Three Weaknesses in Business Intelligence Today

Business intelligence systems are providing historic rather than timely data, according to a commissioned study by SeeWhy Software. That means BI systems are not yet yielding their potential: predictive value to the enterprise.

SeeWhy Software, the privately held maker of a real-time business intelligence (BI) platform, commissioned researchers at Dynamic Markets to survey how well business intelligence was being used in operations. The study surveyed 218 enterprise operations managers in the United States and the United Kingdom. The results validate SeeWhy’s value proposition, says Charles Nicholls, the company’s CEO.

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The survey identified three issues in business intelligence today:

1. BI tools provide out of date information. A majority of respondents find themselves needing to make decisions before all the necessary information is in. This means that information gleaned from BI reports is not made relevant for today. Sixty-three percent think business intelligence reports are relegated to reference documents used to report official numbers.

2. Business intelligence tools fail to identify process problems. Eighty percent of operations managers polled were alerted to problems by people rather than from data alerts.

3. BI tools can’t be used as predictors. Fifty-eight percent of respondents say business opportunities have been missed or problems have not been spotted due to a lack of time-sensitive, relevant information.

Nicholls says that to gain value from business intelligence systems, the technology must be built into daily processes to enable autocorrection and real-time usable information, rather than waiting for data to be updated. He does not think event-driven, real-time BI tools will replace traditional BI; instead, real-time and event-driven business intelligence should provide a new frontier, such as the alerting of supply chain issues before they happen. Nicholls, the former head of Business Objects’s analytics division, founded SeeWhy Software in 2003.

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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