For those in business intelligence and data analytics who have been working for some time, get ready because, if Gartner is right, 2016 could be a tipping point for corporate use.
The global BI industry will hit $16.9 billion this year, a 5.2 increase from 2015, according to Gartner estimates. According to another analysis, the compound annual growth rate between 2016 and 2020 will be 10.38 percent.
There are likely a few reasons for this. One is that, as big data technologies become more developed and accepted, handling the basic information and getting access in a realistic and effective way become more practical.
Another is that BI has developed over time. It may be that many projects were proofs-of-concept and not full roll-outs. As BI continues to prove itself, companies will more thoroughly roll out the technology, which also means spending to move beyond limited implementations.
Companies are also beginning to understand how to make BI work for them. For example, now-consultant Rich Wagner discussed how, when at a global chemical company, executives largely ignored BI reports. It turned out that they were all focused on historic data that managers used to better control the business. But executives needed to look forward, not back, which means strictly historic data was largely useless. They needed information on where they were going, not where they had been.
To include external factors and build more predictive systems requires a new level of BI tools and expertise. That means spending more money and opportunities for professionals who really understand how to make BI work for corporations.
Finally, there is expansion of markets. Vendors continue to develop technology and look for new customers. As large companies ease into big data and BI, that means creating offerings for mid-sized enterprises and, if possible, smaller companies. The new markets mean not just new spending but places that don’t have the expertise necessary for success.
However, as the old saying goes, beware getting what you asked for. The influx of money and expansion of use will mean greater pressure on projects and the professionals behind them. Large companies will demand results as executives move beyond the psychological stage of viewing BI as an experiment. Smaller companies with fewer resources to put into technology will expect results far sooner.
Professionals will have to realistically set expectations of results and the resources necessary for them. Project management and excellent communications with executives sponsoring projects will be mandatory to avoid losing support. And it will be important to focus on how to deliver positive results sooner rather than later.
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