In an earlier blog post here , I spoke about BI 2.0 as the next generation of business intelligence solutions such as what can be accomplished with RIAs like Silverlight. As Bart Czernicki explains in his book very well, BI 2.0 makes business intelligence very easy to use, easy to access and interactive. Silverlight is perfect for this and allows the Microsoft platform stack to provide the entire solution.
So if we agree with that definition, then it seems natural that BI 3.0 would take that interactivity and access to the next level where BI is made ubiquitous. The next evolution would include the cloud and social networking to incorporate analytics and the deep insights that BI brings to business into mainstream activities to multiple devices, focusing on mobile devices.
Companies like Panorama are looking to exploit this new frontier in BI. But I still don’t see a complete solution that will take social networking to build social intelligence to quickly analyze huge amounts of data without requiring a PhD, all delivered over the cloud. There are bits and pieces of this today. Here in Microsoft land, I can put the database and application in the cloud with SQL Azure and Windows Azure, send reports in the cloud with Azure Reporting Services, analyze huge disparate data sets quickly with PowerPivot and deliver that all with compelling Silverlight applications that can run on a PC, laptop or mobile phone.
But that is really hybrid BI 2.0 / 3.0 or hybrid on-premises / cloud. PowerPivot cannot sit in the cloud and neither can SQL Server Analysis Services today. But I do believe that the market is ready for it. The ubiquity of mobile devices and social networks continue to move all areas of IT in this same direction.
UPDATE: I do agree that SharePoint does provide a further level up toward BI 3.0, particularly with the integrated BI Site types in SharePoint 2010. What is missing from that picture is still a fully Cloud-based BI deployment that would include PowerPivot, PPS & Excel Services.