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Big Ideas: Emerging Companies Set Priorities

Business-intelligence implementations appear to reflect large companies' greater experience in using the technology.
Emerging companies have views similar to those of large organizations on the value of business intelligence, but implementations appear to reflect large companies' greater experience in using it, according to an InformationWeek Research survey, which defines emerging companies as those with less than $1 billion in annual revenue.

An emerging company, for example, is more likely to employ business intelligence in a limited way for a particular purpose--34% compared with 27% of large companies. Large companies, on the other hand, are more likely to have BI tools scattered throughout the organization than emerging companies by a 38% to 30% margin. And larger companies are almost twice as likely to build a sophisticated user presentation, such as a company dashboard, where key performance indicators are represented in charts and other visual displays. That margin was 64% to 33%.

When it comes to key business objectives, there are more similarities than differences. Roughly the same number in each camp use business intelligence to improve business planning (75%), improve data accuracy and integrity (63%), obtain real-time information (55%), increase revenue (48% emerging versus 47% large), develop business-reporting tools (61% versus 66%) and analyze customer data to increase sales (53% versus 58%).

Still, large companies dominate a few objectives. Faster production cycles are important to 59% of them versus 27% of emerging companies; adherence to compliance and regulatory requirements was cited by 42% of large companies, versus 29% of emerging enterprises.

Lack of ease of use for the nontechnology-savvy employee is a barrier to BI adoption enterprisewide among both groups by a roughly equal margin. Surprisingly, data-quality problems are a much more significant barrier at large companies (55%) than emerging ones (39%), probably because large companies have accumulated more data.

When it comes to spending on business intelligence this year compared with last year, 52% of large companies say they will spend more while 43% of emerging enterprises will. Eleven percent of emerging companies say their spending will decrease this year, compared with 9% of large companies.

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