Business Intelligence Software and Post-Crash Strategy

In the wake of the financial downturn, business are turning to BI software to find new ways to manage costs.
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In case you hadn’t gotten the memo, the business world changed dramatically for the indefinite future after the financial market meltdown of late 2008. I’m not talking about short term cost cutting, but a tectonic plate shift in strategic business thinking in the United States, according to my analysis of a new survey of senior business executives.

This upheaval will drive use of Business Intelligence Software in at least five ways unfamiliar to most organizations.

Massive changes in business conditions over the next 12 months were predicted by almost all of the 355 managers and senior executives of medium and large companies responding to the Bloomberg Businessweek Research Services survey in May. Specifically:

• 60% Said companies in their industry are developing new business models, such as more outsourcing, more joint ventures, reducing investment in fixed assets and increasing emphasis on introducing new services.

• 55% Said companies in their industry were expanding into new markets and geographies.

• 54% Said companies in their industry were focused on profitability, not revenues.

• 46% Said their industry is consolidating due to mergers.

• 27% Said their industry was focused on revenues, not profitability (this is contrary to the conventional wisdom that revenue growth is the top priority after a recession).

• 10% Said no changes expected in their industry

The turmoil is even more pronounced in companies with more than $1 billion in revenue -- only 5% of the respondents from big companies said no changes were expected.

One way to cope with this turmoil is to invest in information technology to find and manage new opportunities and squeeze more net income from existing operations. So IT spending is going to pop, especially in 2011. More than half of the survey respondents said IT spending would increase next year vs. 2010, with 23% saying their IT spend would increase by at least 5%.

And check out the operational investment priorities of these companies’ finance departments over the next 12 months:

• 38% Indicated business intelligence software and analytics tools were on their shopping list, the highest priority among the various IT tools.

• 21% Said improving the quality of financial reporting and accounting was on their shopping list.

• 20% Said compliance and risk mitigation tools were a priority. Note that 40% of financial services company respondents said compliance and risk mitigation were a priority.

• 19% Are looking for systems to automate payments processing.

Statistically speaking, the companies most focused on new business models are even more likely to invest in business intelligence and analytics tools. Based on my research, here are the five tasks to be done by BI and analytics tools that may be outside of your current portfolio of tricks:

• Identifying lots of new opportunities based on analyzing unstructured data from your company’s help desk emails and web site page traffic patterns, as well as from external sources such as Facebook postings and tweets. “That’s the holy grail for business intelligence software—finding the areas of growth and potential,” notes Michael Tejedor, a senior product manager at Microsoft and a BI maven. “Identifying activities that will yield the highest benefit is what analytics are all about, especially high-end predictive analytics.”

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Tags: cloud computing, BI software, financial, business intelligence software, predictive analytics

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