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Users Describe the Battle for BI

NEW YORK -- CIOs and data managers face an uphill struggle to get their business intelligence (BI) efforts off the ground, according to IT pros attending an event today.

BI is the software that's promoted by a number of vendors, including IBM and SAP, to extract data from various back-end systems and databases containing info on HR, financials, customers, and the like. The idea is that data can then be searched and sifted to identify new market opportunities and improve efficiency. (See IBM Extends Biz Intelligence, Iron Mountain Uses Business Objects, SAP Acquires Khimetrics, and BEA Acquires ConnecTerra .)

Users have already started to deploy BI offerings with some citing significant returns on their investment. (See SAP Powers Munich Airport, EqualLogic Customer Buys More, and Kane County Consolidates.) But just getting to BI first base may be easier said than done, warned execs today.

"I have had to struggle to constantly reinforce the value of what I do," said Jonathan Rothman, director of data management at Emergency Medical Associates, a healthcare specialist providing emergency services to 17 hospitals in New York and New Jersey. "You would think that people just get it, but they don't."

During a panel discussion, Analyst Maureen Fleming, program director of IDC's business process integration division, explained that BI users are now vying for the same dollars as higher-profile projects within their organizations. "If you look at the investments in storage that have happened since 1999 and, even more, the investments in security -- you're competing with core infrastructure."

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