Business Intelligence Biz to Grow But Cool Off a Bit
February 28, 2011 Timothy Prickett Morgan
After a wave of acquisitions and consolidations in the wake of the Great Recession, the business intelligence (BI) software market is looking to settle down and grow a little more predictably, but perhaps a little less enthusiastically, in the next five years, according to prognostications coming out of Gartner.
Which were no doubt done on some whirlygig-driven BI piece of software.
Gartner believes that sales of BI software will rise by 9.7 percent, to $10.8 billion, in 2011, with growth tapering off through 2014 but slowing. Gartner’s projections show growth will still be in the “high single digits” at the end of the forecast period.
As The Four Hundred previously reported, BI software sales rose by only 4.2 percent, to $9.3 billion, in 2009. A few years early, the market was growing at nearly three times that rate, until the Great Recession came along. In 2007, for instance, BI software sakes rose by 13 percent, hitting $5.1 billion, according to Gartner. But growth has resumed and will be sustained at levels higher than during the economic downturn, and that is something even if it is not at the same high bar set by the BI market ahead of the recession.
The good news is that the market is itself larger even if it is growing more slowly. This, of course, is what happens to all markets as they reach each new equilibrium.
“It’s a sign of the strategic importance of BI that investment remains strong,” explained Ian Bertram, managing vice president at Gartner for its BI practice. “This market segment has remained strong because the dominant vendors continued to put BI, analytics and performance management at the centre of their messaging, while end-user organizations largely continued their BI projects, hoping that resulting transparency and insight will enable them to cut costs and improve productivity and agility down the line.”
Gartner says that now that BI has become an established tool in the IT-driven business toolbox, there is less of a focus on the functionality embedded in BI tools. Customers want tools that are easier to use, and they are not in a mood to be hypnotized by feature creep. Gartner says they even want BI tools to be (gasp!) fun, if you can believe it. Let me say this another way: if there is an app for that, somewhere out there on the Intertubes, then people are going to use it if they understand it. The application barrier is now zero. You office walls are permeable, and users are going to solve problems, with or without IT’s help.
Another key driver in the BI space is what Gartner calls extreme data performance, which is just a different way of saying creating a high performance cluster with fast switches, probably flash disks, and maybe even co-processors such as field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) to boost the performance. That’s why IBM bought Netezza last year, and it is why Oracle bought Sun Microsystems and has launched its Exadata appliances last year, too.