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The increasing diversity of BI for mid-market offerings

Friday, January 29, 2010

As the role of business intelligence continues to expand within organizations and moves downstream towards small and mid-sized companies, businesses are looking for more diverse options to deploy BI and analytics. Aside from the high cost perceptions of traditional BI and larger players, smaller companies are looking for more dynamic interactions with their software that can react to changes in performance or in the market place quickly.  Gone are the days of only identifying time-based trends or historical sales data.  Now, organizations are looking to deploy analytics to gain competitive advantage and visibility into their daily operations. 

With these demands comes the availability of diverse BI solutions that do not follow the traditional implementation and deployment models.  For instance, instead of requiring internal data infrastructures to support front-end insight, organizations can upload their data to be housed online or through a data service provider.  In addition, different types of solutions exist for the management of these services, such as Kognitio that offers data warehousing type services through their data as a service offering, Birst that offers full BI functionality as a service, and a less known player, Zoho that offers a series of reporting, analytics, and operational applications online. 

Overall, the flexibility exists to deploy solutions in a way that best suits the organization.  In addition, many offerings allow companies to try solutions free of charge and upgrade when the organization wants to expand their BI use or the number of overall users.  Zoho offers an interesting example of a solution provider that offers many types of business applications online as well as a general reporting and analysis solution called ZohoReports. This offering enables end users to upload data and create reports and analyses online with a low price point starting at $15 per month per user with a cap of 20 million rows of data. With solutions like this becoming widely available within the market place, companies can use limited data sets to create BI for their organization. 

Whether these types of solutions will prove to be viable to businesses long-term remains to be seen.  After all, companies are bound to increase the data they need analyzed, the number of users, and the way they interact with information overall. In addition, analytics is beginning to be embedded within operational solutions to allow decision makers the ability to operate within one application and meet all of their system needs.  Whether this becomes the way businesses apply BI or whether they move towards a more cohesive approach to enterprise wide analytics, the fact remains that traditional BI no longer meets the needs of many organizations – especially not mid-market companies looking for answers to their business problems and needing a way to gain better data visibility.

About the Author

Lyndsay Wise is an industry analyst for business intelligence. For over seven years, she has assisted clients in business systems analysis, software selection and implementation of enterprise applications. Lyndsay is the channel expert for BI for the Mid-Market at B-eye-Network and conducts research of leading technologies, products and vendors in business intelligence, marketing performance management, master data management, and unstructured data. She can be reached at lwise@wiseanalytics.com. And please visit Lyndsay's blog at myblog.wiseanalytics.com.

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