Dashboards: Growth and Applications
Business intelligence has seized center-stage in corporate America; investments in business intelligence were one of the top ten priorities for CIOs in 2004 according to a Gartner survey. Dashboards are getting to be as ubiquitous in corporate America as control systems in continuous process industries. Just like control systems read the pulse of production activity in continuous process industries, dashboards monitor the flow of activity in an enterprise and provide the data for decision-making. On the rebound from disappointment in the returns earned from IT in the late 1990s, corporate America sees in business intelligence a means to extract business value from their investments in technology.
The trend towards increased expenditure in business intelligence is likely to gather momentum in the medium-term future. A confluence of three mega-trends is encouraging companies to continue to invest in business intelligence. Regulatory compliance, the Sarbanes-Oxley and Basel II, the pressure to increase productivity and the need to gain transparency into the fuzzy front end of innovation are the compelling drivers for increasing the demand for business intelligence systems.
Today’s corporate governance regulations require business leaders to remain on top of all transactions in their companies besides their traditional role of providing strategic direction to their companies which is impossible without assistance from technology. Similarly, a new approach to risk management, spelt out by Basel II and Sarbanes-Oxley, requires monitoring of all operational risks inherent in the daily activities of businesses.
Business intelligence has been the foundation for the record growth in productivity growth in the USA. The ability of dashboards to provide visibility to business activity helps to uncover opportunities for efficient use of resources; it is now possible for companies to zero down on opportunities for cost reduction in any corner of the enterprise including among its partners.
The acceleration of outsourcing of mature industries to emerging markets in India and China has increased the urgency of innovation in corporate America. The fuzzy front-end of innovation, the absence of visibility about consumer need and the costs of new products, has been an enduring barrier to innovation and the cause of its low rates of commercial success. Business intelligence is helping to lower the cost of innovation.
According to an international survey of businesses, Gartner found that expenditures on business intelligence will accelerate in the future. In a sample of 917 businesses spread across the US, Canada, Germany, France, UK, China, Japan and Australia of various industries and sizes, 39 percent said they need to increase their expenditure on business intelligence while 34% said they would keep it at the same level.
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