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Commentary

BI & SaaS: Challenging Conventional Wisdom

We are seeing organizations that were previously handcuffed by IT inaction and lack of focus on BI now turning to software as a service (SaaS)... The combination of BI and SaaS introduces the concept of "BI as a Service" that can complement or be an alternative way of accelerating business intelligence in an organization.
The need for business intelligence (BI) is evident, but most business organizations still don't have the information or insights needed to improve their decision making. The debate rages on: has IT been delivering BI effectively or does the responsibility lie within business? My recent blog, "Why Business Should Be Mad as Hell at IT," injected the frustration of business on this topic into the debate, and it generated some hearty discussion on who is responsible and why both IT and business don't work more closely together.

Unfortunately, the pressure to reduce costs and resources in IT has impacted many organizations' ability to dedicate further attention to BI. The reality is that each organization will have to determine how IT should prioritize budgets and resources for BI and how to respond to this growing need. Business knows the problems quite well, and limitations of existing BI efforts has proliferated further spreadsheet use. And as we all know, the copy and paste function of spreadsheets leads to inaccuracy and hampers quality decision-making.We are seeing organizations that were previously handcuffed by IT inaction and lack of focus on BI now turning to software as a service (SaaS) as a new method to gain access to the software and their data. The combination of BI and SaaS introduces the concept of "BI as a Service" that can complement or be an alternative way of accelerating BI in an organization.

Instead of purchasing the software and implementing, users can rent the software on a monthly cost-per-user or usage basis and can scale up or down as needed. This approach lets business find value quickly once the data is fed to the supplier in a routine manner. Then you can see your data and metrics when you want them and can gain further intelligence on your business.

BI as a Service is now being used by hundreds of companies like yours. Some vendors that I have begun research coverage on are BlinkLogic, myDIALS and PivotLink. Many more are new players in the BI market and I'm awaiting company and customer validation to ensure they are ready for primetime.

Let me know your thoughts.We are seeing organizations that were previously handcuffed by IT inaction and lack of focus on BI now turning to software as a service (SaaS)... The combination of BI and SaaS introduces the concept of "BI as a Service" that can complement or be an alternative way of accelerating business intelligence in an organization.

Editor's Choice
Mary E. Shacklett, President of Transworld Data
James M. Connolly, Contributing Editor and Writer