I just returned from my European trip and wanted to summarize some of the key customer feedback that I received from a breakout session on BI and Analytics.I need to preserve the identity of the customers so I’ll leave out names, and I’m sure that the messages are ones you have heard before, but perhaps with some amplification.Most of the attendees agreed that BI was an area of investment for their businesses, agreeing with analyst trends like:Gartner Forecasts Global Business Intelligence Market to Grow 9.7 Percent in 2011Dashboard Insight’s Top Business Intelligence Predictions for 2011There is a lot of interest for in-memory databases, primarily for either real time BI with response time in seconds to drive production, or for critical decision workloads where time = money. There’s also interest in utilizing in-memory for predictive analysis because the speed up would let you consider more scenarios. All of those interested were experimenting now! They want it ASAP, even if they have to roll up their sleeves and work with the vendors.There was a lot of discussion about cloud as a BI resource. Obviously if you are analyzing data that comes from the web (social media, online sales etc.,) is has some appeal, assuming that you can deal with the data security issues. If your data doesn’t originate in the cloud, there is concern about the cost of moving it back and forth. We actually had one customer say that they had shipped hard drives as that was a lot cheaper than shipping the data! (Maybe there is a long term market for HDDs as interchangeable media?!?)Also, there was a lot of excitement about cloud resources, as a way to quickly set up business in emerging countries without conventional infrastructure. These are places were cloud works for traditional BI and DB until the datasets are too large, and it lets you ramp up a new business or expand into a new geography.Lastly, there is some concern about consolidation in the BI sector because the customers are enjoying the pace of innovation and some are working with smaller companies. Because no one stack is perfect, they like to pick and choose.It was a great session and always good to hear directly from end users!