Where's BI Heading? - InformationWeek

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Software // Information Management
Commentary
7/27/2006
08:23 PM
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Where's BI Heading?

In its most recent analysis of the business intelligence market, International Data Corp. sees vendors through 2020 focused on automating more decision processes, and on expanding BI's reach to more people inside and outside an organization.

In its most recent analysis of the business intelligence market, International Data Corp. sees vendors through 2020 focused on automating more decision processes, and on expanding BI's reach to more people inside and outside an organization.In IDC's view, the BI market moves in 15-year cycles, with the first starting in 1975 when vendors were focused on production reporting on mainframes. In the current cycle, the analyst firm sees the benefits of BI reaching information workers and line-of-business employees, as well as suppliers, partners, customers and government agencies.

Current software, however, is not up to the task and will have to evolve to meet the needs of people beyond BI's traditional users of business analysts and managers. Driving the evolution will be customer demand for better tools to ensure that decisions follow internal policies and government regulations. In addition, customers will want to expand the use of BI, so they can become stronger competitors and work more efficiently with businesses outside the organization.

IDC advises companies developing BI strategies to look beyond query and reporting software, and decision-support tools for BI power users. Companies should seek features such as business process management, collaboration and workflow. In addition, the technology should have characteristics that point to reaching an ever-broadening audience.

Besides looking at future trends, the IDC report released this week and available through the firm's Web site also gave the lowdown on the market in 2005. The researcher said license and maintenance revenue worldwide increased by 11.5 percent from 2004 to $5.7 billion.

The top five vendors and their market share were Business Objects, 13.9 percent; SAS Institute, 10.2 percent; Cognos, 9.9 percent; Microsoft, 6.2 percent; and Hyperion Solutions, 5 percent. Microsoft is a relative newcomer, but it's gaining market share quickly, and its impact "cannot be overemphasized," IDC said.

Among the areas Microsoft is expected to shake up is the "front end" of BI, where the company is pushing Excel as the user interface. Typical for Microsoft, the software maker often enters a market late, but then spends what it takes to become a player.

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