I think I've done a poor job of stating my BI position, so let me clarify a bit. I don't believe that BI will widely catch on because of the complexity and change required by many people and organizations. It's hard to implement, it's hard to get companies to buy in and retool their culture to deal with it and it's hard technology to understand.
I do think that BI, OLAP, mining, etc. can work great and do some amazing things when it's done well. I've seen it done well in some places and it can work great in the financial industries, in retail, etc. It's very, very cool stuff and it can be incredibly useful.
But it's hard to do right and it's been very expensive. So it's hard to widely deploy. 20-30 years ago I would have said the same thing of ERP systems. They were big, expensive, complex systems and weren't widely implemented. Sure the large organizations could do it, but most small and even medium companies wouldn't undertake it. SAPs vision early on of getting into all sizes of companies took a long time to develop.
I think BI is similar. I've heard for over a decade that it would be the next big thing. Even before XML. It's still a nichy technology, existing in pockets, and not widely implemented. It's definitely growing, but I'm just not sure it's growing at the rate that the press and vendors hype it.
One of the updates from the conference is that for the organizations and people that buy in, they love it. They want to do more. I was very interested to hear a few CTO/CIOs, including one from Energizer, talk that with SQL Server and the MS BI platform, the cost wasn't an issue. They easily see an ROI and it's definitely worth the cost. There was a caveat that people were expensive for the BI skills, but the software and tools weren't.
Michael Treacy talked about BI being almost a religon in some companies. I'll try to better write some thoughts on this over the weekend, but it seems to be true here. The Believers believe. But they caution it's a hard road and they're glad they're past it. I'm not sure how many people are willing to commit to the long road. At least in the US we're too next-quarter-ROI focused in too many places.
That's a generalization and without a doubt lots of you understand the OLAP and mining technologies and without a doubt there are more companies trying new projects. But I'm not sure if the new push by Microsoft and the lower cost will result in a great many more projects. I suspect it might bring about more failed projects than successful ones.
Follow me on Twitter: @way0utwestForum Etiquette: How to post data/code on a forum to get the best help
My Blog: www.voiceofthedba.com