InfoWorlds year end review of what happened in IT in 2004 notes: “BI software, for its part, had a banner year, and it looks even better for 2005. New regulatory requirements such as Sarbanes-Oxley are fueling the growth of BI”.
Well give InfoWorld part marks for getting BIs growth right. SOX and HIPAA and other regulatory matters are providing part of the spark for BI. But the simple fact of the matter is that BI is leading IT development because that is where the ROI is to be found in development.
It also helps that BI vendors are delivering very innovative near Rich Client interfaces with their portal and web-based desktop solutions (see BEA, Oracle, Plumtree among others for the former; Cognos, Hyperion, MicroStrategy among others for the latter). It also helps that BI is not waiting for Web Services to get their act together but delivering real (and notably performant and reliable) solutions with primarily Java Server technology but using Web Service and XML to supplement command and control and crossplatform data movement respectively. It also helps that BI has not backed down from the very demanding realtime requirements of BAM-Business Activity Monitoring and BPM-Business Process Management. It also helps that BI has not wilted under the full frontal attack by Microsoft with its major BI free giveaways; but rather has rapidly adjusted by delivering where Redmond simply cannot – cross platform software using a variety of highly interoperable technologies (remember, Redmond is still actively engaged in building the great fortress for the rich, static and monopoly-holding Windows desktop – the Gates of Longhorn which Infoworld rightly dismisses for its few blandishments for a strictly limited Web Services primarily port of entry). It also helps that BI has been at the heart of EAI-Enterprise Application Integration – BI has been doing and confronting the problems of ETL-Extract Transform Load, Replication, Messaging, and long-duration transactions that Web Services and distributed processing are still trying to come to grips with.
In sum, look to BI not SOA, ESB and Web Services(they are complexifying at an alarming and disarming rate) to lead the way for the next 2-4 years in IT development.