San Francisco -- Productivity, compliance and alignment are at the fore of issues making business intelligence a top priority in organizations today, according to Ventana Research SVP of research Mark Smith. Smith made his remarks in a keynote address at this week's BI Forum 2006 in San Francisco, sponsored by BI Review.While the top-line issues identified are not surprising to those who work in the BI field, Smith used recent Ventana findings, solicited in part from readers of DM Review and BI Review, to support several sub-textual drivers facing the industry, including efficiency, risk and organizational effectiveness. Among the hot spots of technology and BI strategy are: data latency and the need for timely information, contextual information that needs to address prior and proceeding workflows (cause/effect), and information that is actionable and allows users to perform next steps and prioritize action.

Smith commented on the use of a variety of sanctioned standard and ad hoc technologies that are used in ways that are unequally pervasive, expected and unexpected: among the wild cards are user-embraced productivity tools in Microsoft Office; advances in enterprise application, desktop and Web-based productivity and analysis tools; and IT's own endeavors with packaged applications and growing use of open source technologies. A constant is the homogeneous infrastructure already owned and maintained by organizations, and a wide variety of user activities that were tracked in the research.

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