The business of analytics: The state of BI in the Middle East
How can enterprises put newly launched BI and analytics solutions to good use, and does the Middle East have the analytical skill required to make sense of them?
The concept of business intelligence (BI) and analytics isn’t new, but more powerful solutions are now hitting the market that are helping businesses to create new revenue streams (and, in some cases, completely change their business models), meaning that the trend is making headlines once again. The question is, how can enterprises put these solutions to good use, and does the Middle East have the analytical skills required to make sense of all that data?
According to Gartner, BI and analytics software revenue in the MENA region totalled $245 million in 2014, a 12% increase from 2013’s revenue of $219 million. The research house said that the market consists of BI platforms, corporate performance management (CPM) suites, analytic applications and advanced analytics. And on a segment level, BI platforms showed a slow but steady shift in emphasis from reporting-centric to analysis-centric tools. Advanced analytics experienced strong growth, showing the increased focus organisations gave to predictive and prescriptive analytics.
Gartner’s numbers back up what plenty in the industry are saying about BI and analytics in the region – there’s heightened awareness, and enterprises are looking to use the technology to further their businesses.
“The Middle East is going through a period of heightened awareness as it pertains to BI and analytics. Enterprise-level organisations and SMEs have identified BI and analytics as a strategic program in which they need to invest in to help identify opportunities and to help mitigate risk. BI and analytics are no longer seen as ‘nice to have’, but ‘must haves’ in order to succeed in a highly competitive environment,” explains Amir Sohrabi, director of business analytics at SAP MENA.
“Business analytics have many use cases inside an organisation. When leveraged correctly, business analytics allows organisations to automate manual reporting procedures to help drive efficiencies across the organisation. This, coupled with the power of analytics, allow organisations to predict different scenarios and to forecast the ideal one for the organisation.”
Indeed, according to Joao Tapadinhas, research director at Gartner, organisations in the Middle East are well aware of the benefits that BI and analytics can bring, and they’re investing heavily in the technologies in order to streamline their operations.
“I’m seeing large organisations in the Middle East heavily investing in BI and analytics. In some cases, creating a backbone for a robust BI infrastructure, where the main objective is to provide KPIs, monitor the business, support sales and operations,” he says.