Revenue from business-intelligence software will hit $13.8 billion this year, on its way to $17.1 billion by 2016, according to new estimates from research firm 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,” Kurt Schlegel, research vice president at Gartner, wrote in a Feb. 19 statement. “The descriptive analytics have largely been completed for most large companies in traditional subject areas, such as finance and sales, but there is still a lot of growth expected for diagnostic, predictive and prescriptive deployments.”
Many midsize companies, he added, “have yet to start their BI and analytic initiatives.” Growth in that segment, once it starts, will propel the overall business-intelligence market still higher. But the international economy, still somewhat sluggish after years of recession, could check that growth in the near term; growth over the next few years will however in the single digits—a notable contrast from 2011, when the business-intelligence segment made a 16 percent gain.
“BI and analytics have grown to become the fourth-largest application software segment as end users continue to prioritize BI and information-centric projects and spending to improve decision making and analysis,” Dan Sommer, principal research analyst at Gartner, wrote in another statement accompanying the estimates. “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.”
The Gartner predictions mirror those from research firm Forrester, which predicted back in January that the tech market would grow by 5.4 percent in 2013, before accelerating to 6.7 percent in 2014—driven in large part by analytics, collaboration, and cloud technologies.
But Gartner’s also issued reports suggesting that Big Data—that somewhat nebulous term for the massive datasets and analytics that underlie much of the business-intelligence market—is about to plunge into a “trough of disillusionment” that could dissuade many companies from pursuing analytics technology.
Gartner regularly updates what it terms the Hype Cycle, in which technologies progress from rising interest, to overexposure, to the aforementioned “trough of disillusionment,” and finally to eventual rehabilitation as productive and well-integrated technologies. Everything from cloud computing to media tablets goes through these stages; and now, according to the research firm’s Svetlana Sicular, Big Data is about to take the plunge into widespread disappointment and discontent.
But whether the market hits such a trough remains to be seen.