Creating the intelligent business

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1 MANAGEMENT REPORT APRIL 2007 N O 18 We need to move from asking what s happening? to actually formulating responses. Royce Bell, Accenture Performance management is the fabric for linking strategies to plans. Andrea Vasiliu, Hyperion Small implementations of vertically targeted business intelligence tools are preferable. Colin Clark, Somerfield CIOs play a vital role in maximising the return on their organisation s data assets. Dave Annis, Dunnhumby Creating the intelligent business

2 EDITORIAL T: BUSINESS CONTENTS Editor Kenny MacIver Deputy editor Gareth Morgan Associate editor Phil Jones Senior writers Michelle Price, Pete Swabey Editorial assistant Hannah Prevett Production editor Ivan Lee Editorial director Andrew Lawrence COMMERCIAL Account director Katrina Neal ( ) Account manager Andrew Steed ( ) Publishing executive Daniel Berry ( ) Production manager Ian White ( ) Events manager Imogen Craig ( ) Marketing programmes manager Diana Walker ( ) 5 THE CHANGING SHAPE OF BI BI is going through a critical but confused phase Andrew Lawrence, Information Age Publisher Tim Langford ( ) 6 THE EVOLUTION OF INTELLIGENCE BI must learn to become more responsive to events Royce Bell, Accenture Annual subscriptions: 72 per annum. For subscription/circulation enquiries, T: /F: Mail: Information Age Subscriptions Centre, PO Box 5999, Newbury, RG14 5YN 7 THE MORE THE MERRIER Best-of-breed or a standardised set of BI tools? panel debate 8 INFORMED CHOICES Excellent decisions require an information-centric enterprise Eddie Short, Capgemini 9 CONVEYING THE BENEFITS OF BI Sometimes, an emergency helps to prove a point panel debate Information Age is published by Infoconomy Ltd, Margaret Street, London, W1W 8RP T: ISSN Directors Andrew Lawrence, Tim Langford, Kenny MacIver Directors (non-exec) David Manning, Christopher Weston Printed by Stephens & George Magazines Ltd Infoconomy Ltd 2007 All rights reserved. Contents may not be reproduced in whole or part without the written consent of the publishers. 10 GETTING RELEVANT A bold data strategy can provide stunning results Dave Annis, Dunnhumby 11 BI AND PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT The combination that drives business success Andrea Vasiliu, Hyperion 12 EFFECTIVE BI: SIMPLE AND RELIABLE Information Age s research indicates that BI can be both empowering and constricting 14 CONTEXT IS KING Text analysis will increase the power of BI exponentially Gerry Brown, Bloor Research Sponsor BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE07 3

3 INTELLIGENCE 2007 EDITOR S LETTER The changing shape of BI Andrew Lawrence Editorial director Information Age The application of business intelligence (BI) is going through a critical, but confused, phase. BI is being more widely deployed then ever before, and ever greater claims are being made for its potency. In several recent surveys, IT executives put it at the top, or near the top, of their priorities. This enthusiasm for the technology is, however, tempered by a palpable sense of uncertainty. The sector is marked by rapid vendor consolidation, which means a new strategic roadmap for some products and the end of the road for others; there is increased enthusiasm for new approaches to the application of BI whether business/corporate performance management, real-time BI or predictive analytics that were scarcely on the radar three years go; and the desire to analyse both unstructured and structured data, along with the impact of service-oriented architecture, is prompting many big organisations to rethink their entire information architecture. Against that backdrop is a growing body of research showing that BI is difficult to get right: too often, even technically successful projects fail for business reasons. It was against this backdrop that Information Age held its Business Intelligence 2007 conference in March, our third annual BI event. Acknowledging some of the uncertainties as well as the opportunities in BI at present, the programme planners focused on three key issues. The first of these concerned the choice of technology. Because there are so many BI tools and systems now available, the conference addressed the issue of how users should ensure they are working with the right applications, tools and platforms. Should they, for example, buy one integrated BI suite to span the entire organisation or select specialist tools for specific BI tasks. Second, the conference focused on how BI systems can be designed to ensure that end users are given actionable insights not just a lot of reports or too much of the wrong information. A key message: BI is at its most effective when it is applied as part of a corporate-wide performance management system. A third theme also emerged from the conference: the most successful users of BI are those that make a high-level executive CONFERENCES Infoconomy regularly organises events, gathering industry leaders and end users together to review some of the day s burning issues. You can find details of forthcoming events, and how to secure your place, at: /events

