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Business intelligence software market trends and expert predictions for 2007

Experts forecast that business intelligence (BI) software market will continue to grow, reaching more users and expanding to new domains.

In 2006, business intelligence (BI) found its place not only in the hands of high-powered analysts but also on the desktops of the average user. Companies began recognizing the benefits of combined BI and corporate performance management (CPM) systems. And BI expanded to more domains, demonstrated by the emergence of location intelligence (LI). asked four BI experts for their thoughts on how the market will evolve in 2007.

David Loshin
President of Knowledge Integrity Inc., a Silver Springs, Md.-based consulting firm specializing in information value and business intelligence; author of Enterprise Knowledge Management - The Data Quality Approach and Business Intelligence - The Savvy Manager's Guide" (Morgan Kaufmann)


  • There will be an increase in the deployment of BI systems intended for performance management. There will also be a corresponding increase in training related to change management associated with performance-based activity, including preparing the organization to take action based on established performance goals that can be directly tied to BI applications.
  • Look for more focus on product data integration as part of Master Data Management (MDM) programs, in addition to continued growth in the Customer Data Integration (CDI) market. As online retailing models change to incorporate federated partnerships (e.g., storefront models such as the ones provided by eBay, Amazon and Yahoo), the need to provide accurate and consistent catalog data will spur the growth of Product Information Management programs.
  • Companies will recognize the importance of information governance. Lobbying activities intended to loosen some of the regulatory constraints imposed by recent legislation may introduce some uncertainty in deploying information governance activities. But those organizations that establish information governance programs will be able to more effectively correlate competitive advantage to effective information management methods and controls.

Gerry Brown
Senior analyst with Towcester, U.K.-based Bloor Research, an analyst firm specializing in BI and CPM

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For a quick flashback of changing trends in 2006, check out our list of top BI stories and other most popular news of 2006.

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  • The 'early majority' of customers will choose their strategic BI supplier and eject other pockets of BI usage. They will establish BI Competence Centers or Centers of Excellence to drive BI initiatives featuring their supplier of choice. Suppliers will look to develop their new business sales in midsized enterprises with Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and real-time BI offerings.
  • Suppliers will consolidate. Microsoft, SAP and Oracle will increase competitive pressures on best-of-breed suppliers by leveraging their enterprise data management positions and offering ubiquitous access to heterogeneous data sources and other vendors' BI cubes.
  • BI will merge with CPM and customer relationship management (CRM) and will have a greater business process component. BI will incorporate structured and unstructured content in a new category: "Intelligent Content." This convergence of technologies and data will be facilitated by enterprise BI search. Greater access to data will drive collaborative BI applications such as online financial investment decision-making and budgeting.

Stuart Mullins
Senior data warehouse architect for Conversion Services International Inc., an East Hanover, N.J.-based data management consulting firm


  • Enterprise information architecture (EIA) will flourish. All the talk of CDI, MDM, business process management (BPM) and service oriented architecture (SOA) will lead more companies to re-assess their enterprise architecture and seek homogeneity among their systems. BI will be propagated throughout the business, both in technical and functional capacities. In 2007, we will see more evaluation of operational systems architecture, database design, and data and process redundancy, resulting in better-architected, more-efficient technical environments.
  • Just as teenagers' appetite for mobile video and audio increases, so will business users' hunger for mobile BI increase. Expect to see more mobile offerings from established BI vendors as well as a new breed of companies specializing in the delivery of on-demand information to BlackBerrys, Treos and cell phones.
  • Software prices will go down, service rates will go up. The increased participation by Microsoft in the BI market, as well as the rising use of open source technologies by companies such as Netezza Corp., a Framingham, Mass.-based data warehouse appliance vendor, will drive software prices down. However, these costs will be offset by rate increases for consultants and integrators as IT managers turn to these partners for assistance in architecting and implementing these technologies.

Tara Pottebaum
Enterprise research- enterprise application and intelligence strategies analyst with the Yankee Group, a Boston- based analyst firm


  • Enterprises and BI vendors will begin to explore Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO) in earnest. This will be a means to solve the human analysis challenges that occur after a BI implementation.
  • Location intelligence is going to get a lot more attention from enterprises across multiple industries stemming from the location-awareness built by the consumer applications of Google Earth and Microsoft Virtual Earth.
    • Location intelligence will unfortunately be seen as a "mapping tool" by most enterprises but the sophisticated enterprises will realize that spatial analysis has predictive capabilities.
    • Expect enterprises to begin geo-coding initiatives for their addressable data in their enterprise resource planning (ERP), supply chain management (SCM) and CRM systems.
    • Expect enterprises to view their existing enterprise mobility systems as a wealth of location data to be mined. We'll see initiatives to begin analyzing this data with location intelligence and geographic information systems (GIS) applications.

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