/BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE                    BUSINESS                    INTELLIGENCE                    AT YOUR             ...
/BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE                            Sommer: Oil & gas        Better data discovery       Hyder: BI has moved...
/BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE    Nowadays it’s easy for companies and staff to start using BI andanalytics packages, as Ali Hyder...
/BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE“THE CREATION                                         Kalidas: BusinessOF ADVANCED                  ...
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BI at your fingertips - views also from Hariram Kalidas (GBM)

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BI at your fingertips - views also from Hariram Kalidas (GBM)

  1. 1. /BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE AT YOUR FINGERTIPS Business Intelligence solutions have moved from standalone applications to integratedfeatures of many other systems. BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE AND ANALYTICS SOLUTIONS ARE NO LONGER THE PRESERVE OF THE MOST TECH- HEAVY INDUSTRIES, AND AS BI BECOMES EASIER TO DEPLOY AND USE ACROSS THE ORGANISATION, ITS STRATEGIC IMPORTANCE IS COMING TO THE FORE BY KERI ALLAN April 2013 ARABIAN COMPUTER NEWS 59
  2. 2. /BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE Sommer: Oil & gas Better data discovery Hyder: BI has moved and construction is allowing businesses from the preserve of companies are to tap into different tier one companies to becoming the leading sources of information a wider audience as it users of BI in the and better analyse has become easier to Middle East today. data, says Devlin. implement and use. he demand for business intelligence data in a way (BI) and analytics solutions is increasing that’s useful across the Middle East as CIOs realise and meaningful the value they provide as an analytical to the user and and decision making tool. The appeal organisation. But of such solutions isn’t confined to just a there are other few sectors: companies across various features that also verticals are implementing BI and analyt- becoming more ics projects with success stories from popular. leading banks and financial institutions, “Data discov- government and hospitality. Gartner pre- ery is becoming dicts that the MENA BI software market more common in will reach $182m in 2013, an 11% increase the region,” says from 2012. Paul Devlin, di- “In the Gulf region, a lot of excess rector of business cash is fueling fast economic and struc- analytics at SAP tural development and growth. Asset- MENA. “This based oil and construction industries, will typically with little digitised information, did not apply to a user’ssee an immediate need to focus on BI in the past, but they are now personal datasome of the fastest-growing segments,” says Dan Sommer, princi- residing on their desktop. It can also apply to data held in the datapal research analyst, Technology and Service Provider Research, warehouse. This type of software gives the user access to uploadGartner. “Financial services, aviation and pharmaceuticals are other structured and unstructured data enabling them to find and detectindustries showing great potential for adoption in this region.” new patterns and insights at the speed of thought. Furthermore, it “The GCC business environment is undergoing a change then allows the users to share these new insights with the rest of thetowards better infrastructure alignment and as the need for more organisation, through email or internal collaboration engines. Thisbusiness value dependent decisions grows, the requirement of better type of software requires almost no involvement from IT, allowingbusiness intelligence and analytics to drive decision making will users to create and own reports on the fly.come into play,” Meera Kaul, managing director, Optimus highlights. “We are seeing an increase in social media analytics, both inter- Most of the main players software vendors such as Microsoft, nally and externally,” he continues. “We are also witnessing the riseSAS, IBM, Oracle and SAP have BI offerings, along with many tier of predictive analytics. How do I move my organisation from its ‘reartwo ERP solutions which have integrated BI tools. view mirror’ view of data to being able to predict what might hap- Business intelligence is the focus of this market, which is about pen today, tomorrow, next month or next year? It is a transition fromproviding customers with the ability to report, analyse and visualise hindsight to foresight.”“TOMORROW’S MOST SUCCESSFUL COMPANIES WILL BE THOSETHAT CAN ORGANISE THEMSELVES AROUND ANALYTICS, ESPECIALLYPREDICTIVE ANALYTICS, AND DRIVE DIFFERENTIATION FROM DATA.”60 ARABIAN COMPUTER NEWS April 2013