4 BI FUTURES The evolution of intelligence Business intelligence needs to move from a consciousness of what s happening to actually formulating responses, says Accenture s Royce Bell. Should businesses intelligence (BI) be more like human intelligence? What might companies and their business intelligence systems look like if they processed and used information in the same way that humans do? This was the challenging question that Royce Bell, CEO of Accenture Information Management Services (AIMS), set out to explore in his keynote presentation at the Information Age Business Intelligence 2007 conference. BI today, he argues, is immature, inward facing and simplistic. Comparing modern BI with the intelligence of the human brain, he surmises that big global corporations are in the state of evolution where they are wondering where to put their left leg. Bell s thesis is that the human mind (and body), with its cells and up to 100,000 interconnections between each cell, has developed efficient and adaptive ways of dealing with problems and situations that might affect survival. These include emotion, the separation of long- and short-term memory, the ability to forget, an autonomic nervous system and consciousness. He suggests that it may be worthwhile for the modern corporation to examine some of these techniques. Certainly, BI is not working effectively for many businesses. During his recent travels, Bell said he had visited a number of banks, all of which had invested between $10 million and $50 million on large data warehouses. All of them had expected that wisdom would spring fully formed out of the databases like Athena, but it hadn t happened. There must be a place we can see where the whole thing about processing and using information is done well, says Bell. That place may be the human brain. Drawing on the ideas of Antonio Damasio, the neuroscientist and Royce Bell, Accenture author of Descartes Error: Emotion, reason and the human brain, Bell examined the way that humans use experiences to develop adaptive responses. One example is the autonomic nervous system, which enables humans to push a lot of routine measurement and adaptive responses below the level of consciousness. For example, humans control their breathing, blood pressure and blood sugar levels without thinking about them. Bell also points to the role of emotion, which neuroscientists view as a powerful way of summarising the state of an organism. Emotion is also tied closely to memory partly to ensure that relevant information is remembered and responses developed, and that unimportant information is forgotten. While the lessons from this may be a little harder to learn, there might be good reasons for which information is discarded, which is kept, and where and how it is used. Humans forget things. Those of you into content management, take note. It s important to forget things, said Bell. Bell s argument is not that BI is being used wrongly, but that the focus should be on building up the ability to formulate effective responses. Intelligence to a neuroscientist is different from intelligence to a business. [For the neuroscientist,] intelligence is a way of taking all that knowledge and formulating adaptive responses. BI should not be about end-of-month reporting or putting everything into one great data warehouse. The intelligence [in BI] needs to move from a consciousness of what s happening to actually formulating responses. That why you are hearing so 6 BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE07

