BI Stumbling Blocks Outlined at IDC Forum

Reporter's Notebook: There was a ton of successful case studies on the next generation of BI paraded at IDC's BI Forum, but the interesting bit is what participants had to say about what's keeping businesses from adopting advanced data analytics.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—Theres this map of downtown San Diego, see, and its got big green dots designating businesses, and you can draw new fiber-optic lines in purple on the map, and presto!

You can see how many of those businesses those new fiber lines might be near; you can drill down into Dun & Bradstreet data to get the dirt on how much money those businesses have (and how likely they are to spend it on Cox Communications); and you can even get an estimate on what the fiber will cost.

So cool.

If you can use MapQuest, pointed out Coxs Mark Snow, director of field marketing, you can use it.

"It" being Coxs CMD (Cox Marketing Datamart), a data mart that sits downstream from Oracle Corp.s Data Warehousing and that integrates BI tools from MicroStrategy Inc., with MapInfo Corp.s location information technology mixed in.

It was only one of many demonstrations of next-generation analytics/BI technology now on the market and on display at IDCs Business Intelligence and Business Process Forum East: Impacting Business Performance by Applying BI to Repeatable Operational Decisions, here on Tuesday.

Yech, what a long and bo-o-o-o-ring title. But honestly, this stuff is finally getting useful to people on the front lines—useful in the midst of the work people do, as opposed to useful in some painful-to-read BI "report," as has been the traditional product of BI in the past.

Any of Coxs field reps can use the CMD, for example.

Or, in another demonstration, this time of Business Objects SA-enabled dashboard technology, Emergency Medical Associates Director of Data Management Jonathan Rothman showed how the managing doctors in his company—all of whom have attention-deficit-hyperactivity, as befits emergency room doctors, Rothman said—can just look at a dashboard to find out whats flashing red.

Too many patients walking out of emergency rooms because they have to wait too long?

Danger, Will Robinson, youre in the red zone, and profits are walking out the door.

For its part, Avid Technology Inc. is using SAP AGs NetWeaver to construct cube views from three areas: CRM (customer relationship management), marketing and campaigns, and finance and customer service. That information is pulled into dashboards to give a 365-degree view of the customer, available to Avids 150 worldwide BI users, said Chad Wright, manager of BI and CRM for the digital editing software company.

Wright pointed to an ROI study the company commissioned from Peppers & Rodgers that put the three-year rate of return at 68 percent.

Not bad, thanks to faster lead assignment and distribution, better segmentation of target audiences, and better analysis of marketing campaigns, using the hierarchical structure of SAPs CRM Market Planner.

Next Page: If this BI stuff is so good, why arent more people using it?