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The majority of global business intelligence (BI) practitioners in a recent study expect the use of BI at their organizations grow at a steady pace in 2010, but most are skeptical or unsure about the value of analyzing data obtained from social media sites such as Twitter or Facebook, according to Kognitio and Baseline Consulting, which collaborated on the research.

Nearly two-thirds (63%) of the people who responded to the survey said they are “undecided” about the value of data collected from social media sites to help them understand more about their organization or customers. Another 23% called social media “overrated,” saying “there are not as many customer conversations going on as the media would have us believe.” Only 14% said they want to incorporate data from Twitter and other sites as part of their ongoing data analysis efforts.

Looking for Quick Wins

As are those in many disciplines, BI professionals are increasingly facing a need to demonstrate the value of their work. Some 29% of survey respondents say they are under pressure to justify the money they have spent on BI projects and are looking for “quick wins or new opportunities.” In a separate question, 36% say the speed to delivery of BI projects will be an imperative in 2010, saying they will need to test, evaluate, and deploy new systems within a matter of weeks. This finding is a marked change from previous years, Kognitio said, noting that BI projects have historically been expected to take months to implement correctly, and obtaining usable information could take a year or more.

The survey also found that two of every three respondents believe that business intelligence delivered on an as-needed basis (Data as a Service, or DaaS) will continue to grow in 2010. Those respondents were almost evenly split on the rate of growth, with slightly more saying DaaS-like services will continue growing at a slower pace, with the other half believing they will grow more rapidly, as “more companies realize and seek to benefit from its business and economic value,” according to Kognitio.

Less than 10% say outsourced BI is doomed to fail, the survey found.

“The survey gives us a clear road map as to where business intelligence is headed in the new year,” said John K. Thompson,CEO of Kognitio’s North American operations. “In this economy, companies want to be able to quantify their efforts and see tangible results from everything they do. That clearly extends to the use of BI, which has been a ‘money pit’ for too many firms for far too long.”

Additional survey findings:

  • Nearly half of respondents (49%) said BI is becoming more appreciated as a strategic tool at their organizations, with the business side increasingly embracing its value; 43%, however, believe that BI will not grow as an enterprise-wide initiative, with “pockets” still existing across their organizations.
  • BI practitioners expect to see the deeper use of technology at their firms in 2010, and plan to add capabilities to additional lines of business, with almost one-third (31%) saying they plan to add new BI tools.
  • 55% believe that business intelligence is used by their firms for both strategic and operational purposes.
  • The adoption of in-memory databases, which enable faster analysis of immense amounts of data, is predicted to grow slowly by 61% of respondents, who said their price/value point will continue to fall.

“The survey responses confirm the BI paradox of steady-state resources and increased expectations,” said Jill Dych?, Baseline Consulting’s co-founder and partner.

About the survey: The survey was conducted globally by Kognitio and Baseline Consulting. More than 125 people filled out the questionnaire.

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