Boosting business intelligence

A growing number of enterprises are turning to business intelligence (BI) solutions in order to leverage the avalanche of information.

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By  Matthew Southwell Published  November 5, 2003

A growing number of enterprises are turning to business intelligence (BI) solutions in order to leverage the avalanche of information they are gathering through applications such as enterprise resource management (ERM), customer relationship management (CRM) and data warehousing.

In fact, according to IDC, 39.9% of North American companies have already installed BI solutions and a further 10.9% are planning to do so within the next twelve months.

Among large enterprises, nearly two thirds of the companies surveyed by the research firm have a solution in place or have plans to install one, while the vertical markets are even more keen to see the technology rolled out within their organisations.Although the Middle East’s BI market is less developed than North America’s, there are signs that it is beginning to pick up.

Evidence of this trend can be found from numerous sources, including the growing number of implementations.

For instance, Commercial Bank of Dubai (CBD) and others have embarked on projects recently and companies such as Unilever Gulf have been utilising the technology for some time.

Further proof of the local market’s potential is the increased interest vendors such as SAS and Business Objects are showing in the region.

Both companies believe the local market is picking up with the latter’s master distributor in the Middle East, Business Strategies Group, reporting over 50% growth in the past 12 months.

However, while the local market is showing promise and the likes of SAS and Business Strategies Group remain upbeat, the Middle East’s BI market is not quite there yet.

Two key factors are contributing to this lag between reality and potential — a lack of mature enterprise resource planning (ERP) implementations and the region’s reticence to deploy extended ERP applications.

The former is difficult to overcome and neither the vendors nor the channel itself can wave a magic wand and turn a two-year-old implementation into a six-year one.

However, both systems integrators and resellers can address the second point.

Instead of getting swept along by the current furore surrounding CRM, channel partners can expand their extended ERP offerings and deliver a more complete offering that takes into account larger local companies’ need for CRM, BI and other second generation back office applications.

While selling to those that are still pondering the need for an ERP suite will be neigh on impossible, those users switched on enough to realise their business needs to be supported by fully integrated applications that deliver real value to users will welcome a more complete offerings and certainly one that includes BI.

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