Posted by  Charles Clark  Published on  10 Apr 2014
  • Data Strategy

At Gartner’s recently held annual BI Summit in Las Vegas, one of the topics hotly debated was, of course, the cloud and its implications on the traditional business intelligence market. According to the research firm, cloud data discovery vendors will capture half of new license spend in the BI market.

From the buzz received from the show floor, there was no major vendor announcement at the event that rocked the world of technology this year. Many in the BI/Analytics space are growing familiar with all of the pretty, functional and easy-to-use visualization tools. Yet many still find themselves wondering if they can trust just what these pretty graphics are showing them, due to mistrust of data.

However, focus on analytics should start with the data, not the visualization, as the success of any informed decision will only ever be as good as the quality of the underlying data.

It’s here that organizations struggle, even though they are drowning in data. It’s also here that we – as vendors and customers of BI solutions – will see more innovation coming to market in 2014 than ever before: Welcome to BI’s own tipping point.

Besides the cloud, at the event Gartner emphasized "governed data discovery" as a goal that no vendor has yet achieved. Its believes that though data discovery has the potential to enable self-service BI, data discovery tools often lack the deep capabilities and rigorous control of data that have been the hallmarks of traditional BI tools.

Gartner is using data discovery vendors as the new benchmark for the BI market. But the issue here, is that most of these vendors remain reliant on a traditional on-premise software revenue model. Furthermore, much of their technologies were not built in the cloud, for the cloud. In other words, they are constrained by legacy on-premise thinking and technology, and thus are unable to fix the age-old problem of data integration and quality, whilst also giving customers the benefits they expect from data discovery tools (such as self-service).

That said, I can think of one major data discovery player that is now in the cloud, thanks to a strategic partnership it does not yet want to publicize. The alliance (perhaps a better term for this partnership), gives customers the ability to do exactly what Gartner says isn’t possible: governed data discovery.

So why do I write this?

Frankly, there is much below the surface analysts don’t see or hear. There is a lot of innovation underway and, when it does appear, it will be exciting for us all, and has the potential of disrupting and changing the rules. What I can tell you is that this innovation is the result of technology convergence.

What this means is, that from a customer’s perspective (and this is the most important part), they will be able to create better, more accurate business insight by creating richer information, on-demand, from the connecting and cleansing of disparate datasets. If you look into the future this will be delivered from a centralized platform or canvas, which will support a dynamic ecosystem of easy-to-access, smart applications that will replace the structured on-premise demand we see today. It will include machine learning and have a social element to it, where rules and data tags will be created and shared. It will be an intelligent “data factory”.

Like a scientist in a lab, your place of innovation will be a data factory. Accessible only in the cloud, you’ll have at your disposal a number of self-service tools to easily obtain, manage and visualize data. They will mask the massive complexity associated with data integration, cleansing and enrichment and deliver the user their own means of production. Their productivity will explode. Because, from the best foundation of data, comes the best information for insightful analysis.