  3. 3. /BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE Nowadays it’s easy for companies and staff to start using BI andanalytics packages, as Ali Hyder CEO of Focus Softnet highlights:“Up to about five years ago, it was very difficult for enterprises to THE NEWEST BI AND ANALYTICS TRENDSimplement BI tools, as only tier one ERPs were providing BI, and itrequired lots of configuration and skilled implementation resources. The new trends in business intelligence (BI) and analytics solutions are focusing onNow the implementation of BI has become much simpler as cus- mobile apps, big data and cloud, with social media also coming in from 2014.tomisation is more user-friendly at the interface level.” “Big data and big analytics seems to be the new trends in the BI and analytics Benefits are also becoming clearer, with businesses able to see arena. Big data represents a transition-in-kind for both analytics and storage. Forhow they can improve operational efficiency, productivity, reduce big data, the data being analysed will come from its original unstructured formbusiness risks, mitigate points of failure and almost always create (e.g. web logs, video clips, social data, open government data etc.) giving usersdifferentiated and more personal customer experiences. the ability to analyse what is happening in the world around them, with all of the “[Benefits include] rapid access to information, version con- richness and detail of the original sensation,” says Hariram Kalidas, of GBM.trol and removal of Excel proliferation,” notes Denzil Murray-Lee, “The next trend would be BI and analytics in the cloud,” he continues. “Cloud-Infor’s channel manager for Enterprise Performance Management based services will have support for massive amounts of data. This could be a wayfor the MEA. for more organisations to broaden adoption rates and reap the benefits that analyt- “The most important benefit is timely information as decision ics can provide. Business analytics in the cloud provides more user communitiesmakers don’t have to wait for reports to be prepared and submitted with access to the analytics, performance management and predictive analytics.”by the users,” continues Hyder. “The analytical information which “The main trend is cloud-based BI and analytics but also SaaS, where organi-earlier was very difficult to get is now available at their fingertips. sations are able to reduce upfront costs in terms of hardware and infrastructureThese solutions allow information to be leveraged to improve sales and still benefit from the latest software capabilities,” adds Denzil Murray-Lee,and marketing programs and help boost revenues and profits for the Infor’s channel manager for Enterprise Performance Management for the MEA.organisation.” “A recent global survey from MIT Sloan Management Reviewindicates that up to 67% of companies surveyed are gaining a April 2013 ARABIAN COMPUTER NEWS 61
  4. 4. /BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE“THE CREATION Kalidas: BusinessOF ADVANCED Intelligence for solutions designed for specific verticalSTATISTICS, DATA segments are coming to the fore.MINING, AND MA-CHINE LEARNINGALGORITHMS WILLDRIVE MORE POS-SIBILITIES FOR THEWORLD TO BENEFITFROM KNOWLEDGEAND OPTIMISATIONOF DATA.”competitive advantage by using analytics,” highlights Devlin. “This analytics, the solutions themselves will continue to evolve.marks a 15% increase from last year’s survey and an 80% increase “The market will evolve to address specific vertical market sec-from two years ago. It stands to reason that companies can no longer tors,” notes Hariram Kalidas, manager — Analytics and Informationsurvive on sustained differentiation through product, pricing and Management Practice, Gulf Business Machines (GBM). “GBM isservice alone. Tomorrow’s most successful companies will be those already delivering analytics for finance, called financial performancethat can organise themselves around analytics, especially predictive management systems. Furthermore, there will be more and moreanalytics, and drive differentiation from data. Companies that base usage of analytical applications around spatial information analyticstheir decisions on gut feelings or data that is weeks or months old (GIS analytics or location intelligence), production planning servicewill, in time, simply not survive.” operations, supply chain analytics and workforce analytics etc. Companies do face obstacles when it comes to getting the most “Gartner and IDC are predicting growth in the social, mobileout of BI and analytics solutions, however. According to Gartner and cloud [arenas] as well as big data and predictive analytics inthe major issue worldwide is lack of skills, but this is especially an MEA, especially in the GCC and Levant regions,” he adds.issue in the GCC region. Organisations are also concerned about the Indeed, BI and analytics is expanding to provide users withmanagement of the enormous amount of data they generate. many more features and abilities, and advanced capabilities from “Two words: data and user adoption. If companies are to truly advanced data mining, and machine learning algorithms.benefit from business intelligence, it is vital that they understand “[BI] will grow to become analytics less just on structured data,what success will look like before they start,” says Devlin. “They but also unstructured and real-time data. Further, the BI space isneed to understand if the data is available to achieve their success moving from reporting mainly on what has happened (descriptive),and then be rigorous on change control. Set out your criteria for to why it happened (diagnostic), to what will happen (predictive),success, deliver to it and leave required changes until you go live. and finally, what do we do about what will happen (prescriptive),”It’s also useful to work in 90-day deliverables after the initial go Sommer concludes.live. This is key, as it gives users confidence in using and accessingrelevant data and driving real business benefit,” he advises. Even as more businesses and users begin to embrace BI and62 ARABIAN COMPUTER NEWS April 2013

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