Umbrella Company Employees contracting as independent IT professionals might do well to put their efforts into securing contracts in business intelligence (BI) and analytics in 2014, as a new forecast from tech research and advisory giant Gartner suggests that these two areas will continue to be top priorities for chief information officers at least until 2017.

Growth is likely to be impeded until 2016 as a result of existing confusion in the field of big data, however. Gartner analyst and vice-president Roy Schulte explains: “Major changes are imminent to the world of BI and analytics including the dominance of data discovery techniques, wider use of real-time streaming event data and the eventual acceleration in BI and analytics spending when big data finally matures.”

The cost of big data solutions will drop over the next few years, Mr Schulte added, permitting more organisations to harness the potential of BI and analytics in a much wider range of applications, facilitating “fact-based decision-making” in the process.

The forecast also predicts that there will be a shift in focus in the IT skills market in favour of professionals with expertise in data modelling and governance. In the field of data discovery, this will effectively mean that BI and analytics will largely supplant traditional IT.

Bespoke solutions will be needed for different businesses. Mr Schulte added: “BI leaders should scrutinise the road maps of both data discovery and IT-centric vendors to determine their suitability to meet growing business user and enterprise requirements. It’s important to acknowledge that one size rarely fits all.”

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