BI Tools, Business Intelligence, Competitive analysis

Based on latest report from Gatner, a leading business research organization, the trends over next 3 years point to significant increase of interest in obtaining decision-making information on lower business unit level. Specifically they predict the following:

By 2012, business units will control at least 40 per cent of the total budget for BI
Through 2012, more than 35 per cent of the top 5,000 global companies will regularly fail to make insightful decisions about significant changes in their business and markets
By 2010, 20 per cent of organisations will have an industry-specific analytic application delivered via software as a service (SaaS) as a standard component of their BI portfolio
In 2009, collaborative decision making will emerge as a new product category that combines social software with BI Platform capabilities
By 2012, one-third of analytic applications applied to business processes will be delivered through coarse-grained application mashups

In business terms, this means increase in the development of the user-centric applications for medium-level business management to engage more in decision making process. Ability to do so will heavily depend on availability of the tools that can display critical business process information analytics and enable management actions. Development of such tools will become more and more fragmented and will not reply on single or selected range of data providers, rather will be more oriented to specific business analysis needs unique to each organization. While all struggle with same types of performance analytics, a unique approach to marketing and interrelationships between all business units will dictate level of customization and requirements on the BI market.

What methodology will be one offering the biggest potential and widest flexibility? In our view, business tactics are inherently competitive and this makes good case for development of the new market opportunities in the BI and CPM (Corporate Performance Management) areas. Today’s leading BI vendors such as BusinessObjects, MicroStrategy, Saas, Cognos and others are offering platforms for business management and analytics which cover significant part of corporate market with customized solutions targeted toward top tier of corporate clients. What is interesting, that over the next few years we believe that mid size and small size companies will begin to realize the full potential of the competitive intelligence analytics and will stimulate growth in the custom solutions for CPM and BI analysis which will not be covered by top corporate solution and service providers. Lower costs and higher degree of customization will spur growth in the third party business intel product development on the lower scale and will require organizations dedicate part of their marketing or business development budget to hiring appropriate resources and consulting firms such as ours to facilitate informational analysis.

Informational dashboard design, executive dashboards, internal business spreadsheet-based dashboards, online dashboard solutions will all become more and more critical in business management cycle. Appropriate approach to Information architecture will be ever more critical to enable consistent and clear way to communicate the BI and CPM information analysis to the business management.

Hiring a right consulting firm with expertise in information architecture, structuring business intelligence information and selection most appropriate visualization methods will thus become even more critical to avoid wasteful spending on useless business demographics and designing informational interfaces with integrity.

How can your organization avoid typical pitfalls in the process of organizing and implementing appropriate business intelligence analytics solution? How to select information designer? How to select UI design firms?

To do so, one of the most important decisions is relying on the talent that has track record of development and implementing multi-tiered levels of products for various business levels. Ability to accommodate requirements of various business levels will be required from the start and consultants with rigid approach to information design will not satisfy needs of businesses in fast-changing environment. Go for consulting forms with hands-on approach only, as those are able to switch gears and redirect internal resources faster than firms heavily dependent on their own process. Select service providers that have portfolio across different industries, while are flexible and small enough to maintain longer business relationships then larger firms who are more dedicated to one-time engagements. Today’s reality dictates that fewer and fewer companies can accommodate high costs of consulting services. Large consulting organizations are almost certainly going to guarantee highest billing with same result as smaller firms. The key is the individual expertise, and that does not depend on the size of the organization.

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