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Report: Separate BI Hype From Reality

The increasingly tough compliance landscape may be driving a boom in Business Intelligence (BI) software, but IT managers should beware of vendor hype, according to the latest Heavy Reading Enterprise report. (See Enterprises Want More Intel.)

A slew of vendors, including CA, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, and Sybase are touting BI products as a way for firms to operate more efficiently and become more competitive. The idea is that the software extracts data from various back-end systems and databases containing info on HR, financials, customers, and the like, which can then be sifted and searched. (See Vendors Fire Up Data Forensics, Kane County Consolidates, and IBM Extends Biz Intelligence.)

Additionally, compliance pressures, not to mention the recent hi-jinks at HP, have helped raise the profile of BI amongst users to new levels. (See Retention Rules Set to Change, Hurd to Speak on Leak Probe, Hurd Apologizes, Probe 'Disturbing', Drip, Drip, Drip, and HP's Hot Seat.) "If [HP] had applied some data mining tools, they may have been able to figure out the source of the leak without receiving all this negative publicity," says Michael Schiff, analyst at large for Heavy Reading Enterprise, and the report's author.

The report, Business Intelligence & Decision Support: User Perceptions & Trends, cuts through all the vendor spiel, and describes how firms are deploying BI software. "There is a lot of hype over certain features and capabilities, user requirements, and perceived leaders," explains Schiff.

The end result, according to Schiff, is that many BI deployments fail to meet end-user expectations. Data quality issues and a lack of well-defined metrics for measuring the effectiveness of BI, however, are also to blame.

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