Business Intelligence for SMB’s Part 1: Business Intelligence in the Future

In December I was very privileged to take a break with my family and enjoy a week’s holiday in the beautiful snowy mountains of British Columbia, Canada. At the same time a colleague and good friend of mine was driving with his family through a beautiful part of South Africa known as the Karoo, heading to the sun drenched beaches on the Indian Ocean for his own holiday with his family. Who cares?……. No one (except our families’), so why does it matter here? Because in the 4 and a half hour drive from our home in Vancouver, my daughter was texting my colleagues daughter – being of equal age and interests they have become good friends over the years. So what’s remarkable about that I hear you ask? Well call me old-fashioned if you like, but I still find it remarkable that we just accept, we simply take it for granted, like it’s always been this way, that two 13 year olds can text each other on, very literally, the other side of the world, without even thinking how it is possible that they are communicating in the first place. I’m pretty confident that Alexander Bell didn’t have such instant messaging across global hemispheres in his original product specification.

When these young ladies (I shudder to call them girls anymore) enter the workforce around the tender age of 20 – only a short seven years away – they would have grown up never knowing what it’s like to put a coin in a telephone, never needing a telephone directory that doubles as a door stopper, never knowing what it is like to be out of touch – completely and totally incommunicado – for a few days, weeks or months. As an aside, is it conceivable to consider having our daughters handset surgically stitched to her fingers so she won’t drop it any more – it is a permanent extension of her digits now anyway?

It’s staggering to try to keep up with the pace of technological change, but try we will and let’s be honest; I do find it more convenient to browse for contacts in my handheld device than leafing through the yellow or white pages. At the start of 2011 I wrote a three-part white paper about where we believed BI was going as we rapidly cover the ground in this decade towards 2020.  It’s not just BI that’s changing; it’s all technology, and all of society in response to these technical advances. BI will keep evolving, and our appetite for more access to more information more often will keep driving BI vendors. BI will very soon be at the top of any poll results about people spend on technology in this decade. Read more about our musings on BI in the next decade in our BI in 2020 white papers below.

BI in 2020:

Part 1: The Business Intelligence Landscape for Small and Midsized Business

Part 2: BI Technology Advances for Small and Midsized Business

Part 3: Implications of Emerging Technologies and Trends for BI