HP hypes new BI services

In the face of declining capital budgets, HP Inc. has expanded its business intelligence services to help customers make better decisions and hopefully reduce their costs in the process.

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based tech giant will offer master data management, information governance and data quality services. The company said this will help enable customers to capture, manage and store information from across the enterprise; improve the quality of the collected data; and provide a framework to ensure the information is secure, accessible and can actually help the business.

With the announcement, HP appears to be banking on the continued growth of the BI market, despite the fact that many companies might feel tempted to abandon their BI-related spending due to other financial pressures.

But according to Boris Evelson, principal analyst at Forrester Research Inc., regardless of HP’s announcement, BI remains a very hot market and will continue to be strong throughout the economic crisis.

“BI is really the last frontier of competitive differentiation,” he said. “Everything else in the world is commoditized – two different companies make the same widget, in the same factory in China, but just put different labels on it. So it’s hard to compete on products and services.

“Making better and faster decisions is how companies compete today.”


One of the biggest reasons that the world is facing one of the biggest economic disasters since the Great Depression, Evelson said, is that companies and government organizations were not paying attention to the information they were collecting.

“This could be because BI continues to be a very difficult infrastructure to implement, especially in large enterprises,” he added. “You really need to integrate, sometimes as many as 20 or 30 different pieces, including sourcing data, integrating data, transforming data, modeling data, building data warehouses and creating an all-app model to manage these metrics.”

Because there is no such thing as a plug-and-play BI solution, Evelson said, HP’s new service offerings will come in handy for organizations looking to tackle this problem.

“You can’t just buy a package, plop it on top of your SAP or Oracle environment, turn it on and start running BI,” he added.

HP’s 2006 acquisition of Knightsbridge Solutions Holdings Corp., an IT services company, brought the company a slew of top BI consultants to help drive these new services, Evelson said.

From Gartner Inc.’s perspective, global BI manager Ian Bertram said that organizations that “throw products at the problem” and do not invest in training and acquiring business support will be destined to fail. The research firm warned organizations to stop splurging on technology for BI projects.

“Organizations tend to throw technology at BI problems. You could have the right tool, but it could be doomed to failure because of political and cultural issues, an absence of executive support so the message doesn’t get out, and poor communication and training,” Bertram said.

“It provides transparency through all levels of business right down to the forklift driver and can help business to react fast to competition and change.”

Bertram added that many organizations struggle to find benchmarks and metrics and do not know where to define objectives in their BI implementations.

– With files from IDG News Service, ComputerWorld Australia

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