A recession would benefit business intelligence, say two industry experts I talked to last week.

Former TDWI education director Dave Wells sees new, leaner BI practices emerging. That will start with companies insisting that they do more BI with less money. “Decision makers will ask for speedier responses from BI teams while they keep team sizes the same. It’ll be uncomfortable, but it’s healthy.”

Doing more with less will make BI teams more focused and efficient. “The problem with BI today is that it has gone the way of all IT things: centralized, slow, expensive, and inefficient.” Only good can come from greater agility, faster delivery, and adoption of tools that remove the need for anyone between a business person and the data can only be good.

A data architect at a leading tech vendor who asked for anonymity foresees a new crop of data-friendly executives. Traditionally, “business people have pushed away the IT stuff,” he told me. “It’s not fun for them. Why muddy the water when IT doesn’t even support what we need? The IT guys get to play with toys and be smart and on top.” Organizations keep measuring old, irrelevant stuff, he said, and data quality problems get swept under the rug. All that leads to “BI that’s not believed.” The new people, he believes, will be more analysis savvy.

Those newly empowered, analysis-savvy executives probably have the same appetite for the big, expensive solutions, several experts predicted. Instead, decision makers will move to smaller tools. One person advocated “getting beyond Cognos and Business Objects” and move toward smaller tools like Polyvista and Tableau.