Forrester Research recently published a report titled, “The Future of BI,” (available to Forrester subscribers or for purchase) in which the analyst firm laid its take on the most important BI trends for 2012 and beyond. Consumerization and self-service stole the show.

Forrester’s List of Trends for 2012 and Beyond

  • Individualized BI tools trump standards.

  • A “multiple BI tool” strategy is here to stay for the foreseeable future.

  • Ready or not, information workers will demand more BI control.

  • BI tools that support the right amount of managed end user self-service will become popular.

  • Mobility is no longer a “nice to have”—it will become to new BI mantra.

  • Cloud BI will slowly and steadily chip away at on-premises implementations.

  • BI-specific DBMSes will gain popularity.

  • Big data will move out of silos and into enterprise IT.

  • Exploration will become the new bread and butter of IT suites.

  • BI will integrate with the Information Workplace.


An important trend I think is missing from this list is more tightly integrated BI and collaboration tools. Forrester does mention that BI will integrate with Information Workplaces—multiple technologies brought together in seamless, contextual user experiences that enable information workers to easily access the information they need. But in the spirit of “getting things done quickly,” to quote from this Forrester report, it will be a two-way street.

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BI services will become more tightly integrated with Information Workplaces and, at the same time, BI platforms will incorporate more and more built-in collaboration services. (See the related blog posts, “What’s the Right Context for Delivery of Social BI?” and “Social BI: How Do People Work, and What Tools Are Available?” and “QlikView Supports Multiple Approaches to Social BI.” Why? Because BI and collaboration are inextricably linked. They are two sides of the same coin. Each is needed for the other to be complete; people collaborate about data, and decisions require collaboration. BI vendors will pursue both avenues as means of enabling business users to more effectively co-create analytic apps, communicate with one another, and explore together.