WiseAnalytics recently conducted a survey targeted at midmarket organizations using or considering business intelligence (BI). The goal of the survey was to identify adoption rates, general awareness and satisfaction with BI in general and targeted midmarket solutions specifically.

 

DM Review participated in survey distribution through Web site and newsletter promotions. The information below represents a subset of the overall responses and is based solely on the answers provided by DM Review participants (87 in total).

 

Due to discrepancies between organization adoption, satisfaction and vendor marketing, it is difficult to identify what is actually occurring within midmarket organizations regarding their adoption of BI and perceptions of what is available within the market. Unfortunately, because of the years that exclusive enterprise BI solutions kept midmarket organizations from taking advantage of offerings, there is still a perception that BI does not address midmarket requirements. For instance pricing, ease of use and end-user experience are issues that organizations consider general barriers to adoption, even though several newer options exist, such as on-demand, targeted and less expensive solutions as well as embedded analytics that integrate with operational systems. Consequently, a gap exists between organizations’ perceptions and the actual solutions available.

 

The subset of results discussed in this article concurs with the fact that midmarket organizations are still learning about the benefits of BI for their organizations. Although solutions exist to meet their needs, there is still a long way to go to bridge the gap between marketing messages that purport low prices and ease of use with actual adoption of those views within organizations.

 

General Demographic Information

 

The Figures 1, 2 and 3 break down the survey respondents by industry, revenue and department.

 

 

Although the survey was targeted toward midmarket respondents, almost one quarter of participants fall into the enterprise category (23 percent). Because large organizations tend to work in silos regarding technology deployment, it is rare to see organizations that deploy BI organization wide. In most cases, deployments reside at the departmental level or are alternatively managed by the IT department.

 

 

This may explain why 55 percent of respondents work within the IT department. Although there is a push toward operational BI and having initiatives driven by business units, the fact remains that actual transition from IT towards business is still a number of years away. BI solutions have become ingrained in the organization infrastructure through data warehousing implementations as well as developing reporting and analytical applications based on that infrastructure. The shift to operational BI and the mass deployment of BI across the organization still only occur within a minority of organizations implementing BI.

 

The importance of IT involvement and a strong BI infrastructure cannot be overlooked. Organizations with advanced analytics and large-scale BI/data warehousing needs will continue to require a strong IT presence. However, in order to get the most out of an organization’s BI, there needs to be a transition toward more interaction at the business unit level. Otherwise, BI will continue to be viewed as technical rather than user friendly, despite changes to the way BI and analytics are used.

 

 

Figure 4 identifies the respondents’ solution providers. Business Objects, Microsoft and Cognos are the most widely deployed. These results are not surprising considering that each of these vendors places a focus on their midmarket offerings and specifically targets midmarket companies with marketing campaigns.

 

 

General DM Review Participant Results

 

To identify general adoption rates and use, respondents were asked about their current BI use. Two-thirds of respondents answered that they are currently deploying BI within their organizations. One-third either did not deploy BI or were unsure if BI it was being used in their organization. This matches the 29.2 percent of respondents that answered that BI is not a current consideration within their organization.

 

Considering that responses were gathered from DM Review readers, it is easy to expect that more participants would be in the process of deploying BI or would be current BI users. The results show that not only is there room for expansion within the market in general, but that there is interest about what BI applications have to offer organizations. The question that should be asked is: Why is there a gap between interest and use?

 

 

Aside from identifying current BI use, it is important to identify rates of satisfaction. The concept of satisfaction includes whether the offerings available meet the perceived needs of an organization. And even though applications may meet the technical and business requirements of end users, their perceptions are the real measurement of whether or not a solution is having the desired effect and solving the right business problems. Consequently, just over half of organizations 57 percent believe that solutions targeted and offered to midmarket organizations actually meet their intended requirements.

 

From a vendor’s perspective this essentially means that the efforts spent targeting midmarket organizations regarding the benefits of BI and how BI can be applied across the organization are not successful. If they were successful, more organizations would feel that midmarket solutions were meeting the needs of their companies and departments. Additionally, 22 percent of respondents answered that they don’t know. The fact remains that despiste the large amount of information being circulated about BI applications, in many cases, the actual benefits of offerings (including how they work and what is available) goes unnoticed.

 

 

To drill further into company’s perceptions of how BI is perceived within the midmarket, respondents were asked their opinion of how BI vendors could better meet the needs of midmarket organizations. Figure 7 illustrates the answers given.

 

 

Other questions asked in the survey include:

 

  • Factors inhibiting BI use,
  • Current drivers of BI use,
  • What organizations are using BI for,
  • Including compliance, sales performance and interactive reporting,
  • Current use and plans for expansion as well as
  • Satisfaction rates based areas including ease of use, training and services and support.

For more information on this survey to request a copy of the results summary report or to order a copy of the “Detailed BI for Mid-Market Report,” please contact Lyndsay Wise at lwise@wiseanalytics.com.

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