After three long years during which we have all had to endure tough times either directly or indirectly, 2004 promises better things. The results of our annual readership survey give many promising signs, the biggest of which is in the area of business intelligence budgets. In the next 12 months, the average reader budget for business intelligence will increase from $5.86 million to more than $11.23 million. Only in 2000 was the forecasted spend in this area greater ? and this was at the height of the dot-com boom. Business intelligence will be one of the bright spots in 2004, which is very reflective of the need to make sense of the endless amount of data inundating us on a daily basis.
In addition to predicting a banner year for business intelligence, there are several other predictions that I believe will come to pass in 2004. The companies that begin to focus on growth and revenue generation will be the big winners. Too many companies are trying to squeeze too much from their existing employees who are at the physical limits of what they can do. Instead of hiring additional people at very reasonable wage levels, these companies are focusing on eliminating support positions that allow their key people to focus on revenue-generating tasks. We definitely need to reverse this trend. Another trend that will continue is the outsourcing of back-office functions to lower wage countries. This is only a natural evolution within a global marketplace and is a direct result of the Internet, which has removed the barrier of geographical boundaries in servicing our customers. And speaking of the Internet, I also predict that soon all countries will tax Internet transactions. This will happen as governments look for new revenue sources to pay off massive budget deficits. Finally, I predict the relaxation of some of the regulatory and compliance mandates, which place an excessive burden on everyone. These mandates impede business and raise costs at a time when the world can least afford it.
While I can't make any predictions as to the resolution of conflicts around the globe, I would like to take this opportunity to offer my condolences to those of you who have lost loved ones or have loved ones involved in these conflicts. My sincere hope is that we can achieve a time of peace where differences can be resolved in a civilized way.
As always, thanks for reading DM Review!