Two epic battles have been going on for decades in the world of Business Intelligence and Analytics. Who has the ultimate control of these domains, Business or Technology? And which in the grand scheme of things has a higher priority, customer facing vs. back office analytics? Well, in what Forrester calls the age of the customer (AOC), the results are in. Customer facing priorities trump back office priorities and business users rule. Battle fought and won. Period. End of story.
It should be no surprise to our readers that the top five predictions we picked for BI by triangulating our AOC and Agile BI research with client interactions and survey results are all about empowering business users with tools and applications to be self-sufficient, effective and efficient in their unrelenting quest to win, serve and retain customers.
#1 Managed BI Self-Service Will Continue To Close The Business And Technology Gap. Traditionally, technology management-driven enterprise BI and business user-driven, self-service BI have gone their separate ways, wrestling each other for scalability, a single version of the truth, and reduced operational risk versus agility, flexibility, and faster time-to-market. Forrester predicts that these two camps slowly by surely will learn how to live happily ever after in 2015 by deploying technologies, architectures, and best practices that allow technology management to monitor business-user-generated BI content and selectively productionalize it.
In a related prediction we also see that the best BI tool for each use case will continue to trump enterprise technology standards.
#2 Data Wrangling Will Become A Key Feature In All Leading BI Platforms. Just like in the “The Story of Goldilocks And the Three Bears,” large enterprise, highly scalable extract-transform-load (ETL) tools are “too big” and too complex for the business users, while most of the highly popular business user focused BI and data visualization tools only allow reporting, analyzing, and visualizing data as is. They are “too small” for the job of data transformation. But once again, as noted in most of the other predictions, business users cannot constantly depend on the technology professionals to develop, test, and deploy new data transformation and integration processes for every new minute requirement. The solution? Data wrangling to the rescue! Data wrangling is a lightweight set of data transformation, integration, and cleansing capabilities built right into a BI tool which are “just right” for the business users. These tools are not designed to replace enterprise ETL platforms, but rather complement them for those occasions, when the business just can’t wait.
Do you agree or would you like to challenge these predictions? Those of you who know me well know that I am always up for a constructive and challenging dialogue on social media or in the comments section below.
But be warned – we did not pick these predictions lightly, but rather backed them up with data points from our surveys and client interactions. Please read the complete research report for further details (including our two other predictions on the adoption of mobile and cloud BI in 2015) and actionable advice to our clients on how to leverage these trends to their advantage. In related research, be sure to read our predictions on the convergence of BI and Big Data
We also recommend cross referencing the BI predictions with those for Hadoop and the new data economy for a complete picture of how Forrester sees the information and data management landscape in 2015. To see a complete list of the prediction reports we're publishing ths month, visit our site. You  can also contact us to learn more.