Report: RFID Is a Lost BI Opportunity

The Forrester report says that the huge amount of information being generated by new RFID systems is going unanalyzed, thanks to an unusually conservative approach by analytics firms.

RFID is designed to make supply chains more efficient and sophisticated, but the torrent of new product data created by radio-frequency identification systems is overwhelming without the right business intelligence software to analyze it.

However, no business intelligence software companies are offering to do that, according to a new report from Forrester Research.

Its conceivable that RFID is a market too young for business analytics to take hold, but Forresters Keith Gile doesnt buy that excuse.

Gile, one of the reports authors, said he is mystified that business intelligence vendors are leaving the money on the table.

Giles own customer survey shows almost half (46 percent) of end-user companies that are addressing RFID specifically said they have put money aside for analytics and business intelligence—money Gile says is unspent because no company has come forward to collect it.

BI executives say the market is too ill-defined for them to invest development resources, largely because they dont know what relationships among the RFID data they should be analyzing, Gile said. "It truly is a lost opportunity for the BI vendors. Theyre not even trying."

The report concluded that "no BI or enterprise applications vendor has a legitimate roadmap for the analysis and reporting of RFID data."

The report doesnt see this problem being permanent, but it does expect this product hole to exist through the end of 2006.

"Until BI solutions emerge in 2007, product-driven enterprises should capture RFID data and model it for analysis themselves," the report said.

The report looked at specific vendors and found no concrete RFID BI plans among them.

/zimages/1/28571.gifClick here to read more about SAPs alliance with Intermec in an effort to help smaller companies implement RFID programs.

"SAP is focused on operations, not BI. SAP clearly has the most mature RFID approach based on its strength in the supply chain and RFID middleware product strategy. However, this does not include BI," the report said.

"Forrester expects there will be analytic applications built on SAP BW InfoCubes and ODS, but that is still to be defined by SAP."

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