Business leaders are constantly looking for evidence to support the decisions they make, and very often this comes from the data gathered and interpreted by their organisation. Companies are managing ever-greater volumes of information, creating opportunities for added insight into the way their customers think and markets work. All they need are the solutions to turn raw data into meaningful information which can shape strategic thinking in the boardroom.
With this in mind, it should come as little surprise that worldwide spending on business intelligence (BI) solutions continues to rise. According to a recent report from Research and Markets, the global BI market is now worth $13.98 billion (£8.71 billion) per year. And as companies turn to BI as a means of improving performance, this figure is expected to rise further over the coming years. Research and Markets predicts that spending on BI solutions will reach $20.81 billion per year by 2018.
"BI and analytics tools play a vital role in the simplification of complex operational activities," the firm noted. These include the tracking and monitoring of business activities, analysis and presentation of large volumes of transactions carried out by business activities, control of the execution of strategy through effective monitoring of key performance indicators, and assisting in the "slicing and dicing of the data" that is needed for the decision-making processes, Research and Markets added.
Data discovery and cloud BI 'on the rise'
Research published by Gartner in Q2 2013 pointed to a 6.8 per cent rise in spending on BI solutions over the last two years. The IT analyst said this was in line with forecasts. "The business intelligence space managed to grow by a reasonable seven per cent in 2012, despite difficult macro-conditions, being on the tail end of a spending cycle, and confusion related to emerging technology terms causing a hold on purse strings," noted Dan Sommer, principal research analyst at Gartner.
He commented that data discovery became "a mainstream architecture" in 2012, adding that those vendors which built on this paradigm gained market share. Mr Sommer added that cloud-based intelligence solutions are also starting to make an impression on the market. Cloud BI saw "substantial growth" last year, but still accounts for a smaller portion of the overall market compared with other application markets, he noted.
Microsoft's role in the BI market
The Gartner report pointed to a growing presence for Microsoft in the global BI technology market. The firm has risen to fifth place in the global rankings, with revenues rising by 12.2 per cent in 2012 compared with the previous year. This meant Microsoft enjoyed the fastest rate of growth of any of the top five market vendors - a sure sign of the growing popularity of its BI solutions. Gartner reports that, at the end of 2012, Microsoft had increased its BI market share to 9.1 per cent.
Microsoft offers a range of business intelligence services and features, incorporating dashboards and scorecards, mobile, collaboration, reporting, analysis, big data analytics, predictive analytics, enterprise information management and data warehousing. By investing in Microsoft BI solutions, organisations can empower users of all levels with new insights through familiar tools. This can be achieved while balancing the need for IT to monitor and manage user created content.
BI solutions deliver access to all data types across structured and unstructured sources - giving end-users the opportunity to benefit from the knowledge gained by their organisation. By analysing and interpreting data, your people can make better decisions - both in the boardroom and on the front line.
Learn more about Microsoft business intelligence solutions by clicking here.
Posted by Alex Boardman