in 2011 -- and, in fact, we give commercial cloud/SaaS-based EDW options prominent attention in the aforementioned Wave.

No, the market for cloud EDWs is not yet mature: vendor support is still spotty, and broad enterprise adoption is at least a year or two away. Nevertheless, Hadoop's emergence has primarily been to address advanced analytics in private-cloud deployments, especially for applications that source unstructured content from the social media cloud.

In 2011, in addition to the Hadoop study, Forrester will publish reports on the new generation of cloud-based social media monitoring and engagement services for sales, service, marketing, and other customer-facing processes.

Real-time analytics: Forrester has been covering "really urgent analytics" for years. In 2011, I will significantly update our published report on this best practice to highlight how critical low-latency analytics is to social CRM -- in particular to real-time monitoring of social media for gauging customer awareness, sentiment and propensity. It's also crucial for using these streams to automatically flag, escalate, and respond to urgent issues within your CRM and BPM environments.

Forrester will be discussing, across several planned reports, the role of real-time "recommendation engines" that combine EDW, BI, predictive analytics, business rules, complex event processing, content analytics, and social network analysis.

And that's just the core of my own 2011 research agenda within Forrester's Business Process team. We are aggressively addressing a wide range of topics to help enterprise customers drive analytics more thoroughly into their business transformation initiatives.

Thanks to Jai for reminding me to put these thoughts together while they're still fresh in my eggnog-engorged noggin.

Oh, I almost forgot: Happy New Year, one and all!

James Kobielus is a senior analyst at Forrester Research. He is a leading expert on data warehousing, predictive analytics, data mining, and complex event processing. Write him at jkobielus@forrester.com.

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