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Top 10 BI And Data Visualization Trends For 2010
Part 1

by Lyndsay Wise, President, WiseAnalyticsWednesday, February 10, 2010

Entering a new year always causes people to look back across the year before to see what has happened and surmise what will be.  With software advancements and shifts in technology, the world of business intelligence is no different.  The BI landscape is one that is constantly changing and taking advantage of what technology has to offer, while revisiting general trends at regular intervals.  For instance, the popularity of the concept of integrating unstructured data within BI ebbs and flows over time as market factors affect the focus and budgets of what organizations can reasonably take on.  Consequently, it can be difficult to identify what will gain popularity within the market, and what will be placed on the sidelines for another day.

This article looks at assumed trends for the upcoming year.  With many solution upgrades including in-memory analytics and an expansion of interactivity and data visualization, organizations can expect many new applications and upgrades that will positively affect their ability to gain better business insights.  Part 1 of this article identifies trends such as a renewed focus on the business user, in-memory analytics, the increasing use of operational-focused BI applications, regulatory compliance, and embedded analytics.  The second part of this article looks at the expanding data warehouse market, advanced data visualization, the impact of social networking on BI, the use of multiple data sources, and fraud detection and security.

1. Business-driven interaction

The history of business intelligence applications is one that is heavily focused on IT development, deployment and maintenance.  Until recently, business users were almost seen as afterthoughts because so much effort was required on the back end to get the full BI solution up and running.  Additionally, because of the scientific nature of analytics, most solutions were focused on advanced users.  Within the past year, this has changed. 

Now many vendors provide offerings targeted to business users.  This doesn’t mean that the shift has turned from IT and super users, but what it does mean is that solution providers are taking heed from their Software as a Service counterparts and developing solutions that can be managed by the business without requiring IT intervention for changes, updates, etc.  The implication for organizations is that BI is becoming more accessible and easier to interact with.  Looking ahead to this year’s future product releases, solution providers will continue to enhance their offerings with an increasing focus on interactive visualizations, collaboration, and portal-driven application access with the goal of enhancing the overall experience of the business user.

2. In-memory analytics

Although the use of in-memory processing to conduct analyses is not new, the adoption of in-memory applications will continue to gain momentum as it did in 2009.  With memory prices falling, faster processing speeds, and the ability to store more data, the availability of in-memory analytics will continue to expand as solution providers turn to in-memory to provide customers with quicker analyses that do not require developing cubes and questions in advance.

Last year saw many announcements surrounding the adoption of in-memory analytics.  As data warehousing providers continue to partner with front-end dashboard vendors to bring the full range of BI functionality to companies, the ability for organizations to take advantage of more advanced technology to answer questions dynamically and outside the realm of OLAP-based analytics helps take BI to the next level (and adds exponential value to the decision making within the organization).

3. Operational BI and dashboards

Dashboards can be considered the entry point into BI.  Dashboards provide a visual way to analyze business information and interact with that data on many different levels – from high-level sales analytics to advanced statistics.  Overall, the role of dashboards has given business intelligence a new vibrancy.  As BI interactions mature, the way in which organizations apply technology within their company becomes more mature as well.  Consequently, businesses move from using analytics, reporting and dashboards against a data warehouse to looking at real-time data.  Both transactional and process-based information is now streamed directly into front-end visualization and analytics applications. 

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