Now that the big shift has occurred in the business intelligence and corporate performance management market with IBM, Microsoft, Oracle and SAP controlling two-thirds of the market, one might think that consolidation is a purely vendor-driven game. But reality checks in the field show that the supply side is not a constraint, but rather is leading the dynamics. Meanwhile, consolidation scope goes well beyond technology consolidation. Now that initiatives are federated under the same umbrella, BI and performance management are finally positioned to become a core IT component rather than a value-added option.

It took more than 30 years for BI to reach maturity, a little longer than it took for other key components like enterprise resource management and customer relationship managment. But whilst the latter have seen the creation and redesign of entire information system landscapes in a big-bang mode, BI investments have taken place in a gradual and often ad hoc manner.  In spite of unifying concepts such as the data warehouse, each decision support project often generated its own tools and selection of service providers, architectures, data models and standards. As a result, despite the fact that BI and performance management represent more than 10 percent of the typical IT budget, it can be compared to a giant with clay feet: strong footprint, but sparse foundations.

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