SearchCIO-midmarket.com has a list of five hot IT trends for 2008, and surprise, surprise, business intelligence is on the list. Business intelligence (BI) is so hot, I’m actually speaking twice on the topic in the coming weeks and months.

BI is the Web 2.0 of 2008. It’s all the buzz. My clients have been asking me why BI is suddenly so hot. And some of them are even asking what BI is.

Here are three reasons I think BI is getting so much attention:

  1. The technology tools for mining data are becoming more affordable for the small and medium-sized business market. So the vendors are pushing this hard as a new product for a new market.
  2. It’s “sexy.” At least, what the vendors show is sexy, because you get to see all of these dials, gauges, dashboards, and charts that display all kinds of information, in real-time. For geeks like me, that’s pretty cool stuff.
  3. It’s the logical next step. That is, one reason you should pay so much attention to your data management is that there is value in the data you are collecting, beyond just the transactional aspect of it (i.e., just tracking purchases so you can send products). Data mining and business intelligence will help you find what that value is.

Having said all that, in a recent unscientific survey of nearly 100 association executives, fully 2/3 of them either have no plans for a business intelligence initiative in 2008, or have no idea what BI is in the first place. So yeah, it’s all buzz right now.

I’ll be writing a lot more about business intelligence in the coming year, so stay tuned. And if you come across some exciting BI issues, or your organization is embarking on a BI initiative, I’d love to hear from you.