5 STANDARDISATION The more the merrier For the advocates of BI standardisation, the benefits are obvious: in a consolidating market, bestof-breed vendors with narrow product lines are most at risk; buyers also benefit by having just one BI contract to manage; and buying several products from a single vendor can increase the discount. And yet the prevailing consensus emerging from the first panel debate at Business Intelligence 07 suggests that users are not yet ready to consolidate BI purchasing. For some it is a matter of familiarity and influence: Whoever is in power in a certain part of the enterprise will buy the BI tools they are familiar with, says Colin Clark, head of corporate business control for supermarket chain Somerfield. Many BI users are already in the position where they have identified which tools meet their needs, says Gerry Brown, analyst at Bloor Research. In such cases, users are likely to resist attempts to force a single BI tool on them, he adds: Users are pushing against standardisation. However, the idea of adopting BI tools from a single vendor has support in the upper echelons of the enterprise, says Noel Gorvett, group business systems manager at Pearson, where he has overseen BI standardisation at the publishing group. The higher up the organisation you go, the push-back against standardisation is eliminated, he says. And that user-resistance may be perfectly understandable, says Royce Bell, The choice of a best-of-breed or a standardised set of BI tools divides management from users. CEO of Accenture s information management practice. The attitude of one-tool-fits-all is wrong. The vendors tools might be brilliant at some things, but that doesn t mean you have to use them for everything. The benefits of choosing best-of-breed products were outlined by Clark: Small implementations of vertically targeted BI tools are preferable. I use a tool that only does fraud detection for fraud detection, and use [a desktop BI tool] for desktop BI. I wouldn t want to give everything to people who don t need it. However, Clark warned that users control over BI tools should be limited. He recounted an occasion when a business user managed to apply so many multi-layered analytical reporting tools to a stock item that he ended up valuing it at 12 million; in fact it was worth 30. You can give users the tools they want, but there is no sense-checking when they come to analyse the information. SEARCH FOR INTELLIGENCE With such entrenched support for the use of point solutions, the debate was noticeably cool on the convergence of BI with search and content management technology. The prevailing attitude was that vendors should stick to what they do best: Do we really want [BI vendors], who are great at what they do, to get into text analytics? pondered Bell. In the case of search, users must be trained to use enterprise search tools, says Somerfield s Clark. Unlike web search, enterprise search requires a degree of skill. Put garbage search terms BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE07 7

6 DECISION-MAKING Informed choices To make consistently excellent business decisions, executives need to ensure their enterprise is truly information-centric. According to Eddie Short, head of the information management practice at IT services group Capgemini, the average business leader wastes 800,000 a year by making the wrong decisions. There may be a fair few assumptions that go into calculating that figure (number of decisions, frequency of errors of judgement, etc) but it is perhaps a useful starting point when senior management are mulling over whether business intelligence tools can help them improve their capability to make the right choices. Of course, real-world examples of the costliness of poor decision-making can be even more terrifying, Short suggests. For example, in 2004 Anglo-Dutch oil company Shell was hit with 83 million in fines, after it found that 20% of its proven oil and gas reserves were not particularly proven over 4.5 billion barrels were re-categorised as not commercially accessible. The resultant furore saw its share price battered, and senior executives including the chairman, CFO and head of exploration forced to leave the company. Eddie Short, Capgemini The real impact of consistently making wrong decisions is RIP: your business will be bought by competitors or by private equity [groups], warns Short. With hindsight, it is easy enough to point to the pitfalls of poor information in cases such as Shell, says Short, but business leaders should instead focus on what they can learn from successful organisations. There is a common theme emerging at today s leading enterprises, he says: The best, world-class businesses in every sector are focused on information. For Short, it is companies such as US financial services company Capital One which best embody the spirit of making information a core business asset. While the so-called sub-prime lending market in the US is undergoing a period of upheaval, Capital One has consistently been able to identify which potential customers are likely to meet repayments, and weed out those that will not. Such success is predicated on a boardlevel understanding of how good quality information and analysis can improve performance, says Short. But the flip side of this is that businesses have to invest both time and effort in ensuring that their information systems are providing information that can be relied upon. Becoming an intelligent enterprise where information is at the heart of what the business does is more than just implementing BI tools, says Short. The difference between being information-centric and informationilliterate, is highlighted by the competitive fallout in the UK utilities market, says Short. Who is the most powerful company in that market? he asks. In the information-centric view of the world, the answer has to be uswitch not a utilities company per se, but a consumer advice website that provides price comparisons for its users, allowing them to switch provider almost at will. 8 BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE07

