I strongly believe that vertical specific BI products is the future of business intelligence in the software development industry. As GrayMatter experienced in the ERP space, when ERP started to emerge in the market in early 90’s. The ERP software used to be a horizontal platform like SAP R3 and these platforms were deployed on specific industry vertical with 1-2 years of deployment cycle with a large team of functional consultants along with technology experts. Today most ERP systems are closely aligned to verticals and have captured all business nuances specific to industry. And not only are these ERP systems aligned to a vertical, but also to sub-sector within the industry. For example, ERP system for Retail in fashion & footwear is quite different from the ERP system for Retail in food & grocery.

I believe the way ERP software product evolved over 20 years from platform to industry specific solution; same would happen to business intelligence tools, products and the eventual BI & Analytics solution.

We have seen many BI platforms (MicroStrategy, Business Object, Cognos etc..) evolving significantly in the last 10 years or so. BI platforms have matured over a period of time offering extensive feature functionality with very little or no specific competitive advantages to the user. Today a typical BI implementation is quite the same ‘what ERP used to be 15 years back’. For any good successful BI implementation, it can take a large team of domain experts, BI tool experts and ETL tool experts with a timeframe of 18 to 24 months. The true measure of success for a BI implementation that takes 18-24 months does not really exist! Because unlike an ERP system a BI system is based on certain dynamic business rules and KPI’s which changes as often as within 2-3 months! Hence due fast changing business environment, need of reports, analytics and dashboard changes by the time a BI project goes live and in production.

The BI Products market is already undergoing consolidation with large vendors and this represents a clear opportunity to build vertical(industry) specific BI products. There are some organizations which have taken a lead and have already created or creating several vertical(industry) specific solutions. There are also some form of accelerators provided by BI tool vendors for industry specific implementation which we have experienced in this ‘value driven’ path-breaking journey.

I would like to use this blog to discuss people’s view on vertical/industry specific BI solution/product. This does seem like the future with BI apps, cloud based implementations etc. and if this is the future, then what should be capabilities of such solutions. How enterprises will benefit from such solutions comparing to tools based implementation approach. Do we see tool providers becoming vertical focused solution providers? Or enterprises using these BI tools and building their own customised vertical solutions. It definitely represents a great opportunity to many……….