The Adjacent Possible in Business Intelligence

Posted by Karthikeyan Sankaran
January 2nd, 2012

It is that time of the year when everyone has the license to write about their views on technology trends in 2012. In that context, I was inspired by this wonderful book titled ‘Where Good Ideas Come From’ written by Steven Johnson. There are many fascinating nuggets in this book but I was completely intrigued by a concept called ‘The Adjacent Possible’ and would like to take about BI Trends for 2012 from that perspective.

First, let me clarify the concept by quoting sentences from the book itself.

“Scientist Stuart Kauffman coined the phrase ‘The Adjacent Possible’ to indicate a kind of shadow future, hovering on the edges of the present state of things, a map of all the ways in which the present can reinvent itself. Yet it is not an infinite space, or a totally open playing field. What the adjacent possible tells us is that at any moment the world is capable of extraordinary change, but only certain changes can happen. The strange and beautiful truth is that its boundaries grow as you explore those boundaries. Each new combination ushers new combinations into the adjacent possible.”

Steven Johnson goes on to illustrate many examples and concludes that almost all innovations, from pre-historic life to YouTube, are based on ‘The Adjacent Possible’.

Applied to Business Intelligence & Analytics, here is my view of the key trends for 2012 (in other words, ‘the adjacent possible’ for BI, at this juncture). This mindmap gives a detailed list of key trends in BI for 2012. A gist of the trends is as follows:

a) Smorgasbord of Analytical workloads
b) Self-service BI
c) Social Media Analytics
d) Mobility in BI
e) Big Data
f) BI on the Cloud
g) Advanced Analytics
h) Data Visualization

The list may not hold surprises for BI practitioners but what needs to be made note of is the immense scope that each area has to offer for innovation. We, at Hexaware, are making significant progress in exploring the adjacent possible in each of these areas with the intent to add value to our customers and prospects. The complete canvas for BI & Analytics can be viewed here – The Different Dimensions of BI.

Thanks for reading. Wish you all a very happy new year 2012.

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