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Business intelligence has always been viewed as a killer application, but adoption of BI applications has always been a hit-or-miss proposition. However, with the increasing growth of cloud computing, the ability to collaborate around BI applications that are broadly accessible in the enterprise has never been greater. In a new report from Dresner Advisory Services, the “2013 Wisdom of Crowds Cloud Business Intelligence Market Study,” 35 percent of survey respondents indicated that cloud BI is either “critical” or “very important” to their organization. The survey also finds more interest in running BI applications in a private cloud than in any other kind of cloud platform. That’s generally a good thing for the channel. Over the long term, it looks as if services that integrate private and public BI clouds are going to be a major new opportunity for the channel. Despite that, the survey indicates that growth in cloud BI applications may be limited to a finite number of areas, which could signal that the momentum surrounding cloud BI may be beginning to slow. The report is based on 1,182 completed surveys
BI, meet cloud
Speaking of new world orders, none other than Howard Dresner, the father of BI turned researcher and consultant, has come out with a new prediction on where the field is headed. He recently published survey data on cloud business intelligence (BI).
Based on the 1,182 surveys collected, 35% of respondents reported cloud BI as either “critical” or “very important.” That’s up from 31% in 2012. Not bowled over by those figures? You should be, because BI — and analytics — are notoriously hard sells for the cloud.
That doesn’t mean on-premises infrastructure is going away anytime soon, Dresner said, but neither is cloud delivery. “The train has left the station. It may be going slowly, and it may have to go over a mountain pass or two, but it’s left the station,” he said.
Of course, someone — the CIO or his pal, the CDO? — will have to ensure that these paid services are doing what they’re supposed to be doing and are integrated and audited when necessary. But it’s just more evidence that IT operations are moving on. “We’re no longer managing all of these things on site. We’re just managing the people who are managing it now,” Dresner said.
More cloud business intelligence implementations are happening right now, especially among SMBs and in specific departments such as human resources, according to a new niche market report from Dresner Advisory Services.
Now in its second year, the cloud-specific report assesses answers from 1,182 completed surveys – 40 percent more than in the inaugural report – from IT and data decision-makers from various industries, 59 percent of which hail from the U.S.
Dividing among private, public or hybrid cloud options, all three increased in interest from last year, with a particular increase in cloud BI plans happening “today,” according to Dresner. Twenty-eight percent of respondents said they were currently using or setting up a private cloud for BI, a 12 percent jump from last year’s survey, and accompanied with a 7 percent year-over-year drop in the number of companies with no plans for private cloud BI. Growing more incrementally are plans for a hybrid cloud for business intelligence, with 30 percent implementing or intending to roll out a hybrid environment within the next two years (up 4 percent from 2012). In addition, pure public cloud BI deployments over the next two years only grew by approximately 1 percent from last year to 2013’s plans, Dresner stated.
Employees have long had the ability to process and analyse small data sets themselves, thanks mainly to Microsoft Excel.
But when it came to anything that exceeded Excel’s maximum row limit (65,000 in Excel 2007), they were dependent on the reports and dashboards that the IT department had built using the enterprise standard business intelligence tools.
Recent years, however, have seen not only a staggering uptick in the volume of data produced and collected by businesses, but also a steady increase in the awareness of the power of data analytics.
The combined effect is that users are increasingly dissatisfied with the prescriptive reports and dashboards that are handed down to them from IT. In particular, the time it takes for new reports to be issued cannot keep pace with employees’ need to answer questions as they arise.
It is little wonder, then, that there is high demand for ‘self-service BI’.
In a 2011 white paper, analysts Claudia Imhoff and Colin White defined self-service BI as “the facilities within the BI environment that enable BI users to become more self-reliant and less dependent on the IT organisation”.
And according to the Wisdom of Crowds report, an annual survey of business intelligence users by BI guru Howard Dresner, self-service BI has been among the top technology priorities for two years running.
Younger users exposed to business intelligence in school are driving enterprise adoption of BI, says Howard Dresner. Penetration of BI throughout organizations is growing, but slowly.
In the quarter century he has been following the use of business intelligence (BI) in the enterprise, Howard Dresner has seen trends come and go. One that seems solidly entrenched, though, is organizations’ desire to get BI into the hands of more users.
While BI is spreading throughout organizations, it’s doing so slowly. In his latest Wisdom of Crowds BI Market Study, Dresner found that in nearly 60 percent of surveyed organizations fewer than 20 percent of users have access to BI.
“We’re moving the needle, but it takes time,” said Dresner, the founder and president of Dresner Advisory Services.
Dresner compared the adoption of business intelligence to the evolution of the PC. “In the early ’80s only senior managers had a PC in their office on a table somewhere. For most of them, it was a status symbol. They hardly knew how to turn it on,” he said.