This economic climate makes informed decision-making and pertinent real-time information more important. As a result, Business Intelligence (BI) remains an area with opportunities for the channel.
BI can help identify profitable customers and ways to retain them, as well as streamline operating costs. BI 2.0 refers to the technical architecture that enables provision of real-time data.
BI 2.0 uses historical data to apply insights into events as they occur, harnessing predictive analysis.
Channel players should not over-emphasise the IT component of BI 2.0. Resellers should encourage customer organisations to treat information as an asset and information management as a boardroom priority.
Information management must be central to business strategy.
Many BI users only look at reports when they know something is wrong. Yet BI 2.0 can delivery of real-time, historical and external data on demand.
This makes it easy to analyse information daily or even hourly. Users get ongoing insight into all operational business processes, and irregularities are noticed before they become a problem.
Yet this level of engagement means that information must be highly valued throughout the organisation.
There are significant knowledge gaps. Gartner said in January that some 35 per cent of the top 5000 global companies will fail to make insightful changes in their businesses and markets over the next three years.
Gartner cited lack of information, processes and tools needed to make informed responsive decisions as the reason.
Gartner surveys have found that 60 per cent of organisations claim to have a BI strategy. Yet – in what the analyst firm terms the BIg discrepancy – BI rarely comes anywhere near meeting its potential.
These facts and opinions may be worrying but they also present a huge opportunity for channel partners with a head for introducing pervasive BI that starts in the boardroom and filters down throughout the organisation.
And, if overall IT spend shrinks further, channel partners who can demonstrate return on investment to their customers through the current economic turmoil will themselves emerge as winners from the recession.
Russell Facey is business development director at Morgan Benjamin
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