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Will 2015 be the Year for Operational BI & Hybrid EDW?

Tweets flew back and forth quickly at one my recent Friday #BIWisdom tweetchats. The tribe really got into sharing their opinions of where BI is today – thanks to hopes for advancements in 2014 that were achieved or remain unfulfilled – and opinions about what BI technologies organizations will invest in during 2015.

Here are their top observations regarding what’s gaining buzz for growth and investments for 2015:

- Natural language processing (NLP)
- Infographics
- Streaming BI due to the Internet of Things 
- In-memory analytical sandboxes sitting above a hybrid EDW with traditional and non-traditional sources
- Operational BI

The #BIWisdom group took off on a discussion of operational BI. Someone questioned whether it will get bogged down in big
data hype and whether it can progress on its own. Another tweeted that “operational BI teams with data providers and
data integration (DI) tools are the next bastion of BI to increase its footprint.” That spurred this question: “If we combine these three sources, does it lead us to the hybrid EDW in a faster fashion?”

Another tweeted, “I like the idea of a hybrid EDW to combine everything, including big data.” Someone countered with "EDW
actually prevents good operational BI data from being used.

They concluded that the hybrid EDW allows for streaming but also historical analysis. And the hybrid EDW fits in because 
operational BI doesn’t have all the old historical data. The aim, a participant tweeted, “should be to support both in the hybrid EDW in order to allow best of breed.”

Bottom line: Looking back at adoption and advancements in business intelligence technologies in 2014, it’s clear that 
mobile BI became more mature; but it hasn’t yet replaced desktops. It remains important to BI, as it’s the way to engage more users and younger users; and I believe we’ll see this phenomenon playing out in 2015. Inroads were made into adopting collaborative BI in 2014. But it wasn’t the year for social BI as some analysts had predicted (and some vendors hoped). There was significant success in 2014 where application vendors embedded BI.

What’s ahead for BI technologies in 2015? I agree with the #BIWisdom group that operational BI will be big in 2015. But 
infographics? Probably less so. During 2015 we’ll continue to invest in what we think are the most important areas of research such as cloud BI, advanced and predictive analytics, collaborative BI, embedded BI, location intelligence and mobile BI. New hot topics for 2015 will include enterprise planning, big data analytics and end-user data prep – which will publish this month!

Personally, my favorite predictions are those that say a new technology will completely displace an old one. Never happens. 
If that were true, Microsoft’s Excel wouldn’t still be at the top of BI tools users like.

Howard Dresner is president, founder and chief research officer at Dresner Advisory Services, LLC, an independent advisory firm. He is one of the foremost thought leaders in Business Intelligence and Performance Management, having coined the term “Business Intelligence” in 1989. He has published two books on the subject, The Performance Management Revolution — Business Results through Insight and Action, and Profiles in Performance — Business Intelligence Journeys and the Roadmap for Change. He hosts a weekly tweet chat (#BIWisdom) on Twitter each Friday. Prior to Dresner Advisory Services, Howard served as chief strategy officer at Hyperion Solutions and was a research fellow at Gartner, where he led its Business Intelligence research practice for 13 years.

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