Is BI losing its clout to Cloud?

Ever since I came back to work after vacation, I have been getting this feeling that there is some decrease in appetite for BI amongst customers. It is not that BI is not in the picture – it very much is, but not at the very top of the list.  Instead, a lot more interest is now being shown on all things called “Cloud”.  Apparently, some analysts and analyst firms think so too.

On one hand, I am happy that cloud did not end up the way SOA did few years ago. It is actually funny – since in the overall scheme of things, SOA had a better definition than cloud. Even today, people are still trying hard to put good definitions on cloud computing. That is usually a sign that value realization is some time away. But apparently something has clicked, and it seems to  have picked the imagination of corporations. Hopefully vendors will capitalize on this, and we will see more tangible solutions happening.

But what happened to BI? Did a lot of people attain BI nirvana in 2010? Why did it fall from the top spot?

From past experience, I have always felt that BI is popular when economy is depressing, and the moment economy picks up – BI will stop being the big thing every one wants.  If that is the case – I am not complaining. It is high time this economy showed a decent upward trend. But somehow I cannot rationally accept this logic.  I guess I have to wait and see.

BI vendors are all gung ho about in-memory computing now.  I am wondering if in-memory solutions will need to be cloud based to get traction in the market today. There are known limitations, but if the smart engineers can overcome those – I think it will be a massive tide for BI if it uses in-memory in a cloud model.  How cool will it be to have SAP’s HANA on the cloud for example? Instead of hundreds of customers, thousands of customers can make use of it, and business processes will probably see big changes in a short time.

Now that is innovation – will we see it happen ?