January 4, 2012 – The business promise of analytics is catching increased attention and spending, while long-standing applications are still finding major use in the BI stack, according to a new survey from consultancy and solutions provider MorganFranklin.

The survey asked a cross-section of business and IT professionals their priorities and issues in finding returns on data implementations.

With three-fourths of respondents planning to increase or at least maintain BI investment in the near-term, the biggest promise is being seen in analytics. Seventy-percent of those in the survey indicated that advanced analytics dashboards would be the most beneficial implementation for their enterprises. Bill Brydges, managing director of technology for MorganFranklin, who worked with a team on the survey, says that the advances and capabilities from analytics shows the most direct business return and has “captured the imagination of buyers.”

“Whether or not this is a realistic expectation remains to be seen, and this is particularly true as short-term ROI on the analytics tools themselves is not the current focus; buyers are looking down the road,” Brydges says. “Clearly, the ability of analytics tools to deliver on hidden secrets for big dollar payoff will be a question many experts and analysts will have to grapple with in the future and may require a redefinition of ‘return on investment’ if it appears the results are different than anticipated.”

Even with other applications in place, a majority of respondents (66 percent) noted that Microsoft Excel and Access are in active use across their BI solutions. Forty-one percent of respondents stated that the long-standing Microsoft programs were their enterprise’s reporting tools of choice, while another 46 percent noted that Excel and Access are primarily used for ad hoc analysis and reporting. Brydges says that “tactical” BI solutions like Excel will endure due to familiarity, and they may evolve to include more add-in functionality for enterprise BI solutions. However, he says their use will be threatened by developing analytics tools as well as internal governance and compliance initiatives.

For more on the survey, click here.

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