Business intelligence is not an oxymoron like jumbo shrimp. It’s not dead. And it’s not being superseded by artificial intelligence.
In fact, BI is alive and well; it’s becoming easier to use, it’s expanding out to more employees, it’s moving to the cloud, it’s becoming embedded in broader ERP and CRM software suites, and it now encompasses AI and machine learning.
According to 2020 market share numbers from IDC, the total worldwide business intelligence and analytics market hit $19.2 billion, growing a healthy 5.2% despite pandemic-related economic upheavals. Looking ahead, BI growth is expected to accelerate as companies focus on digital transformation and smarter ways to use data to drive the business forward.
The market leaders are a who’s who of the most powerful companies in the industry — Microsoft, SAP, Salesforce, IBM, SAS, and Oracle. On the other hand, those leaders only account for around 60% of the market, so there’s plenty of room for innovators such as ThoughtSpot and Alteryz to build up a following.
Still, BI has been around forever and one could argue it has been a bit of an underachiever. The knocks against BI have been that it’s too hard for the average worker to use, that it spits out fancy reports and offers up colorful dashboards that don’t help employees solve real-world business problems, and that it requires too much upfront work — creating data catalogs, building data warehouses, and so on.