The approach has helped Bernard Chaus take advantage of BI tools at a substantially lower cost than the price of doing it in-house, according to Stiffman.
A slew of big and small vendors have begun rolling out such hosted SaaS offerings, and more companies will start offloading at least some of their BI applications to such vendors, Kobielus said. In many cases, SaaS BI vendors are able to "provide BI at a lower cost so companies don't need to maintain the staff or manage the footprint," internally he said.
In another development in the BI market, expect enterprise interest in the open-source Hadoop framework to increase significantly next year, said David Menninger, an analyst at Ventana Research.
Vendors such as IBM, Pentaho, Cloudera and Karmasphere already offer enterprise-ready Hadoop implementations, and analysts expect more vendors and more products to join the list in 2011.
The reason for the interest is Hadoop's ability to let enterprises analyze much larger volumes of data than most traditional database systems and warehouses can comfortably manage. Much of Hadoop's growing popularity also stems from its usefulness in social media analytics and text-mining applications, Menninger said.
"Hadoop is the new black. It is gaining in popularity because it supports a wide variety of analytics and [data types] that we couldn't previously analyze either because the data was too big or the analysis was too complex," Menninger said.
"Not everybody understands it yet, but Hadoop is going to have a big impact on big data infrastructures [and social media analytics,]" he said.
Kobielus also expects that other vendors of open-source tools, such as Pentaho, Infobright, Jaspersoft, Talend and LucidDB, will start rising in visibility and will soon start to offer more complete BI stacks.
Pentaho, for instance, already has one of the stronger commercial Hadoop capabilities, and many of the others offer innovative technologies that are resonating with users, he said.
For instance, Bango, a Cambridge, England-based provider of mobile analytics and billing services for large content providers, started using Infobright's columnar database technology when its older SQL Server-based database began struggling to keep up with exploding data volumes.
What makes the technology appealing is its ability to support ad hoc complex queries on large data sets, without any need for any indexing, manual tuning or IT support said Tim Moss, chief data officer at Bango. "This is huge," he said.
Infobright stores metadata about data even as the data is entering the database. "This means you don't need to index the tables; it's kind of doing that automatically," he said. "With other databases, you put the data into tables and then, depending on queries, you need to add indexes to help speed up and support these queries."
Expect enterprises to pay more attention to products such as SAP's High-Performance Analytic Appliance, or HANA, that are designed to speed up data analytics, Kobielus said.
HANA uses an in-memory computing technology that allows data to be processed in a system's RAM as opposed to reading it off I/O disks. The in-memory approach enables much faster data processing and is designed to allow companies to run far more sophisticated data analytics applications than they could with conventional relational databases.