7 DECISION-MAKING Panel debate: Conveying the business benefits of BI The utilities companies didn t get it but they re paying the price now: there s no customer loyalty left, says Short. Organisations are overwhelmed by data today, he explains, but simply adding technology is not going to help executives make sense of it. IT management needs to work alongside business colleagues to ensure that the right information is being delivered, and that consumers of the information have trust in its veracity. In some companies, such initiatives have been instigated by charismatic leaders, who instinctively understand the importance of becoming informationcentric. Short cites Randy Mott, now CIO at Hewlett-Packard, who has led information revolutions at both computer maker Dell and retailer Wal- Mart. To its competitors, Dell s success seemed to be predicated on building reasonable PCs and selling them cheaply; blindly copying that strategy resulted in IBM eventually having to exit the market with the sale of its PC FAULTY products need not be a brand killer. When managers at supermarket juggernaut Tesco realised the full extent of their contaminated petrol problem in early March, they turned to their vast business intelligence resources in order to assess the potential damage. Although the retail giant was not the source of the silicon-tainted fuel, its managers quickly turned to the company s data analysis partner, Dunnhumby, to trawl through its vast customer and sales information databases to gauge whether disillusioned customers were not just defecting to rival garages but switching their loyalty to other superstores as a result of the petrol problem. Not only did that allow the company to target defectors and potential defectors, but it enabled it to put a figure on the potential cost of the whole embarrassing episode. Fire-fighting is not frequently cited as a driver for BI implementation, Dave Annis, UK data solutions director at Dunnhumby, told Information Age s Business Intelligence 2007 conference in London last month, yet it can clearly be a godsend for decision makers in a time of crisis. Sometimes it takes a major problem to demonstrate the power of the technology and therefore win support for BI investment from the business. It s almost easier to quantify the benefits in retrospect. The first time you implement [BI] it can be a leap of faith, he says. Dunnhumby s specialised skills in deriving value from vast databases of raw customer information puts it in a very different league from the BI teams at most organisations where BI deployments can still be limited to small groups of power users. At the UK division of Scandinavian cruise operator Hurtigruten, John Smith, the head of finance and IT, has led the deployment of BI within UK sales operations. This has helped Hurtigruten s sales teams to identify which holiday offerings are selling well and analyse booking trends across vessels and routes. Instead of receiving static reports, agents can track trends in near-real time. Quantifying the likely benefits in advance was not easy, but the improvements to its business processes are definitely there, says Smith. He also admits his dual role as head of both IT and finance made it easier for him to win project support, even when the cost benefits were difficult to pin down. At financial services organisation, the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), BI investment could be justified on another basis compliance, says Iain Hall, the organisation s head of IT. Staff need to be able to closely monitor financial performance and verify the accuracy of figures to clients. He too acknowledges the difficulty of demonstrating a return on investment through BI. But as BI becomes more pervasive across the enterprise, some question whether IT is the appropriate function to lead its deployment. IT is good at handling complexity and data, but it is not good at BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE07 9

