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Business Intelligence on the Rise among U.S. SMBs

by Maroushka Kanywani, Editor, Dashboard InsightWednesday, June 4, 2008

NEW YORK - (Business Wire) More SMBs (small and medium businesses, or companies with up to 999 employees) in the United States are seriously considering using BI (business intelligence) software tools to help them better understand market drivers for sales and forecasting, and for increasing their profit margins. There are about 6.3 million SMBs in the US, with about 98% of them being SBs (small businesses, or companies with up to 99 staff).

These findings emerge from a recent survey on US SB & MB IT assessment trends by New York-based Access Markets International (AMI) Partners, Inc. Companies go through a large volume of consumer data and BI helps make sense to data-mine that information to drive sales and better position marketing and messaging.

About 9% of PC-enabled SBs in the US are currently using BI in the form of packaged software compared to 37% of MBs. 5% of PC SBs are using BI as part of an online software as a service tool for 2008. However, PC MBs, not as much: a mere 1%.

PC-enabled SBs in the US are interested in running BI on their consumer data to drive and monitor performance against the competition, says Nichelle McKenzie, New York-based Research Analyst at AMI-Partners. The payoff is rapid innovation, new marketing ads and new channels to boost their profit margins. Almost 80% of SBs try to understand TCO (total cost of ownership) before purchasing BI products/services. Thats because they want these purchases to be a part of their overall IT strategy.

About 16% of SBs and 22% of MBs in the US said they use BI or data mining and forecasting financial planning as part of an ERP/SCM module. Wholesale and retail are the dominant sectors. This makes sense, considering the volume of e-commerce and email data that is collected daily, says Ms. McKenzie. However, for MBs we see a different pattern, where 30% are using BI as part of ERP/SCM and professional business service is the dominant sector.

More than 25% of SBs that use BI separate from a larger module feel that it is important to study and use e-commerce data to drive sales and revenue. SBs are using CRM data to deploy BI software, says Ms. McKenzie. However, we still see the need for awareness of BI and the positive impact that it can have on SBs. Most SBs in the US use BI as part of the ERP/CRM module.

One factor driving SBs to adopt BI is the feeling that the existing software is no longer adequate. The attached chart highlights the current brand usage for BI software applications among SMBs in the US. BI usage among brands is low but BI is a growing area for vendor investment in 2009. There is no dominant market leader in the BI space, so the opportunity to make a mark is huge.

BI and data mining software tools help companies gather and interpret data to make better business decisions and to optimize business processes. It involves the use of statistical forecasting, predictive modeling and problem solving methods to provide strategic information for business positioning.

About the Study

AMIs 2007 US Small Business Overview and Comprehensive Market Opportunity Assessment and 2007 US Medium Business Overview and Comprehensive Market Opportunity Assessment studies highlight these and other major trends in the context of current/planned IT, Internet and communications usage and spending. Products and services covered include established and emerging hardware, software, applications and business process solutions. Based on AMIs annual surveys of SMBs across U.S., the studies track a broad spectrum of issues pertaining to budgets, purchase behaviors, decision influencers, channel preferences, outsourcing, service and support. Also covered are detailed firmographics and critically important technology attitudes and strategic planning priorities. This data points to key opportunities and messaging hot buttons for vendors and service providers seeking to match their offerings to SMB market requirements.

For more information about this study, AMI-Partners, or our global SMB research, call 212-944-5100, e-mail ask_ami@ami-partners.com, or visit us at www.ami-partners.com.

About Access Markets International (AMI) Partners, Inc.

AMI-Partners specializes in IT, Internet, telecommunications and business services strategy, venture capital, and actionable market intelligence with a strong focus on global small and medium businesses (SMBs), and extending into large enterprises and home-based businesses. The AMI-Partners mission is to empower clients for success with the highest quality data, business strategy perspectives and go-to-market solutions. Led by Andy Bose, the firm has built a world-class management team with deep experience cutting across IT, telecommunications and business services sectors in established and emerging markets.

AMI-Partners have helped shape the go-to-market SMB strategies of more than 150 leading IT, Internet, telecommunications and business services companies. The firm is well known for its IT and Internet adoption-based segmentation of the SMB markets; its annual retainership services based on global SMB tracking surveys in more than 25 countries; and its proprietary database of SMBs and SMB channel partners in the Americas, Europe and Asia-Pacific. The firm invests significantly in collecting survey-based information from several thousand SMBs annually, and is considered the premier source for global SMB trends and analysis.

Quoted Analyst:
Nichelle McKenzie, 212-944-5100 ext 555


Media Relations:
In US (New York):
Nancy Carty, 212-944-5100 ext 581


In EU (London):
Claudia Jachtmann, (44) 208 987 2756


In Asia Pacific (Singapore)
Matthew Foo, (65) 6220 5535 ext 101


In India (Kolkata):
Dipendra Mitra, (91) 33 4003 3093 ext 205
dmitra@ami-partners.com A>

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