The trend of changes towards the development of Business Intelligence we have observed for many years has now been reflected in the latest Gartner Group analytical report presented on the BI Summit Conference held in February 2015.
For many years, we have observed how Business Intelligence has been moving towards mobile technology, advanced data visualisation or In-Memory processing. Business, in its broad sense, has expected from BI technology suppliers to provide simple and transparent user interfaces that enable individual analysis and data visualisation in line with the BI self-service trend. Those needs have been addressed by the top BI technology suppliers such as: QlikTech, SAS, MicroStrategy, Microsoft, SAP, IBM or Oracle.
The business market has become unrelenting to BI suppliers. In general, businesses are unwilling to change their approach towards BI class projects, and consequently, move from technology based on previous OLAP solutions towards advanced In-Memory association databases. The great majority of suppliers perceives the new trend as “a fashion” to use BI In-Memory and is sceptical about data analysis based on multidimensional association models. However, to retain their top supplier positions, some of them make the R&D investment and extend their portfolio with solutions entirely modelled on BI In-Memory. Others create a kind of hybrid solutions that are basically aimed at improving the speed of data processing. There are also suppliers who try to use social media or marketing mechanisms to cover up that they are designing or testing In-Memory tools.
The breakthrough in the BI market results from technological changes affecting suppliers, but also from a change in approach towards implementation projects in terms of methodology and cooperation with the aware business and its higher demands. Business expects that BI solutions will be implemented fast and agilely and will satisfy so called short-term necessity, because what is the most important is to meet the increasing demand for information. The information comes from so many different data sources that it is necessary to implement tools that will make it adaptable and integrated by business users rather than by highly qualified data warehouse architects or SQL programmers. Facing such business needs, the BI approach that to build a data warehouse and finally create reports and analyses requires many months of analysis of client business demands and defining multidimensional sources of data modelled on Ralph Kimball’s or William Inmon’s methodologies becomes unsuitable and unfit for the majority of BI implementations due to its excessive costs and duration.
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The interesting contradiction of advanced BI solutions is that while the performance, speed and flexibility of solutions increases, the total costs of implementation and equipment requirements are reduced. The implementation costs are limited because there is no need to purchase expensive development environments supporting ETL processes to build multidimensional corporate data warehouses, which make for around 60-75% of the total project cost. According to Gartner’s analysts, 85% of the current data warehouses will lose their ability to adapt to the growing amount of data and its processing and presentation methods within the next two years.
New generation Business Intelligence systems, in the latest Gartner’s report called Data Discovery, require significantly less financial outlay and perfectly adapt to agile methodologies. Therefore, they can be scalable and built with different modules, which addresses the business demand for self-service models. The self-service philosophy allows for a gradual development of BI solutions as the needs of a company grow. As a result, such solutions become self-financing analytical tools covering all the areas of an enterprise. This is because new areas of data and business analyses are added intuitively and gradually. The simplicity of the solution, its user-friendly and intuitive interface make a company constantly build and develop analytical competences within its own resources. Therefore, individual users become involved in the system development, while BI assists them in realising their own goals and pursuing measurable benefits, which results in continuous development of the ecosystem that changes with the needs and modifications within an enterprise.
The change of approach to BI class tools have also taken place in the area of accountability for the projects, which has shifted from IT departments to business users. Garnter’s analysts estimate that about 35% of expenses related to the purchase and implementation of BI technologies will be covered from outside of IT budgets. This is a signal for businesses offering BI technology to also modify their attitude towards the sale processes. It is essential that the sale be adjusted to provide clients with business solutions and tools that solve current problems or facilitate the decision making process, instead to simply provide software licenses or technologies. Consequently, the decision-making persons and sponsors of BI projects should include top CEO, CFO, CTO, CIO or CMO managers who will answer the question: How will the advanced technologies of data exploration increase the analytical competitiveness of my department, and as a result, of the entire company?
The above is evidenced in Gartner’s reports, according to which the value of In-Memory solutions is growing year to year, and in 2015 will exceed USD 1.6 billion, which is a significant share of the analytical platforms market. Analysing the advanced BI solutions market trends, we recognise significant differences between In-Memory BI systems and the solutions offered by big providers of the traditional approach. One of the top companies in the BI In-Memory market is QlikTech, the vendor of QlikView and Qlik Sense software. QlikTech has developed the In-memory technology from 1993 and has been an apparent leader in the Data Discovery market, which has been confirmed by the fact of its 40% share in the global market. The fact has also been noticed and recognised by the Gartner Group that, one more time, ranked QlikTech among visible leaders.