Business intelligence takes centre stage as screws tighten on IT budgets
The business intelligence market is set to continue its strong growth even in a depressed IT market as end-users look for ways of enhancing their competitive position without making large capital outlays in technology.
That`s the word from the keynote speaker at Business Objects` South African User Conference held at the Castle in Kyalami. Gary Lawrence, country manager at Business Objects SA, agrees that users are starting to view business intelligence as a strategic imperative because of its ubiquity and visibility in the enterprise - "just about everyone can use it and it is right in their faces".
Delegates at the Business Objects User Conference were told that business intelligence would win its battle for independence from the enterprise applications backbone over the next two to three years because it allows companies to extract information from their existing heterogeneous systems without needing to reorient their businesses or write off older technology investments.
"Business intelligence is much cheaper to deploy than enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM), allowing companies to integrate information from multiple operational systems without having to standardise on one," he adds.
Says Lawrence: "Most companies today are starved for strategic and operational information, and feel that they lack control over their businesses. They are becoming increasingly sceptical about the solutions that enterprise applications vendors offer: tearing out existing working back-office systems, reengineering all of their business processes, and investing millions of dollars in protracted implementation projects.
"In contrast, business intelligence allows them to layer new reports and analytics applications on top of existing systems in a timeframe that ranges between a few weeks and a few months."
Lawrence says Business Objects` has a three-pronged strategy for the next few years:
* Moving the market towards the standardisation of business intelligence tools;
* Tapping into the market for collaborative business intelligence solutions that can be deployed across the extranet and intranet; and
* Buying and building analytical applications that cater for needs such as Web self-service, information brokering and supply chain management.
"Our next conference in Q3 2003 will help corporates look at these issues," says Lawrence. "Business Objects has emerged from a tough year ahead of most of its rivals in the business intelligence arena. The company has met or beaten analysts` forecasts in its last 19 quarters."
In the first quarter of 2002, Business Objects grew licence revenues by 4%, compared to the declines in revenue of between 4% and 82% that its competitors reported.
"With a healthy cash position, strong products and a loyal customer base worldwide, Business Objects is strongly positioned to lead the business intelligence market as it continues to consolidate over the next two years.
"During the past year Business Objects saw record revenues, the launch of new products and adopted new strategies to maintain and extend its position in the local and international business intelligence market."