Visualization, Search, Among Emerging Trends In BI

business intelligence

Schlegel identified the development of the browser, high-speed bandwidth, the consistency of HTML and search technology as reasons why the Internet is ubiquitous today.

BI is undergoing a similar transformation, Schlegel said during a session at Everything Channel's Midsize Enterprise Summit West in Los Angeles. Everything Channel is the parent company of

"I'm not going to say BI will be as big or as mainstream as the Internet, but it can go a long way to make it more pervasive in adopting new technologies," he said.

Schlegel identified seven emerging trends that will be key drivers for BI implementations, perhaps even down to the consumer level, in the future. The trends are: interactive visualization, in-memory analytics, BI integrated search, Software-as-a-Service, SOA/mash-ups, predictive modeling and social networking software.

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"A lot of technologies we'll talk about to help build BI systems don't even exist today, but some are right around the corner," he said. "Business intelligence can break out of the corporate world. Usually it's consumer technology moving into the corporate world. I think it could be the other way around."

Interactive visualization offers users an advanced graphical look at the data, Schlegel said.

"Every BI solution we have today can build bar, pie, line charts. What's different? The variety of charts you have, geographic charts, table box, link charts. We can tell a story using broader visualization types," he said.

The drive to in-memory analytics will be led by more prevalent 64-bit computing, declining memory prices and compression and faster loads, Schlegel said.

The third emerging trend, BI integrated search, integrates search indexes with structured data. "All the big BI players are investing in this type of technology. Even just making it easier to find a report that already exists will be a huge victory," he said.

Meanwhile, SaaS technology will help BI become Information-as-a-Service, Schlegel said. "BI becomes a profit center from a cost center," he said.

Another trend, predictive modeling, takes data mining to a new level, Schlegel said. Predictive modeling takes data and helps forecast where the business is going. It's very complex and few companies have invested in this in the midsize enterprise space, he said.

"The problem is you need a simple story to tell. This is hard stuff. You need a rocket scientist to build it. But once it's built, it can be easily fed into a dashboard or reports."

Perhaps the most abstract concept Schlegel talked about was the influence of social networking software on BI.

For example, he talked about utilizing social networking tools as the front to help make a corporate decision, with BI tools serving as the supporting technology.

"I'd invite people to an e-room and say, 'Here are the options for a decision we need to make, here are the pros and cons of those options.' Can I tag those options to BI content to come to a decision in the social software environment?"