It's great to see these projections showing the huge potential of big data and analytics being taken seriously by businesses across such a wide range of industries, but the next step is ensuring these huge project investments actually deliver value. The fact that service–related opportunities are expected to account for more than half of all revenue during the forecast period is a huge step in the right direction, however analytics tools, especially the current crop of highly visual, intuitive tools, remain deceptively simple. They appear to turn base data, any data, into compelling and easily understood business insight at the touch of a button, but the truth is very different. Business Intelligence is tough – disconcertingly so, meaning many organisations are going to be getting it wrong.
By using such tools, they are putting the method before the desired outcome. Yet, in reality, surely it's only once a business knows what it's trying to get out of the data, that a solution can be decided upon. In an era of cloud computing and Everything as a Service, a senior manager can merely define the business need and entrust the problem to a third party with the existing technology components and skills to turn the base data into BI. By doing this, organisations (of any size) can remove the risks, provide cost transparency and take the truly business–driven approach that is at the heart of BI success.