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The Unsinkable Ship: Business Intelligence

by Davin Wilfrid

April 22, 2010

By Davin Wilfrid, ERP Expert

In the fall of 2008, I attended an influencer summit in Boston on the future of SAP and SAP BusinessObjects, which SAP had acquired earlier that year. At the time, SAP executives touted its new suite of business intelligence (BI) tools as "the new ERP," expecting that companies would increasingly tie together disparate applications through enterprise-wide BI systems like SAP BusinessObjects. (You can read my article on the summit here).

SAP BusinessObjects Explorer for iPhoneIf analyst firm Gartner is to be believed, SAP was on to something. According to this press release, Gartner says global BI software sales jumped 4.2% in 2009, despite the worst economy in nearly a century:

“Even though growth was nowhere near the levels of 2008, and by no means immune to the recession, BI showed that it is not as cyclical as many other software areas, recording healthy growth in one of the toughest years recorded in software history,” said Dan Sommer, senior research analyst at Gartner. “The dominant vendors continued to put BI, analytic s and PM front and center of their messaging. Organizations largely continued their BI projects, hoping that resulting transparency and insight would enable cost-cuts and improved productivity and agility."

SAP, according to Gartner, was the top BI vendor in 2009, acccounting for 22% of the total market.

The platforms for delivering BI are expanding at an amazing rate. Recently SAP brought its new search-based BI tool (SAP BusinessObjects Explorer) to the iPhone (pictured), giving the average business user fast access to back-end data with just a few swipes and taps. 

And we're only at the beginning. As solutions mature and companies integrate disparate data sources, we're bound to see BI innovations such as industry-specific solutions, advanced predictive analysis, and well-honed decision-making tools establish themselves as key elements of a competitive business.

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