Data discovery to become main focus of BI vendors, Gartner says

Half of all BI (business intelligence) implementations will incorporate machine data streams by 2017, according to a new report

BI (business intelligence) and analytics will remain a top investment priority for CIOs, but by 2015 BI vendors will make ad-hoc data discovery, rather than report generation, the prime focus of their product development efforts, according to a new Gartner report.

During the past 10 years, the BI industry has grown based on "IT-centric BI platforms for large-scale systems of record," Gartner said. "These have tended to be highly governed and centralized, where IT production reports were pushed out to managers and knowledge workers."

While ad-hoc querying and other analytic tools have been available, "they were never really fully embraced by the business analyst masses, primarily because they are perceived by most as being too difficult to use," the report adds.

As it stands, only about 30 percent of potential BI users have adopted their company's standard BI tools, according to Gartner.

In recent years, demand for user-friendly BI tools sparked the "meteoric rise" of vendors such as Tibco Spotfire and Tableau, Gartner said.

As a result, "the majority of current IT-centric vendors will shift the focus of new product investment and platform emphasis from IT-authored production reporting, to governed, business-user-driven data discovery and analysis," the report adds.

BI vendors and customers will also embrace the "Internet of Things" trend, with more than 50 percent of implementations using "event data streams generated from instrumented machines, applications and/or individuals" by 2017, Gartner said.

"Sensor and other forms of instrumentation (for example, video/sound monitoring, system and usage log data, GPS, weather) comprising the Internet of Things can provide a more direct and immediate representation of an object's, system's or individual's behavior," the report adds.

Gartner is also predicting competition will heat up between BI platform vendors and the systems integrators who have created specialized analytic applications for various industries and business processes.

BI vendors "recognize that in order to expand their reach beyond traditional power users, they must deliver packaged domain expertise and applications to enable self-service by a wider range of users," Gartner said. As a result, by 2017 packaged analytics applications from vendors and systems integrators will be "indistinguishable" from one another, according to the report.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris' email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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