The evolution of technology in recent years has been fast, extensive and unpredictable. But it appears things are beginning to taper out a bit, as most predictions seem to mirror what Gartner labeled the "Nexus of Forces":
– Organizations are rapidly moving certain applications or entire infrastructures to the cloud, enabling employees to access the network remotely.
– Mobile applications are rising quickly, as bring your own device practices continue to trend upward.
Expanding upon predictive analysis, business analytics has surged in popularity to become one of the top enterprise focuses. At the same time, cloud computing, mobile devices and social media have made it more challenging for companies to manage data.
The end result is that the Nexus of Forces appears ready to converge with business intelligence (BI), another rapidly growing technology sector.
"As more and more information is generated, business models need reinvention, and it's increasingly clear that mastering analytics on big data will be a key driver for the next economic cycle," said Dan Sommer, principal research analyst at Gartner.
Different BI sectors exploding
Saying that the worldwide BI sector is surging is nothing new. The market's value is expected to grow another 7 percent in 2013, to nearly $14 billion, and will exceed $17 billion by 2016, according to a recent Gartner study
But defining precisely what the business intelligence sector means has become a challenge, particularly as it continues to evolve rapidly.
"Although this is a mature market and has been a top CIO priority for years, there is still a lot of unmet demand," said Kurt Schlegel, research vice president at Gartner. "Every company has numerous subject areas – such as HR, marketing, social and so on – that have yet to even start with BI and analytics."
A MarketsandMarkets report found that cloud-based business analytics revenue will total $16.52 billion by 2018, increasing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 25.8 percent from 2013 to 2018. The worldwide mobile BI market, meanwhile, is expected to achieve a 27.5 percent CAGR from 2012 to 2016, according to Report Buyer. Social BI, while slightly younger than the other two, is also projected to gain popularity.
There may be plenty of uncertainty surrounding where the BI sector is headed, but one constant appears to be that business analytics will converge around social media, mobile devices and the cloud.