Business intelligence and analytics need to scale up: Gartner

Hadoop, spoken-word, structured and unstructured data to dominate BI

As data growth continues, business intelligence (BI) and analytics would need to scale up to support the robust growth in data sources, according to the latest predictions from Gartner.

Gartner outlined three key predictions for BI teams to consider when planning for the future: by 2015, 65 per cent of packaged analytic applications with advanced analytics will come embedded with Hadoop; by 2016, 70 per cent of leading BI vendors will have incorporated natural-language and spoken-word capabilities; and by 2015, more than 30 per cent of analytics projects will deliver insights based on structured and unstructured data.

Business intelligence leaders must embrace a broadening range of information assets to help their organisations, according to the research firm.

"Businesses want to turn more data into actionable insights to help them make better decisions, whether that data is from an increasing array of sources within or outside their organisation," said Gartner’s research director, Daniel Yuen. "Different technology vendors, especially niche vendors, are rushing into the market, giving organisations the ability to tap into this wider information base in order to make sounder strategic and prompter operational decisions."

Organisations realise the strength that Hadoop-powered analysis brings to big data programs, particularly for analysing poorly structured data, text, behaviour analysis and time-based queries, Gartner noted. While IT organisations conduct trials over the next few years, especially with Hadoop-enabled database management system products and appliances, application providers will go one step further and embed purpose-built, Hadoop-based analysis functions within packaged applications. The trend is most noticeable so far with cloud-based packaged application offerings, and this will continue, it said.

"Many of these technologies can and will underpin these voice-enabled analytic capabilities, rather than BI vendors or enterprises themselves developing them outright," said Gartner research vice-president, Douglas Laney.

BI/analytics vendors continue to be slow in providing language- and voice-enabled applications. Over the next few years, BI vendors are expected to start playing a quick game of catch-up with the virtual personal assistant market. Initially, BI vendors will enable basic voice commands for their standard interfaces, followed by natural language processing of spoken or text input into SQL queries. Ultimately, "personal analytic assistants" will emerge that understand user context, offer two-way dialogue, and (ideally) maintain a conversational thread, said Gartner.

"Many of these technologies can and will underpin these voice-enabled analytic capabilities, rather than BI vendors or enterprises themselves developing them outright," said Laney.

As for structured data, business analytics have largely been focused on tools, technologies and approaches for accessing, managing, storing, modelling and optimising for analysis of structured data. This is changing as organisations strive to gain insights from new and diverse data sources. The potential value of harnessing and acting upon insights from these new and previously untapped sources of data, coupled with the significant market hype around big data, has fuelled new product development to deal with a data variety across existing information management stack vendors and has spurred the entry of a flood of new approaches for relating, correlating, managing, storing and finding insights in varied data.

"Organisations are exploring and combining insights from their vast internal repositories of content — such as text and emails and (increasingly) video and audio — in addition to externally generated content such as the exploding volume of social media, video feeds, and others, into existing and new analytic processes and use cases," said Gartner research vice president, Rita Sallam.

"Correlating, analysing, presenting and embedding insights from structured and unstructured information together enables organisations to better personalise the customer experience and exploit new opportunities for growth, efficiencies, differentiation, innovation and even new business models."

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