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Business Analytics Predictions from Gartner and Forrester

As part of its Predicts 2011 series, Gartner has made four predictions for the near future of business intelligence and analytics. Also, Forrester analyst James Kobielus has written a lengthy article outlining his own predictions for business analytics in Information Week. Both see analytics being embedded in more business processes, particularly in collaborative and social software.

From Gartner:

  • By 2013, 33% of BI functionality will be consumed via handheld devices.
  • By 2014, 30% of analytic applications will use in-memory functions to add scale and computational speed. By 2014, 30% of analytic applications will use proactive, predictive and forecasting capabilities.
  • By 2014, 40% of spending on business analytics will go to system integrators, not software vendors.
  • By 2013, 15% of BI deployments will combine BI, collaboration and social software into decision-making environments.

The fourth is the most intriguing prediction. One of the most obvious places to expect a convergence of business analytics and social software is in SAP‘s StreamWork, which bills itself as a collaborative decision making (CDM) product. Gartner has identified CDM as an emerging category of enterprise software.

The idea of working backwards – getting analytical data from enterprise social software – is even more obvious. Salesforce.com is already doing this internally with its Chatterlytics program that awards bonuses to top contributors to the company’s internal Chatter deployment. IBM’s social software suite Lotus Connections is also baking in analytics. IBM is investing heavily in business analytics, making it a core part of the company’s strategy.

Let’s assume business analytics will converge with collaboration and social software. Let’s also assume the future of enterprise architecture is in Web Oriented Architecture platforms like Jive‘s and from Salesforce.com. In this scenario, the platforms with the best analytics systems built into their core will be the most competitive.

Meanwhile, Kobielus examines the six trends that are shaping Forrester’s 2011 analytics research:

  • Self-service analytics – Giving customers access to analytics tools.
  • Pervasive analytics – Kobielus says Forrester will publish reports to help enterprises embed predictive analytics into all business processes. As a note, one of my own 2011 predictions is that predictive analytics will be applied to more business processes, whether it helps or not.
  • Social analytics – Kobielus sees business process management utilizing social decision making combined wtih analytics. This jibes very well with Gartner’s fourth prediction.
  • Scalable analytics – Tools like Hadoop that help users deal with big data.
  • Cloud analytics – SaaS-based data warehousing.
  • Real-time analytics – More or less self-explanatory.

Analytics is one of the most fascinating emerging technologies, with the potential to radically improve the way we do business or cause cataclysmic business failures or turn out to be a pointless excercise. We’ll be watching analytics developments in 2011 with much interest.

Photo credit: nasa1fan/MSFC

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