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Colin White

I like the various blogs associated with my many hobbies and even those to do with work. I find them very useful and I was excited when the Business Intelligence Network invited me to write my very own blog. At last I now have somewhere to park all the various tidbits that I know are useful, but I am not sure what to do with. I am interested in a wide range of information technologies and so you might find my thoughts will bounce around a bit. I hope these thoughts will provoke some interesting discussions.

About the author >

Colin White is the founder of BI Research and president of DataBase Associates Inc. As an analyst, educator and writer, he is well known for his in-depth knowledge of data management, information integration, and business intelligence technologies and how they can be used for building the smart and agile business. With many years of IT experience, he has consulted for dozens of companies throughout the world and is a frequent speaker at leading IT events. Colin has written numerous articles and papers on deploying new and evolving information technologies for business benefit and is a regular contributor to several leading print- and web-based industry journals. For ten years he was the conference chair of the Shared Insights Portals, Content Management, and Collaboration conference. He was also the conference director of the DB/EXPO trade show and conference.

Editor's Note: More articles and resources are available in Colin's BeyeNETWORK Expert Channel. Be sure to visit today!

Over the past few weeks I've attended briefings about upcoming product releases from Cognos, Hyperion and SAP. What struck me about these briefings was that these vendors were not only focused on creating integrated BI product sets, but also on bringing business planning into the mix. It appears that BI vendors have at last woken up to the fact that for BI-driven business performance management to be successful it must be closely tied to business planning. Interestingly, just as I started writing this entry Business Objects announced that were acquiring SRC Software, a mid-market planning and budgeting vendor.

Every major BI vendor claims to support BI-driven business performance management (BPM). In reality, many of these products are simply business dashboards that create fancy displays of business metrics.

A "true" BPM product not only creates and displays business metrics, but also ties those metrics back to business goals and targets. This allows business users to compare actuals against plans and to take actions when targets are in jeopardy.

As BI applications have been moving gradually towards supporting a BPM environment, business planning has also been changing. Companies are moving away from spreadsheet chaos and toward the use of shared Web-based and desktop-based planning systems. At the same time, these companies are also looking beyond budgeting in the planning process. They are also taking into account factors like employee retention, and customer retention and satisfaction, into account.

Cognos, Hyperion and SAP all have planning products and they have begun to realize that integrating business planning with business intelligence gives them a competitive edge over BI competitors such as Business Objects and Microstrategy.

When Cognos acquired Adaytum, Business Objects said this was a mistake because the financial planning marketplace was a mature and saturated. Business Objects has been proved wrong. Companies are expanding their planning processes and are looking to acquire more advanced planning systems. As they deploy these systems, these companies will quickly realize the importance of have an integrated BI environment that enables them to validate plans and iteratively modify them as business circumstances change.

It would appear that Business Objects in acquiring SRC has realized its mistake. As always it's not only a matter of providing functionality, but also of integrating that functionality with existing products. There is no question that Cognos, Hyperion and SAP have a head start here. The key point to note, however, is that business planning is now becoming a key component of the BI environment.

Posted July 21, 2005 8:27 AM
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1 Comment

I think that while larger companies like Business Objects have missed this key component with BI, smaller companies such as ours, have been doing this for years. A close personal relationship with clients allow for this overall communication of business strategy development.

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