Demand for Business Intelligence Software Rising, Report Says

Cost-conscious businesses are increasingly turning to business intelligence software, says a report from AMI Partners.

A report from research firm Access Markets International Partners suggests business intelligence software usage is gaining traction as a stand-alone product among U.S. businesses seeking a competitive edge. BI is an analytic tool that arms decision makers with real-time financial and operating models to track business performance and return on investment. AMI concluded that current market conditions are driving 600,000 small and medium businesses (9 percent of PC owners) to deploy BI software this year.

The research firm classifies BI software as a growth category due to the piggyback feature employed by continual adoption and investment in ERP/CRM systems. As adoption of ERP/CRM informational systems grow, AMI predicts the need to derive business insights will become crucial to day-to-day business operations. But the study found BI as a module tool is beginning to give way to a stand-alone BI collaborative system. The latter offers integration of current databases while generating intelligent reports aimed toward revenue generation and research and development of new business.

According to AMI's SMBQuarterly Pulse Tracker, nearly half of all U.S. small to medium-size businesses will be or plan to be using BI software in the next three to six months.

"BI products focus on mature companies that already have an enterprise/customer management system in place, which makes it easier to add BI as an overlay on your relational management system," said Nichelle McKenzie, a research analyst at AMI-Partners. McKenzie said companies that utilize BI software benefit from data integration across their businesses and self-service reporting and analysis. Thus, IT pros spend less time responding to requests and business users spend less time looking for information.

Earlier this year, technology research firm Gartner predicted that, by 2012, business units will control at least 40 percent of the total budget for BI and, by 2010, 20 percent of organizations will have an industry-specific analytic application delivered via SAAS (software as a service) as a standard component of their BI portfolio.

Gartner analysts projected business units will increase spending on packaged analytic applications, including corporate performance management (CPM), online marketing analytics and predictive analytics that optimize processes, not just report on them. The report also noted that social networking analysis shows the value of BI by tying the dimensions and measures to decisions made in the company.