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January 6, 2011

Mobile and in-memory key trends for BI development: Gartner

But is analyst house being too cautious with predictions?

By Steve Evans

Gartner has outlined four trends in business intelligence (BI) and analytics that it claims business leaders must embrace if they are to get the most out of their projects.

The first trend the analyst house predicts is in the mobile arena. By 2013 33% of BI functionality will be consumed via handheld devices. Initial mobile BI capabilities will focus on existing reports and dashboards ported to the mobile device, Gartner said, but by 2012 organisations and vendors will develop mobile analytic applications for specific tasks or domains. This should help take BI and analytics to a more mainstream audience, which in turn will mean more investment, according to Gartner.

Companies should recognise the fact that users will want to access BI tools on mobile devices and plan accordingly to ensure that the current infrastructure can cope with the demand. Bespoke mobile applications should be produced where necessary, Gartner believes.

The company also looked and in-memory function, something that has gained a lot of traction over the last year. By 2014 30% of analytic applications will use in-memory functions as companies look for faster response times despite the predicted massive increase in data volumes.

However Roger Llewellyn, CEO of BI and analytics firm Kognitio, believes Gartner may be downplaying the potential impact of in-memory functions. "[The infrastructure] will have to be capable of performing queries and tasks for a huge number of potential users at once. It will have to deal with a wide variety of data and enquiries. It will need to offer the best possible performance for service providers in order for them to provide customer satisfaction. In short, it will need to be based on in-memory functions," he said.

"Thanks to this, and based on our own experiences, we would say that Gartner’s prediction that only 30% of analytic applications will use in-memory functions is selling the technology short. As in-memory becomes an increasing mainstay of BI and analytics, we expect this number to surge," Llewellyn added.

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Also on Gartner’s radar in the BI and analytics space is a shift in spending on business analytics from software vendors to systems integrators. Companies will be looking at BI platforms as whole packages and select a lead provider, which will often be a service provider, to deliver it, Gartner claims.

Finally Gartner believes that by 2013 15% of BI deployments will combine BI, collaboration and social software into decision-making environments. New investment in BI will be driven by a link-up with collaboration and social network functions.

"The market for BI and analytics is undergoing gradual evolution," said Neil Chandler, research director at Gartner. "By 2014, the metamorphosis of BI from IT-owned and report-centric will be virtually complete for a large number of organisations. These organisations will change what types of BI and analytics they use. They will change how they procure them and where they procure them from, and they will modify how information feeds decision making. BI and analytics leaders should embrace the technology, market and management trends that will transform this field within a few years."

Kognitio’s Llewellyn thinks Gartner may have been a bit guarded with its outlook. "If anything, we would say that Gartner is being somewhat cautious in its predictions. After all, the amount of data organisations need to deal with is always increasing. The number of organisations that need to analyse that data, yet couldn’t take on a large-scale in-house implementation, is always increasing. And the number of employees and users that need to share, access and analyse this data in order to perform their jobs is always increasing," he said.

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