With general software trends such as Web 2.0, service-oriented architecture (SOA), software as a service (SaaS) and the like, organizations are increasingly considering Web-based approaches to their business intelligence (BI) solutions. The standardization of IT architectures across the organization and the centralization of software platforms amplify the benefits of Web-based applications to IT departments. Ease of use and general familiarity also make end-user adoption more likely. Similarly, the ability to utilize Web-based platforms to create a centralized environment for reporting and analysis make the implementation of Web-based BI attractive to many organizations. These considerations give organizations additional options when considering BI.
BI deployed over the Web is neither new nor revolutionary. Organizations have been using portals for the past decade to deliver reports and OLAP cubes within intranets enabling end users to view reports and to conduct analyses within a centralized structure. The ability to share information and to collaborate on tasks across geographic boundaries with minimal efforts increases BI's Web-based use to include performance management processes. These include the use of scorecards and dashboards to manage sales performance, the completion of budgeting activities and the processing of month-end closes. The extension of end-user access to include Web-based architecture and development environments permits vendors and organizations to expand their view of how to implement and manage BI tools. Additionally, BI tool use can be extended to the small and midsized (SMB) market opening the market for new competitive arenas due to more flexible pricing structures.
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