Thursday, 17th January 2008
Tim Buckley Owen
Is the economic slowdown affecting business information? Two major analysts have come out with reports on the same day each striking a distinct note of caution about the industry’s prospects.
In its Information Industry Market Size and Share Rankings: Preliminary 2007 Results http://www.outsellinc.com/store/products/546 Outsell reports a slowdown in revenue growth from 6% in 2006 to 5.3% in 2007. It’s hardly cataclysmic, but it did come on the same day as another report from Gartner predicting a decline in the recent strong growth in business intelligence.
Speaking ahead of their BI Summit in Amsterdam http://www.gartner.com/it/page.jsp?id=580708 Gartner analysts said that they expected worldwide growth rates in 2007 to be slightly lower than the previous year at 12.5%, moving into single digits by 2011. However, they also made clear that this was nothing to do with any economic slowdown but merely reflected market realities – realities from which information professionals ought to be able to profit.
BI remains mission critical for businesses, as it turns information into an asset for deriving insight and making decisions, Gartner confirms. But senior research analyst Dan Sommer added that increased BI innovation also meant that query, reporting and online analytical processing capabilities had reached parity and no longer delivered competitive edge.
Most vendors now include these basic BI capabilities in their product stacks, he says – citing Microsoft, which added more BI functionalities in its SQL Server 2005, Office 2007 and PerformancePoint Server. That’s all very well, but such tools are of little help if legacy problems militate against their effective use.
An Economist Intelligence Unit report, Business Intelligence: Putting Enterprise Data to Work http://digbig.com/4wfrk (featured in VIP 49 last December) found that one of the biggest stumbling blocks to effective intelligence sharing across the organisation remained data stored in separate silos – something that the BI capabilities now routinely offered by system vendors were presumably supposed to address. So if internal systems can’t achieve it, might the external aggregators have something useful to offer?
In an alliance with Conquest Systems Inc, LexisNexis has just launched a new service aggregating over 100 licensed and public domain statistical datasets to make 750 million data points accessible within a single interface. Statistical Datasets http://www.lexisnexis.com/about/releases/1030.asp enables researchers to build their own statistical tables from multiple sources.
The big aggregators have been in the silo demolition business for years, and have worked hard with intermediaries to turn their fragmented offerings into useful public domain business intelligence tools. Outsell predicted last September http://web.vivavip.com/forum/LiveWire/read.php?i=477 that
search, aggregation and syndication would continue its rapid growth at other information sectors’ expense.
So maybe the fierce competition among business intelligence solution providers will give aggregators – and the intermediary customers who work with them – the opportunity they need.
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