Business Intelligence (BI) surpassed Security to be the top technology priority for CIOs, with licensing revenue for BI software market forecast to reach US$2.5 billion this year, a 6.2 per cent increase from 2005, Gartner Inc. said. Moving forward, BI will become part of business innovation itself. Sharing information with customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders increases loyalty and in many industries provides competitive differentiation. BI will become pervasive in operational and workplace applications as organizations seek to optimize their business.Frank Buytendijk>Text

The market is poised to rise from US$2.5 billion this year to $3 billion by 2009, with the fastest growth in Latin America and Asia, the research firm said.

Gartner said a survey of 1,400 chief information officers showed that BI ranked as their highest technology priority. The respondents said they planned to increase their BI budgets, on average, by 4.8 per cent this year.

“Companies around the world have purchased more than US$40 billion worth of enterprise applications, including ERP, CRM and HR, during the past few years,” said Colleen Graham, principal research analyst at Gartner. And these companies would be looking to BI to sort through and purposefully use the “torrent of data” accumulated, she said.

But many enterprises had not incorporated BI into their planning, which was key to management, performance and decision-making, Gartner said. Lack of BI skills, perceived high total cost and difficulty in quantifying the benefits would continue to hamper BI adoption, the research firm said.

“BI is now part of an organization’s license to operate, as every enterprise needs to manage information,” said Frank Buytendijk, research vice-president at Gartner. “However, BI has not yet achieved the necessary level of strategic importance and is not included as an essential part of corporate planning activities.

“Moving forward, BI will become part of business innovation itself. Sharing information with customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders increases loyalty and in many industries provides competitive differentiation. BI will become pervasive in operational and workplace applications as organizations seek to optimize their business,” Buytendijk said.

To use BI to drive business transformation, Gartner advised organizations to:

* Develop user skills and a culture in the use and analysis of information to be an integral part of achieving business objectives and driving transformation;

* Change the way BI is integrated into business processes; and

* Change the way the information architecture and application portfolio are implemented and managed.

“There are certainly no quick fixes where BI is concerned. There are multiple decisions and choices that need to be made on the road to making BI effective and pervasive in any organization. These decisions cannot be made in isolation and must be considered within the wider context of the business. One of the key decisions is to move beyond a BI vision that focuses almost exclusively on information dissemination and start integrating BI into an organization’s strategic planning activities,” Mr Buytendijk. said.

Through 2009, the market for BI software in North America, Western Europe and Japan will grow between 6.4 per cent and 6.9 per cent annually, below the world average of 7.3 per cent, as organizations rationalize purchases, Gartner said. Latin America and Asia, labeled as smaller, emerging markets, will grow between 11.3 per cent and 13.6 per cent, Gartner said.



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