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Meeting of the minds on 'big data' analytics, other key BI trends

At the Pacific Northwest BI Summit, consultants and vendors get together for a weekend retreat -- and discussions on the big business intelligence and analytics topics of the day.

The Pacific Northwest BI Summit, held each summer for the past 11 years, is part conference, part weekend retreat. A small group of consultants and vendor strategists gather at an historic inn on the banks of the Rogue River in Grants Pass, Ore., to talk about key trends and issues in business intelligence (BI), analytics and data warehousing (and to play poker, kayak on the river, and so forth). Much of the discussion -- which this year centered on topics of the moment, such as "big data" analytics, and on evergreens, like selling BI investments to senior execs -- is tweeted in an online conversation that continues long after the summit ends: Check out the hashtag #BISUM on Twitter.

In addition, a few media outlets are invited to cover the event; is one of them. News Editor Nicole Laskowski attended the 2012 summit, which took place in mid-July. Her coverage began with a story about the summit's annual predictions session, in which the participants have their say on what will happen in the world of BI over the next 12 months. Not surprisingly, big data analytics stole some of the spotlight, with predictions that the focus on big data will shift to the application level and that new use cases will emerge for analyzing sensor, machine-generated and social media data. Other gazes into the crystal ball focused on the expected evolution of the enterprise data warehouse from a single system to an integrated set of analytics platforms.

Enterprise Management Associates consultant Shawn Rogers expanded on the latter theme in a video interview, detailing what he sees as an ongoing shift to a "hybrid data ecosystem" that puts different kinds of data on the systems they're best suited for. That was one of six interviews Nicole recorded with the consultants at the summit. In a second Q&A, Rogers discusses the hot job category of "data scientist," but says that not all companies have data that requires the skills and capabilities of data scientists -- and that some organizations can't afford what it costs to hire them.

Other video interviews featured Claudia Imhoff, president of consultancy Intelligent Solutions, offering advice on overcoming the challenges of combining collaboration capabilities with mobile BI tools; and William McKnight from McKnight Consulting Group talking about the potential benefits of Agile BI development methodologies. Another two videos will be posted soon; you'll be able to find them on our summit coverage landing page once they're available.

And if you have any predictions on what will happen in BI, analytics or data warehousing, email me or Twitter @BizAnalytics_TT, and let me know what they are.

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