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Readers Weigh In On Biggest Obstacles To Business Success

Applications are important, but what IT really needs to improve intelligence, processes and performance is more business direction.
Spread Wealth, Predict The Future

Drilling down on where BI technology buyers are likely to invest, dashboards, ad hoc reporting, and advanced analytics top the list. The common theme in the first two selections is a desire to spread access to insight. Dashboards are rapidly displacing conventional reports as the front-line means by which day-to-day decision makers gain access to BI. These easy-to-use interfaces pack a variety of key metrics onto a single screen so users can monitor business conditions at a glance.

What's more, dashboards usually can be customized by end users, so they offer a way to share insight without the cost, complication, or IT hand-holding required by more conventional query and reporting tools.

Ad hoc query and reporting tools are becoming an option for self-service access to information. If a production report provides baseline insight into, say, top customers by region, product, and quarter, a modern ad hoc tool lets users drill down to find out which regions or salespeople had gains and which had losses. Just a few years ago, most ad hoc tools were geared to BI power users, but some tools are now easy enough for casual users to master.

Advanced analytics encompasses a variety of mathematical techniques that can be used to calculate attributes that can't be reported straight from the underlying data. Predictive analytics, for example, can crunch current and historical transaction figures to model a customer's likelihood to default on a loan or respond to an up-sell offer.

Chart: Why Are You Interested In Advanced Analytics?

Among the 82 respondents who are likely to invest in advanced analytics in the next two years, 43% say the main factor driving demand is the desire to optimize business operations, particularly factors such as pricing or profitability. Cross-selling, up-selling, and other customer marketing initiatives are driving 30% of respondents. Business risk applications such as churn analysis, fraud detection, and credit scoring are cited as the top draw by 20% of these respondents.

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Editor's Choice
Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor
Richard Pallardy, Freelance Writer
Carrie Pallardy, Contributing Reporter
John Edwards, Technology Journalist & Author
Carlo Massimo, Contributing Writer
Salvatore Salamone, Managing Editor, Network Computing