The universe of business intelligence (BI) and analytics (a USD $85.6 billion market by some counts*) is in the midst of a sea change. Business software as a whole is in the midst of this change. In fact, it’s not just business software — it’s technology in general. And books. And music. This change, as I heard Aberdeen analysts David White and Michael Lock put it recently, is “the IT-ization of the consumer.” QliktechInfographic_#3E6C87.jpg

By the IT-ization of the consumer I am referring to the growing comfort and command that everyday Joes — people like me — have with technology. We have become adept — in fact, experts — at using technology to obtain information and answers, communicate with others, and acquire tools. We use technology to make stuff — to publish books, make art, build websites, produce videos, and create analytic apps to help us make business decisions.

Look at all the change that has occurred in BI during the past sixty years. BI began with basic decision support in the 60s, along with the help of computer-aided models that enabled decision-making planning. Over time, technology and BI simultaneously evolved, shifting power from the technology to the business user.

BI and analytics have undergone enormous change to get where we are today, which is Business Discovery —a user-driven approach to BI. Business Discovery enables business users to get fast, accurate data that’s easy to access and interpret so they can make better decisions.

And the change has only just begun. I foresee the IT-ization of the consumer transforming BI even further, to the point that BI and collaboration are indistinguishable. We will routinely make data-fed decisions not just in the workplace but at home. I say “data-fed” rather than data-driven because our decisions will continue to rely not just on quantitative data but qualitative inputs as well. And the user experience to guide our decision making at home and at work will draw us in and immerse us, engaging more of our senses (particularly sight, sound, and touch). The more interesting question is, “How far will we go?”

* According to IDC, in 2010 the total market for business analytics technology and services grew 12.4% to reach $85.6 billion. IDC expects to see that there was further 8% growth in 2011 and forecasts the market to grow at a 7.5% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) through 2015. Source: IDC, Worldwide Business Analytics Technology and Services 2011-2015 Forecast,” December 2011.