If the pace of economic recovery is still dragging in the IT sector, it seems that at least in the case of business analytics, things are looking up, according to new research from International Data Corporation (IDC).

Apart from the fact that business analytics has become one of the software industry’s catch-phrases, along with business intelligence or customer experience, it has also benefited from the emergence of a new software space that, though relatively small at the moment, is going to be very big in every sense of the word in the coming years.

Big Data and Analytics

Of course we are talking Big Data here and the impact it is having on the analytics industry. Entitled "Worldwide Business Analytics Software 2012–2016 Forecast and 2011 Vendor Shares," the research examines the market from 2007 and predicts trends up to 2016.

Starting with revenue trends from 2007 and combining them with market growth forecasts, the report provides a five-year model for the market and maps how vendors will perform in the space over the study period.

The results for any vendor involved in the market are mouth-watering. We can’t go into the results for specific vendors here as the full report hasn’t been made public -- although companies can buy it for US$ 7500 – but some of the general statistics have been released.

Business Analytics to 2016

The business analytics market grew by 14.1 percent worldwide last year as the sector extended its recovery following the 2009 economic meltdown.

But that’s not all. According to the report, it will grow at a rate of 9.8 percent annually, until reaching an annual revenue of US$ 50.7 billion in 2016, a trend that will be fueled by the attention the media is giving to Big Data -- yes, we really love it!! -- resulting in even the most isolated CEO and other senior executives placing it on their “must have lists.”

You can see where this is coming from given the current data explosion that looks to still be only in its early stages and which has massive commercial potential for the company that can unlock it.

On top of this, new business analytics software options based on non-relational data management technology are forcing all vendors to accelerate R&D efforts.

The secondary effect of this is that the larger vendors are going to be forced into buying sprees to get tools and applications that they are currently missing, as well as the pieces needed to integrate new technologies.

Driven by the attention-grabbing headlines for Big Data and more than three decades of evolutionary and revolutionary developments in technology and best practices, the business analytics software market has crossed the chasm into the mainstream mass market…The demand for business analytics solutions is exposing the previously minor issue of the shortage of highly skilled IT and analytics staff,” says Dan Vesset, program vice president for IDC's Business Analytics Solutions.

Emerging Trends

As if we would ever go for “attention grabbing headlines”! There’s some other interesting figures here. Last year, the biggest growth area in the analytics space was data warehousing platform software which grew by 15.2 percent last year.

Analytic applications segment also grew sharply by 13.3 percent, as did the BI and analytic tools segment, which grew at 13.2 percent.

Three other key findings worth noting:

  • More companies with less business analytics experience and growing interest in the technology means that vendors will have to devote more to business analytics services.
  • There will be an increasing focus on industry and process-specific analytic applications. This trend will continue over the next five years and will result in a bunch of acquisitions as vendors look to provide tools for target audiences by industry, region and organization size.
  • The growth in appliances, SaaS and outsourcing deals for business analytics technology will likely mean that end users will pay increasingly less attention to specific technology components.

If that isn’t enough for you, the report is available from IDC at the moment, but it’s an expensive one. Check it out here.