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There are a lot of big trends on the vendor side in business intelligence right now, but if I had to choose the biggest, it would be this: More and more, the giants of business technology -- as opposed to the traditional makers of stand-alone BI tools -- are building analytical capability directly into their enterprise applications. In the future, it's this megatrend that will most powerfully shape the options organizations have before them when they're out shopping for BI tools.
The most recent poll we conducted here at Business Intelligence Pipeline bears out the situation. Our methodology for these polls is unscientific, but readers didn't shy from predicting how built-in analytics will shape the BI market of tomorrow.
The largest group of respondents, 38 percent, said they think databases of the future will have built-in analytical functionality that's sufficient for their needs by itself. Another 11 percent said existing database analytical functionality is already sufficient. The remaining half of respondents either predicted that they'll always use stand-alone analytical tools (34 percent) or said it's too early to tell one way or the other (17 percent).
Microsoft, SAP and others have made huge strides in building analytical capability into their applications even since summer, and both plan more advances in the coming 12 months. Even enterprise software manufacturers that don't make databases -- Siebel, for example -- have begun to take a greater and greater interest in business intelligence.
Even with the vendor consolidation we've seen in the BI market, there are getting to be more choices out there for buyers of business intelligence, not fewer. How well will analytical tools from enterprise software giants pan out against technology from firms that specialize in -- and pioneered -- business intelligence? To me, that's the big question on the horizon -- not just for BI users, but for the vendors themselves. By this time next year, we'll have a much clearer view of how the new BI market is going to look. And it might look very, very different.