The worldwide market for business intelligence (BI) software is forecast to grow 9,7% to reach $10,8-billion in 2011, according to Gartner’s latest enterprise software forecast. Growth is expected to slow slightly over the forecast period to 2014, but remain in the high single digits.
Gartner's view is that the market for BI platforms will remain one of the fastest-growing software markets despite sluggish economic growth in most regions. Organisations continue to turn to BI as a vital tool for smarter, more agile and efficient business.
BI ranked number five on the list of the top ten technology priorities for chief information officers (CIOs) in 2011, according to Gartner's annual global CIO survey.
“It's a sign of the strategic importance of BI that investment remains strong,” says Ian Bertram, managing vice-president at Gartner. “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 organisations 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.”
According to Gartner, the year 2010 continued to be frustrating for many customers acquired as part of the consolidation frenzy of 2007 and 2008, as they upgraded and expanded BI purchases in line with their enterprise application and information management stacks.
Bertram says the demand side of the BI platform market in 2010 was defined by an intensified struggle between business users' need for ease of use and flexibility on the one hand, and IT's need for standards and control on the other.
“With ‘ease of use’ now surpassing ‘functionality’ for the first time as the dominant BI platform buying criterion, vocal, demanding and influential business users are increasingly driving BI purchasing decisions, most often choosing easier to use data discovery tools over traditional BI platforms — with or without IT's consent,” says Bertram.
Gartner has identified three major demand-side factors that continue to expand use and drive BI platform revenue growth:
* Consumerisation of BI – BI tools must be simple, mobile and "fun" in order to expand use and value. Business users are demanding the same experience from their BI tools that they have come to enjoy with their personal tools. The need for more intuitive and interactive BI tools and applications extends to users on the go, but the vast majority of organisations have yet to embrace mobile BI. This is set to change very quickly with the proliferation of Apple's iPhone and iPad products.
* Support for extreme data performance and emerging data sources – Capabilities that enable the analysis of large, volatile and diverse data will open up possibilities for a broad range of new, high-value BI applications and will be another driver of BI growth. This includes in-memory technology and social and content analytics. Combining these capabilities with support for extreme data volumes and consumer-oriented tools opens up possibilities for a broad range of new, high-value BI applications and will be another driver of growth.
* BI as a decision platform – Gartner's user surveys show that "improved decision making" is the top driver of BI purchases. Capabilities that will evolve BI from an information delivery system to a decision platform will increase the value of BI and drive its growth.