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Happy New Year – A Look Back on 2015 and The Year Ahead

by Cindi Howson  |  January 5, 2016  |  7 Comments

by Cindi Howson

Happy New Year … and happy one-year anniversary to me! Yep, exactly one year ago today, I started my life at Gartner.  Here’s my look back on 2015 and a peak of what 2016 will bring.

The BI Bake Off:  Gartner conference planning starts more than a year before an event, so I thought it would be mission impossible for Gartner to add a BI bake off to their summit with less than three-months planning. Yet, they pulled it off, no small act for our conference chair, Kurt, the events team who had to set up shop a half day earlier, and the vendors who had to prepare demos based on a public data set. This year, I look forward to hosting Qlik, Tableau, Microsoft, and MicroStrategy for the on-stage bake off and hope other vendors will participate in the exhibit hall. We haven’t yet decided on a data set- if you have some ideas, I’m open to suggestions and do like the idea of helping illuminate something for the greater good. Education data, maybe?

New this year as well, we’ll be offering something like the Cool BI sessions I did at TDWI, except we can’t call it “cool” because the cool vendor designation is a Gartner branded report :). So the session will be Innovative Vendors in Action, hosted by Josh Parenteau. Kudos to this year’s conference chair, Rita, for making both these sessions happen.

Timely Insights: The BI and analytics market continues to innovate at a rapid pace, and I know you the customer need timely insights. At BI Scorecard, it was easy for me to set a quarterly cadence for summary updates and a steady pace of detailed reports. Well, more accurately, it was easy for me to do what I wanted, when I wanted. But I was getting crushed under the pace of the industry and increasingly new I couldn’t do a good job alone. The Gartner BI and Analytics team is amazing, and I think I can say I am past the honeymoon phase and still say this objectively. It’s a team effort to test, write, and review, and I’m happy that we’ve been able to get out timely product reviews on major new releases, including on IBM Watson Analytics, Microsoft Power BI, Qlik Sense 2.0, Domo, MicroStrategy 10, and a first glimpse of Amazon Quick Sights. And all that’s in addition to the annual Magic Quadrant and Critical Capabilities reports!  And while I might have been focused on timely product-oriented reports, the team has published 60+ notes on best practices on how to modernize the BI portfolio that is summarized in this note. I’ve joined a prolific bunch! (By the way, if you find these notes useful, please do rate them–it’s how we know which ones are more relevant for you).

2016 promises some other major releases including IBM Cognos Analytics, SAP Cloud for Analytics, and Amazon Quick Sights. So now I have to wonder: might we have some any other new market entrants?

New and Innovative Vendors: One of my frustrations as a solo analyst was too little bandwidth to keep up with interesting new vendors. Having a few more shoulders to carry the research burden, not to mention all the support of a larger company to set up calls and all that stuff, I have really enjoyed getting to know some new vendors this year. Some have gotten the Gartner Cool Vendor award, some will be new entrants in the MQ this year, and some are just on my radar of providing a unique value, covered in one of the many market guides or the hype cycle. To name a few that I  didn’t know in 2014 but that caught my attention in 2015: BeyondCore, Narrative Science, Zoomdata, Clearstory, and AtScale.

You – My Customer: I know it sounds like pie in the sky stuff, but the favorite part of my job has always been my customer interactions. Helping you navigate the world of BI and big data has been my motivation for years—the tools and technology are just the means to an end.  I am so glad that Gartner has helped me reach more customers. I love that we now have webex calls so I can see you and share my documents in real time. It’s the next best thing to sitting across from you in person! The in-person meetings at conferences, while grueling days, are a joy. I was lucky to travel to some new destinations last year, and this year, I’m confirmed for the Sydney, Texas, and Germany BI and Analytics Summits. No idea what other ones will pop up.  And if you can’t make it to any of the conferences, did you know that most are recorded on demand with free viewing of up to three sessions?

Some other random things I’ll continue to work on in 2016 – BI maturity with the ITScore assessment tool and workforce diversity (or lack there of) in IT!  Bottom line, in looking back at 2015, I’m glad I made the move to Gartner. If you’re looking to join a dynamic team, we are hiring. Check out jobs here.

On that note, I hope to hear from you throughout the year, whether in person, via Twitter, or this blog.

Happy New Year!



Sticky Toffee Pudding - A new year's tradition in our house. baked by moi

Sticky Toffee Pudding – A new year’s tradition in our house. baked by moi

Hard to get used to the new name badge!

Hard to get used to the new name badge!

Cheers - yep, that's water, I was the designated driver

Cheers – yep, that’s water, I was the designated driver!


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Category: business-analytics  business-intelligence  

Cindi Howson
Research VP
1 years at Gartner
25 years IT Industry

Cindi Howson is a Research Vice President at Gartner, where she focuses on business intelligence (BI) and analytics. Her work includes writing about market trends, vendors and best practices and advising organizations on these subjects. Read Full Bio

Thoughts on Happy New Year – A Look Back on 2015 and The Year Ahead

  1. Congrats on your first year at Gartner! Excited to continue to leverage your insights and research in the years to come. Great blog.

  2. Navi says:

    Cindi, what a nice post. It seems you are making a real impact and working with great people. you couldn’t ask for more !

  3. Happy New Year, Cindi! Congrats on your first year at Gartner. Looking forward to seeing you at an upcoming show. Kathleen

  4. Chris W says:

    I’m happy to hear you’re having fun, and still surfing this great tidal wave of innovation. I so appreciate all the wonderful and generous help you provided to my team and often think “what would Cindi say?” 🙂 Happy new year!

    • Cindi Howson says:

      So nice to hear from you, Chris, and hope you are loving the colder life! Yes, I too am glad that Gartner is allowing me the research time to dig into the details that you always challenged me on. Hope our paths will cross in person in 2016.

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