8 BI IN ACTION Getting relevant With 1,250 stores across the country and a 30% market share double that of its nearest rival, Tesco dominates the UK supermarket sector. But it has had more than a little help in getting there. Inside the company s marketing department, one partner is singled out as instrumental in catapulting Tesco from just successful to stratospherically successful : consumer data analysis specialist Dunnhumby. When Tesco first started working with Dunnhumby in the mid-1990s, the supermarket was neck and neck with Sainsbury s. But the introduction of the Tesco ClubCard in 1995 started a flow of highly valuable data that has enabled Dunnhumby to deliver deep insight into customer buying patterns and enabled the company to successfully expand not just into new supermarket formats but increase the scope of its goods and services to cover home electronics, clothing, loans and credit cards, petrol and scores of other areas. Tesco is just one company that understands the power of analytics (other Dunnhumby clients include US grocery retailer Kroger, France s Groupe Casino, Air Miles Travel and BSkyB). What is becoming increasingly apparent is the difference between those A bold, aggressive data strategy can produce stunning results. Just ask Tesco, Krogers or some of the other giants of consumer retail. that appreciate how that added value is created and those that don t. The days when you could compete purely in price are behind us, says Dave Annis, data solutions director at Dunnhumby in the UK. He gives an illuminating example. In its analysis of purchases around Valentine's Day this year, Dunnhumby found that consumers are buying cards much earlier than they used to: large numbers especially, upmarket customers are searching out cards in the second half of January or early February. At the same time, Dunnhumby s analysts also found an unexpected spike in travel insurance purchases in the build up to 14 February. How can retailers exploit such nuggets of insight? Newsagents, stationers and supermarkets would be advised to reconsider when to give space to Valentine s promotions expensive ones, in particular although that decision needs to be backed by analysis of the impact of removing other product lines from the limited shelf space. In the case of the travel insurance spike, Dunnhumby thinks it has spotted a growing trend among young men who want to surprise their girlfriends with a romantic mini-break abroad. The opportunity for insurance companies to tap into that market, pehaps through joint mailings with travel companies, is obvious as long as they realise it exists in the first place. 20% RESPONSE RATE Establishing such value is hardly a trivial exercise: it requires a vast amount of customer and transaction data going back several years and drawn from multiple sources. It also requires a team Dave Annis, Dunnhumby which understands what they are looking for and how to get hold of it. The 12 million purchases at Tesco each week generate five billion data items. And Dunnhumby currently holds 10 terabytes of that kind of data online, and leaves 30 of its highly skilled analysts free to roam through it, says Annis. The upshot of such profound depth of analysis, according to Dave Dillon, CEO of Kroger, is relevance : The products stocked, the layout of stores, the promotions and so on are made more relevant and appealing to customers not because of managers gutfeelings and observations (as would have 10 BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE07

9 BI IN ACTION The union of BI and performance management TAKE-up of business intelligence (BI) has never been so enthusiastic. Case studies abound about how the application of BI technologies and practices can transform businesses, giving them new and deeper insights into their operations and markets. However, says Andrea Vasiliu, EMEA product marketing director at BI software provider Hyperion, business intelligence alone only provides part of the picture; there is also a distinctive role for business or corporate performance management (BPM) in maximising the effectiveness of any organisation. But the two areas of BI and performance management are not mutually exclusive. The lines between the two are blurring, says Vasiliu. But the focus should not be on trying to iron out territories; rather it should be on how these two businesscritical technologies compliment each other: Because if we look at them together we have the extended picture, we have the total picture. In this context, BI is more about the technologies and techniques used to extract and gather data from both within and outside the organisation, and its subsequent analysis. Performance management, on the other hand, enables organisations to benchmark how well they are doing against pre-determined set goals and strategic objectives. Performance management is really the connecting fabric that allows you to link strategies to plans, to monitor the executions of these plans and to drive the enterprise-wide performance, says Vasiliu. The end-game is a better understanding of the organisation and ultimately better decisions. But a primary consideration should always be the context in which the gathered information was extracted. There are a lot more factors we need to understand before we can make a decision, she says. We need to understand the context of this information, and we need to understand the timing. After the business is confident in its data sources, performance management can be applied through scorecarding and benchmarking. That it is by no means a simple process, says Vasiliu. In order to set goals, you need to know where you are today. You need to understand where the competitors are Andrea Vasiliu, Hyperion going, where you d like to be. Setting goals is not as simple as a few numbers on a page. With goals set, it is BPM s role to keep the organisation on plan. Vasiliu suggests that 90% of organisations fail to execute on their strategies. And why? It s very difficult to communicate strategy; it is also very difficult to monitor performance, she says. Irrespective of the challenge, this is a very real requirement for today s agile business. There are new pressures on organisations such as the increased requirement for transparency, not just from internal managers but from shareholders and outside regulators. These latter groups want to know much more than just financial metrics: they want hard numbers on the state of operations. Finding the right BI or business performance product set is not without its been the case historically), but because of the hard data. As such, he says, analysis replaces intuition with facts. In Tesco s case, its knowledge of customers buying patterns means it can be highly relevant in how it targets them: the company has six million variations in the offers it can make to different groups of customers at different times. If that seems extreme, just look at the response: Tesco gets a 20% response rate to its direct mailings; compared to the UK business average of 1%. We can put that all down to a lot of hard work and analysis, says Annis. ACTIONABLE DATA But achieving that relevance is not without its challenges. Embarking on such a large-scale business intelligence exercise often requires a leap of faith, says Annis. This is still a relatively new field, so the most important question is who within the business will champion it. In the case of Tesco, the backing came right from the top from the outset. Another challenge centres around the threat to individual power bases within the business posed by the extensive use of data analysis. Knowledge is power and people use data to protect their pet projects or to excuse failures, says Annis. BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE07 11

