By Holger Kisker
Holger Kisker, Ph.D., is a principal analyst at Forrester Research serving CIOs. Follow him on Twitter at @hkisker.
Over the past few years, BI business intelligence (BI) was the overlooked stepchild of cloud solutions and market adoption. Sure, some BI software-
as-a-service (SaaS) vendors have been pretty successful in this space, but it was success in a niche compared with the four main SaaS applications: customer relationship management (CRM), collaboration, human capital management (HCM), and eProcurement. While those four applications each reached cloud adoption of 25% and more in North America and Western Europe, BI was leading the field of second-tier SaaS solutions used by 17% of all companies in our Forrester Software Survey, Q4 2011. Considering that the main challenges of cloud computing are data security and integration efforts (yes, the story of simply swiping your credit card to get a full operational cloud solution in place is a fairy tale), 17% cloud adoption is actually not bad at all; BI is all about data integration, data analysis, and security. With BI there is of course the flexibility to choose which data a company considers to run in a cloud dyployment and what data sources to integrate — a choice that is very limited when implementing, e.g., a CRM or eProcurement cloud
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