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SaaS-Based BI: It's the Expertise, Not the Software

Plenty of organizations want to spread access to actionable information, but a vast BI/data-integration skills gap stands in the way. A new study sees best-in-class companies tapping analytic apps, outsourcers and on-demand BI to fill the void.

Broad access to timely, accurate information. That's what separates the best-in-class companies in terms of BI performance from average companies and laggards, according to "Delivering Actionable Information to the Enterprise," a just-released report from AberdeenGroup. But what separates users from reliable information? It's not a matter of technology; it's a lack of BI skills.

"The number-one pressure that companies reported was limited BI skill sets, meaning the users don't have the capability to perform the analytics and do all the things with the data they need to do to get the answers they need," says David Hatch, AberdeenGroup's BI research director and author of the report (see "Top Pressures" chart at right).

It should come as no surprise that best-in-class companies have more experience in information delivery than average and laggard companies, but what may surprise some is that they are also more apt to embrace emerging approaches including embedded BI (analytic ERP/CRM and performance management apps) and software as a service (SaaS)/hosted BI. What these alternatives seem to offer is built-in expertise, and in the case of SaaS-based BI, retailers Casual Male and Anchor Blue report that it's the expertise, not the software, that is their primary attraction to the approach.

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