10 RESEARCH Effective BI: simple Information Age s research indicates that BI can be both empowering and constricting for users. There is a contradiction, if not a paradox, running through a lot of thinking about BI at the present: On the one hand (as books such as Tom Davenport s Competing on Analytics demonstrate), BI is increasingly being seen as a powerful tool that the best businesses adopt with passion and commitment, to great effect. On the other, repeated surveys and analyst reports show that BI often fails to live up to the business objectives of those who implement it. At a time when CIOs are investing more and more in business intelligence with the market growing at around 10% a year and when research shows CIOs have put BI at the top of their list of major concerns (Gartner), this contradiction is a major worry. It appears to imply that there is a powerful elite that are investing tens of millions in BI and analytics, doing it right and getting huge benefits. And then there is the rest failing in terms of business objectives, backward looking, and repeatedly making big mistakes. But are these perceptions accurate? Some recent research by Information Age suggests that BI is much more effective even for those outside the so-called elite group of users than many experts generally suggest. But Information Age s research also shows that if BI is to work effectively, and live up to expectations, it must be made more flexible. The first set of figures come from Information Age s annual Effective IT Survey, which asks end users to go beyond all the supplier hype and give their rankings on what really works. Of 699 polled, 43% said they use BI tools in their organisation. Of those that use it, BI gets a 92% approval rating meaning that the technology either improved service levels, or had a financially positive impact, or both. 18% of BI users said it did both. The conclusion from this large survey is that BI is not failing in most organisations even if it does sometimes fail to fulfil ultimate business objectives. In a second study, sponsored by BI software supplier Hyperion, Information Age asked businesses that had implemented BI if they actually trusted the information they were using. Over 90% of the 354 respondents were either confident or very confident that the data they are using is accurate. A similarly high number are happy the information they are using is consistent with that used by colleagues in other departments. The report also explores the issue of relevancy there is widespread belief that many BI reports are of little day-today use. But again, four out of five BI users said the information they get is relevant (although they don t necessarily read or act upon it). However, there are some problem areas. About two-thirds of organisations said that the structure of their report had changed significantly in the past two years yet most also suffered delays changing reports. If a user wants to see the data in a different way, just 10% can change it themselves. A quarter will have to wait three days. A further quarter have to wait a week or more. While there may be good technical reasons for the delays, such as the underlying data schema or the need to change fields, the users themselves say the main reason is that the IT department either gives the need to change reports a low priority, or it suffers from a lack of resources. Inflexible tools are also a problem which may be a consideration for managers looking to buy a new BI system. Half of the respondents say that their decision making and agility suffer because of delays in changing reports. When asked which features they would most like to see in their BI systems, users most wanted the ability to interact more with my reports again a demonstration that they want more control. The also want more customised reports, and more forward looking 12 BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE07

