WOW! 2012 was an incredible year. I wanted to fondly look back upon the entire year of 2012 before diving into what is new, wild and exciting in 2013. This past year has been amazing personally and professionally surpassing anything that I could have dreamed up. For many data science and analytics lovers, 2012 was a HUGE year for us. Most BI vendors had significant and more frequent releases. There are rapid BI industry and player changes all around us with never seen before speeds to market! New and old BI vendors are literally releasing on-premise features every couple weeks and almost all BI vendors are continuously rolling out native mobile app updates. Traditional BI is evolving. Self-service BI has matured and is mainstream. Consumerization of IT has altered the application, operating system and device landscape with iOS and Android now dominating market share. Microsoft finally gets serious about the mobile device market with Windows 8 and the Surface tablet at the end of the 2012. Mobile BI has become a true “need to have” in the continually fragile, highly sensitive, global economy. Cloud, SaaS, niche and open source BI app vendors are popping up everywhere and coming to the table with compelling solution options that can’t be ignored. Big data, social, mobile and in-memory have been taking front and center stage in daily customer conversations all year long. Predictive analytics and data mining gained a lot of momentum with the big data explosion. That R book I bought years ago got dusted off and I am ecstatic to be applying knowledge from my old UCSD Data Mining cert program – if only I could finish that data prep white paper I started in 2011. There is growing “cloud noise” these days across all vendors, not just BI vendors, with Amazon, Salesforce, Google, Oracle, IBM, SAP and Microsoft Azure all battling for early market share. Current cloud BI vendors see some early adoption in the small business market segments but most enterprise customers are not quite ready to make the cloud BI leap of faith into the unknown world of cloud data management, latency, reliability, security, compliance, costs and controls.

In January 2012, I updated my blog and web site to be mobile device friendly using HTML5, CSS and media queries. Then I shared how to use those same techniques with the SharePoint 2010 December 2011 CU to enable iPad mobile device display of Microsoft BI content. In February 2012, the Gartner BI Magic Quadrant report was released with a few niche BI vendors shifting up and traditional BI vendors moving down in rankings due to speeds to market for high-demand mobile, social, in-memory and self-service innovations. Overall BI demand was EXTREME – it felt a lot like the late 90’s dot.com bubble to me but this time for BI related apps. SAP Hana, IBM Cognos 10 Suite release, QlikTech’s relentless telemarketing, Microstrategy’s mobile BI road shows and Tableau’s big data visualization excellence are everywhere. I won’t forget the 18-20 hour days trying to keep up with all the industry changes while also helping my customers effectively utilize and strategically plan future BI solutions. In March 2012, SQL Server 2012 was released. Then several spring SQL Saturday’s, numerous user group meetings, TechEd America 2012, TDWI, my SlideShare data visualization presentation goes “viral”, and then a call regarding an awesome BI global technical product management role. In July, I had a Donald Trump “Apprentice-like” experience with a last minute, major event, key note presentation build/demo. There is nothing like the adrenaline rush of a bleeding edge technology key note demo being telecast globally. Also in July, Wave 15 Office365 and Office 2013 were publicly previewed further changing the dynamics of Microsoft BI-land since PowerPivot and now SSRS has continued the merge of BI into Excel. Event planning-fest dominated August and September… In October, HDInsight was revealed at Strata and Azure IaaS was covered at BUILD. In November at PASS and SharePoint Conference, additional Excel-focused BI futures were unveiled with Data Explorer (self-service SSIS), GeoFlow (stand-alone Excel add-in) and native mobile app sneak peeks for iOS and Windows. Hekaton, in-memory OLTP for SQL Server, and update-capable columnstore indexes future were also shown…and last but not least, another bleeding edge key note demo of DAXMD with Excel 2013 just in case I didn’t get my fill of adrenaline from the summer events. In December, event planning-fest for 2013 continues while many other changes begin to take shape.

This past year was exceptional. I absolutely loved helping people take BI to the next level. I loved waking up and making a difference. I loved working with MVPs, partners and the talented engineers that build Analysis Services, Excel, PowerPivot, Power View, Reporting Services, PerformancePoint, and other Microsoft BI products. Without question, 2012 will be a year that I will always remember and cherish deeply. I am humbled by all the innovations I see happening all around me. The BI world is changing quickly…and with all these changes, I too must continue to learn, grow and evolve.