Monday, January 26, 2009

2009 BI Market Prediction #3: The Besieged CIO

This third prediction follows my last two blog posts, which described BI vendor consolidation and technology shifts as the first two predictions for 2009.

My premise for prediction number three is that the Besieged CIO will come under increasing strategy and cost pressure - and continue to look for capable, low cost alternatives wherever they might exist. I call him or her the besieged CIO because the pressure to continue doing more with less, in this top IT role, never ceases. The CEO is applying constant pressure to drive the company to innovate and create top-line growth. The CIO’s budget, however, isn’t growing proportionately and it is a constant challenge to maintain existing IT systems with what amounts to fewer funds so that more resources can be directed to new technology initiatives (to fuel the CEO’s agenda).

So, what’s a CIO to do? Answer: find capable, lower-cost alternatives in all technology categories. This is where I believe new development and delivery models will become even more popular, which benefits open source and software-as-a-service vendors because, in most cases, the up-front and on-going costs are just lower (especially in the case of open source). This phenomenon will continue to expand the high-growth space of virtualization as well as the latest hype area: cloud computing.

Supporting my prediction,
very recent survey work by analyst firm Gartner proves that this will be a tough year for CIOs. Among other findings, Gartner’s research shows expected flat IT budgets, the need to restructure to meet the difficult economic conditions, and an on-going #1 technology priority placed on business intelligence. Gartner states that CIOs expect to “invest in business intelligence applications and information consolidation in order to raise enterprise visibility and transparency, particularly around sales and operational performance. These investments are expected to pay extra dividends by responding to new regulatory and financial reporting requirements.”

Lower cost and simpler-to-use BI solutions that enable widespread use of dashboards, interactive reports, and deeper analytics will be the tonic and salve that enable the besieged CIO to make it through these tough times. I’m proud to know that Jaspersoft will be doing its part by delivering the world’s best (and lowest cost) business intelligence products and services.

Brian Gentile
Chief Executive Officer

Sunday, January 18, 2009

2009 BI Marketplace Prediction #2: Technology Shifts

My first prediction (previous blog post) explained the continuing effects that major BI vendor consolidation will have in this coming year (and beyond). My premise is that those massive BI vendors with numerous and aged software architectures will have difficulty innovating and, therefore, new BI sub-markets will be forged (pun intended) by the younger, more nimble vendors that satisfy new and unique needs.

The second and related prediction is that key Technology Shifts will be another disadvantage for these proprietary BI behemoths. In the last year, we’ve seen some important new technologies emerge and begin to really influence BI – and I believe these will have an even more significant effect in the coming year. Some examples of these technology shifts include columnar-oriented data warehouse tools, query optimizers, SOA/web services (and overall componentized design), mash-ups, in-memory analytics, integrated search, and the use of rich media services to provide more compelling (web-based) user experiences. For BI tools and software, the question is “which vendors will be able to deliver a more modern, dynamic experience using these new technologies?” And, “How will new customer needs be addressed by harnessing some of these new technologies?” The more dated a product and its architecture, of course, the more difficult it will be for the vendor to deliver new functionality that truly takes advantage of these new technologies and solves new problems for a customer.

Just this month,
Gartner published its own list of BI predictions for 2009. Second on its list of five predictions is more distributed (across enterprise business units) funding for BI software and solutions. The problem here, Gartner wrote, is that "business users have lost confidence in the ability of [IT] to deliver the information they need to make decisions." Exactly. And, this lower confidence is made worse by business users seeing simple but compelling BI functionality in new tools that are not yet on the IT standards list. Let’s make 2009 the year that easy-to-use and compelling BI functionality is actually used broadly in an enterprise.

Brian Gentile
Chief Executive Officer

Monday, January 12, 2009

BI Market Predictions 2009: Vendor Consolidation

My last post introduced four major BI market trends that, I believe, will create dramatic change in the coming year. This post will examine the first trend of these trends . . . and the one that is arguably the most obvious. During 2007, three major Business Intelligence vendors – Hyperion, Cognos and Business Objects - were acquired by Oracle, IBM, and SAP respectively. After more than a year of letting the dust settle, these mega-companies began describing their newly-rationalized, post-acquisition product roadmaps. Regardless of the quality of those roadmaps, some customers are disappointed for at least one of four reasons:

1. Discontinued products. Customers’ favored products are being discontinued in order to merge multiple products across many categories.
2. Stifled innovation. Behemoths are moving sideways, rationalizing code bases and choosing winners and losers, rather than moving forward.
3. Vendor like-ability. Customers’ BI products have become acquired by a vendor with which, for any number of reasons, they don’t feel they can do business.
4. Complex products with expensive licensing options. This will only get worse – more complex and even pricier - because these largest software providers have to cater to the largest, most sophisticated customers of business intelligence.

We haven’t seen the end of this ripple effect. I contend that, in 2009, the consolidation of these largest BI vendors will continue to frustrate customers and in an even more challenging year than the one we just put behind us. This will, without a doubt, provide more opportunity for smaller, faster, and more modern BI software providers because of the disappointment customers feel across each of the reasons cited. In fact, as 2009 matures, the effects from each of these will fuel growth for those business intelligence software providers who cleverly solve a specific business problem that the largest vendors have forsaken. This confluence of “disruptive innovation” and business intelligence is cited by Steve Miller (of OpenBI) in an article written late last year, entitled
“Open Source BI as a Disruptive Technology”. Supporting the need for faster innovation, Steve describes the core disruption coming from commercial open source BI (COSBI) vendors:

“At the heart of the [Commercial Open Source BI]-led disruption is technology innovation, which is occurring on a larger scale and in ways not experienced by the traditional proprietary software market. COSBI leverages a worldwide community of volunteer development talent stewarded by professional R&D teams to create a global innovation engine. This combination is critical to COSBI success because the magnitude of community development effort enables a high trajectory of product improvement, while core vendor-employee R&D teams are free to focus on marketable innovations.”

What do you think? Will these ripples from vendor consolidation play out in ways consistent with my prediction?

Brian Gentile
Chief Executive Officer

Monday, January 5, 2009

The BI Marketplace: Four Predictions for 2009

Well, it’s that time of the year when anyone who cares to cast an eye forward has the chance to make predictions for what might happen in the year ahead. Having always been a wanna-be futurist, in my next four blog entries I will describe four important trends that I believe are sure to have a significant effect on the business intelligence sector during 2009.

To be clear, the four major trends that I’ll describe have been underway for a few years . . . in some ways too subtle for easy perception and in other ways very obvious. Either way, I’ll call them my own because, hey, this is my blog.

As a preview, here are the four significant trends that I predict will have an even more pronounced effect starting in 2009.

  1. Consolidation of the largest BI vendors will create a ripple effect, providing more opportunity for smaller, faster, and more modern BI software providers.

  2. Key technology shifts will create a new landscape of requirements in business intelligence, potentially accentuating the strengths of the more modern providers while hampering the aged, proprietary architectures.

  3. The besieged CIO will come under increasing pressure to do more with less and continue to look for capable, low cost alternatives wherever they might exist.

  4. Enterprise information systems will require a more consumer-oriented approach to appeal to the younger generation of up-and-coming workers, a concept I call “the consumerization of information”.

Hopefully that's enough to whet your appetite. I'll be expanding on each of these (sequentially) during the course of the next few weeks. I look forward to your comment and feedback even as I begin to write about each of these trends in my next four entries.

Brian Gentile
Chief Executive Officer