11 RESEARCH and flexible BARRIERS What are the main barriers to getting new reports built? 200 REPORT REFRESH How often is the structure of your organisation s business intelligence reports changed to reflect evolving business requirements? 35 Number of respondents Percentage (%) A B C D E 5 0 A B C D E A. Changes to reports are given a low priority by IT B. Changes to reports are given a low priority by the business C. Complexity of tools prevents end users making changes D. Lack of resources available to make changes E. Other A. B. C. D. E. The structure of most reports has been refreshed significantly during the past year Most reports have been changed significantly within the last two years Only a minority of reports have been changed during the last two years Reports have remained more-or-less static since the business reporting application was first installed Other Source: INFORMATION AGE Source: INFORMATION AGE IS BI EFFECTIVE? Those that use BI did find it... HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO CHANGE REPORTS? Immediate (11%) Ineffective, reduced service levels and cost money 2 0.7% Effective was neutral no discernable impact % Improved service levels, no savings % Improved service levels, small savings % Very effective, improved service levels and significant savings % Total % 57% of the sample of 699 do not use BI tools at all 1 week (25%) 3-5 days (15%) 1-3 days (29%) Within hours (21%) Source: INFORMATION AGE Source: INFORMATION AGE BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE07 13

12 FUTURE TRENDS Context is king Business intelligence has primarily focused on number crunching. But the addition of text analysis increases its power exponentially. There have been plenty of market watchers keen to hype up the importance of business intelligence (BI) the technology is today frequently ranked highly on the list of priorities of CIOs. And yet, spending on the technology remains largely static. One reason is that vendors are out of touch with their customers requirements, says Gerry Brown, lead BI analyst at Bloor Research. There is a disconnect between users requirements and the solutions on offer, he argues, which is clearly reflected in the buying behaviour of users, where best-of-breed point products, such as fraud detection or data quality tools, are currently favoured ahead of BI suites. This is a view endorsed by many delegates at the Business Intelligence 07 conference. BI vendors are pursuing technological advancements such as predictive analysis and real-time BI, but businesses have other priorities, says Brown. They want BI tools that can be quickly and easily implemented and they want numerical analysis to be integrated into business processes and into the supply chain. In short, businesses want BI in context. Without vendors automatically providing that context, business leaders have hitherto sought assistance from management consultants at considerable expense says Brown. But advances in technology promise to satisfy that demand for greater context. CONTENT INTELLIGENCE Brown uses the term content intelligence to describe a new and developing set of tools that combines the analytical capabilities of BI with the power to manage unstructured data provided by content management systems. Business intelligence [technology] is all about numbers, he explains, but numbers don t tell the whole story. Content intelligence combines search, text analytics, core BI functionality and data analytics to build a holistic view of events and performance, incorporating unstructured data such as s and blog posts. Consequently, raw figures from BI can be presented alongside Gerry Brown, Bloor Research relevant text, thus providing context to the analysis. Initial estimates of the value of this context are enticing: Inxight, a company whose content analysis technology is already licensed to many of the leading BI vendors, claims that it can, on average, save businesses $60 million a year by minimising the time employees have to spend sorting through unstructured data. Naturally, business leaders should retain a healthy scepticism about vendor marketing, notes Brown, but irrespective of absolute numbers, the example provides an intriguing insight into the possibilities for content intelligence. The value will be realised most at enterprises with large volumes of textbased information to analyse, says Brown. The test-beds for the technology are likely to be found at companies conducting clinical trials, fraud detection analysis or compliance testing. One early example is Shanghai General Motors, which has used text analysis tools to dramatically improve its ability to identify the causes of faults in customers vehicles, thereby improving the resolution of such issues. Consequently, its warranty costs have been cut by 34%. Most of the giants of computing are already developing content intelligence technology, says Brown: Oracle has its open search initiative ; IBM its universal management agent ; and Microsoft its business productivity infrastructure optimisation programme. All of these involve the integration of numerical analysis with text analytics. Several pure play BI vendors, such as Hyperion through its link up with Google, are embracing content intelligence by licensing search and content management technology to sit alongside their BI tools. But of most significance, says Brown, is the example of search technology vendor FAST, which is taking a unique approach. Instead of placing a search tool on top of a BI tool, so that the results of particular report can be examined in 14 BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE07

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