Accenture’s 2011 Technology Vision report provides eight trends that Accenture expects to present discontinuous change that IT decision makers must prepare for.

Accenture Technology Labs scoured a range of input data including venture capital funding, IT analyst reports, Accenture’s IT Executive Forum and research and development activities in order to produce the Accenture 2011 Technology Vision report. This comprehensive methodology could excuse Accenture for missing the typical December window reserved for trends and predictions reports.

Accenture’s eight key trends identified are:

  1. Data Takes its Rightful Place as a Platform
  2. Analytics Is Driving a Discontinuous Evolution from BI
  3. Cloud Computing Will Create More Value Higher up the Stack
  4. Architecture Will Shift from Server-centric to Service-centric
  5. IT Security Will Respond Rapidly, Progressively–and in Proportion
  6. Data Privacy Will Adopt a Risk-based Approach
  7. Social Platforms Will Emerge as a New Source of Business Intelligence
  8. User Experience is What Matters

Not surprisingly, open source is no longer a trend in and of itself. Rather, as the report authors confirmed, open source is viewed as a potential enabler for any of these trends. However, one trend stands out as being more tightly linked to open source product usage.

Pervasive analytics requies multiple solutions
In explaining the second trend, “Analytics Is Driving a Discontinuous Evolution from BI”, Accenture writes:

…despite a steady drumbeat calling for the integration of data across an organization, there will be no such thing as an integrated analytics platform, technology, or deployment model. The emergence of technologies such as cloud computing is changing how data is generated, collected, and stored across an organization. In practice, this will require a distributed approach to analytics.

While Accenture’s title for this trend positions business intelligence (BI) versus analytics, the line between the two can be blurry, if at all visible. I won’t wade into that debate, which Forrester’s Boris Evelson has nicely summarized here.

Accenture suggests that the notion of a single analytics platform, analyzing a single integrated data set across a company is a fairy tale; one that your company shouldn’t invest precious IT budgets chasing. Rather, according to Accenture, plan to use and support a set of different analytics products within your enterprise.

I’ve previously discussed the “R” statistical programming language for analytics that SAS, IBM/SPSS and open source vendor Revolution Analytics support.

Open source BI vendors such as Pentaho and JasperSoft are also reacting to the blurring line between BI and analytics. Both vendors offer users a path to extend their traditional open source BI products with “R” analytics.

This broad choice of analytics solutions enables IT decision makers to open the aperture when making product selection decisions. Align the user skills and business criticality of the analytics project with the range of open source to commercial products available. Just as companies use both MySQL and Oracle, DB2 or SQL Server, or Linux and Windows, open source and commercial analytics products will fill different needs in your company. Prepare for that reality today.

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