Business Intelligence (BI)

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In one of the most influential books ever written on software marketing – Crossing The Chasm – the author Geoffrey Moore talks about “Main Street”. This is when a market has reached a level of maturity and a low enough price point that the technology is ready for wholesale adoption by corporate enterprises. When the likes of Microsoft, Oracle and SAP announce strong interest in the BI market you know Main Street is here—the market is now large enough to support the massive investments required for these large players to prosper on a worldwide commodity market basis.

The Business Intelligence (BI) marketplace is now at that point. If you need any more convincing of this point, visit the Business Objects web site, which promises: “Attend any training course in July or August and you’ll save 10%. We’ll also enter you into our prize draw to win a weekend in Spain!” The technology is now largely irrelevant—every credible vendor can extract data from heterogeneous databases, load that data into cubes, run some “what if” questions and output the results of those queries into professional report formats. The key question is: “which vendor(s) can you trust?”

Some vendors have been involved in unscrupulous profit-taking on the path to Main Street. Others have technology and a level of available resource that is questionable for the support of a complete enterprise deployment. Others have shown worrying inconsistencies and a lack of continuity. Regular changes of account representative are not a good sign. Nor are yo-yo financial results or scandals involving the company.

The message is clear. The time to flirt with half a dozen vendors is over—it is time to choose your long-term partner (or two) and get rid of the rest. The Business Intelligence report complements the Bloor Research report on Corporate Performance Management (CPM).