The gap in business intelligence usage in HK

Local companies are reluctant to invest in business intelligence software, choosing to focus on the cost involved and not the business advantage, said George Kane, regional manager for Brio Technology South East Asia.

In contrast, "some multinational companies (MNCs) understand it better, and implement it faster and sooner," said Kane. In today's competitive business environment, "companies need to know who their best salesman is, their most profitable product, and which brands are losing money," he said.

An example of this gap in IT usage is seen in the financial services industry, said Kane. "The foreign banks are yards ahead of local banks and insurance companies, in implementing business intelligence." However, Kane recognises that the reticence to adopt business intelligence technologies could be linked to a distrust of IT vendors, as "so many have been here selling snake-oil."

From a business perspective, local firms could also be wary that some IT vendors "may not be around the next year." In addition, it could also boil down to the rapid rate of technology renewal. "While a company may spend thousands adopting a technology, the next generation down the road could appear a few months later," said Kane. Still, the competitive advantage offered by such technologies cannot be ignored. "It is still a gap, and that's a problem," said Kane. "To compete globally, you need to implement such systems."

Integrated suite

At the press conference by Brio Technology, the company announced the release of an integrated business intelligence software capable of retrieving, analysing and reporting information over the Internet.

The software, called Brio One, comprises Brio.Enterprise, Brio.Report, and Brio.Portal. The suite's latest addition is Brio's Internet-enabled software which allows companies to analyse complex reports and data structures with Sqribe technology that allows companies to gather data using data warehouses. Brio had purchased Sqribe Technologies earlier this year.

"With the general availability of Brio Enterprise 6.0 and its synergies with Sqribe Technology's SQR and ReportMart products, we believe Brio offers a one-stop business intelligence offering," said Cess van Heemert.

With Brio Enterprise 6.0, Brio has enhanced support for multi-dimensional databases (MDDB) with native support for the leading MDDB connectivity APIs, while the Brio Portal 6.0 is designed to allow for personalisation of the information needed by individuals within a corporate intranet. It also provides for a more personalisation of the user's interface. For instance, the software's new event server provides subscription, scheduling and broadcast services individualised for users.

The browser-based product gives users the ability to produce reports from corporate databases and update content stored there. It works in conjunction with applications from SAP AG, Oracle and PeopleSoft Brio said. Because of expanded XML (Extensible Markup Language) support, the portal integrates with such applications, said Brio.

Brio intends to set up four offices in the region, with a Singapore office likely to materialise early next year. It already has offices in Sydney and Tokyo, with a Hong Kong office opening at year-end.

With a customer base of 15 in Singapore, Brio is also working to increase its distributor base. Dynamic Software Distribution has been appointed distributor, with resellers in place like AdLine and PMSoft. Brio Technology is at www.brio.com.

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