Companies are failing to gain return on large investments in business intelligence and reporting applications because their IT infrastructures are unable to keep pace with demand for quick, fresh and accurate information essential to business decision making. This is the finding of "A Study on Reporting and Business Intelligence Application Usage" released at the TDWI World Conference in Orlando, by Appfluent Technology, provider of software to improve enterprise application performance.

"Many companies have invested heavily in business intelligence and reporting software to inform the daily decisions needed to remain productive and competitive," said Frank Gelbart, president and CEO of Appfluent Technology. "This report confirms that companies’ production systems often can’t cope because they depend on a single infrastructure to support transactional, informational and reporting functions. The result is a serious information bottleneck.

"Our study found that the biggest system performance problem faced by users of reporting software if the very long time it takes to run reports. But businesses continue to live with these problems because of the prohibitively high cost of fixing them."

The research was conducted in the third quarter of 2002 via an online survey that reached 358 companies of all sizes and across industry sectors. Participants represented a range of job functions, including executive management, IT professionals, business unit managers and consultants. The survey’s key findings included:

  • Almost half of respondents experienced performance-related problems with reporting on sales, financial, support, inventory/supply chain and Web applications.
  • Only six percent of respondents never had reporting performance problems.
  • The majority of companies, more than 60 percent, credited system performance troubles to reports being generated out of live production database systems.
  • The issue affects most the productivity of systems/network administrators, IT support and helpdesk professionals and chief information/technology officers, the people on the front line in solving user IT problems.
  • Telecommunications services companies have the highest incidences of reporting performance problems and wholesale and distribution companies experience the least.

According to the study, companies wishing to report on real-time, operational data had two options: 1) Run reports on their production systems – causing costly performance deterioration, or 2) Deploy a separate reporting environment, such as an operational data store or warehouse.
"Reporting on production systems gives users access to real-time data, but at the expense of performance. Establishing a dedicated reporting environment removes this constraint, but is very expensive, complex and labor-intensive," explained Gelbart.

Appfluent Technology’s flagship product, the Appfluent Accelerator, gives companies a cost-effective, turnkey, dedicated infrastructure for real-time reporting. The Accelerator offloads reporting traffic from production systems, improving the performance of both the reporting and production applications. Accelerator improves performance by up to 700 percent at a quarter of the cost of an upgrade. Accelerator runs on both a company’s application and database servers, improving the relationship between enterprise data and the applications that depend on them. This patented technology uses SQL analytics to collect and analyze data. It then automates data partitioning and workload distribution to improve performance.

The Appfluent Technology report: "A Study in Reporting and Business Intelligence Application Usage" is available for free download at <www.appfluent.com/biastudy/.

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