The power of executive dashboards

Electricity supplier begins BI upgrade

Electricity supplier Western Power is standardizing its business intelligience and executive information reporting systems in an upgrade that is set to reach completion in December this year.

Western Power CIO, Leigh Sprlyan, said the organization wanted to move to one product on one platform and selected the next-generation Cognos 8 solution.

Sprlyan said the organization required a solution that enabled it to create, deploy and manage an executive dashboard while maintaining its existing BI and enterprise planning environment to 500 users.

The solution provides integrated dashboard capabilities and Web-based architecture to streamline management and deployment of the dashboards and general BI information.

It is also available on a single, Web-based services-oriented architecture (SOA).

"Through this solution we will be able to provide both executive management and general BI users with more reliable and centralised information that will help us gain better insight into our business and make better decisions to fuel our growth," Sprlyan said.

Western Power provides the distribution and transmission of electricity in the south west of Western Australia.

Owned by the West Australian government as a corporation, it has more than 140 substations and 721,000 poles, and delivers electricity services to approximately 840,000 properties.

Only last month Gartner released a global survey of 1400 CIOs, which found BI projects are the number one technology priority for 2007 with revenue expected to grow 12 percent in Australia topping A$100 million (US$79.2 million).

The research firm said BI platform revenue in Australia will grow at an annual compound growth rate of 10 percent to reach more than A$143 million by 2010.

This will create a tough market for software vendors with Gartner predicting that BI revenue from the "mega vendors" such as Oracle, SAP AG and Microsoft to grow three times faster than revenues from the pure-play BI vendors in 2007.

Worldwide BI revenue from the "mega vendors" will grow 20 percent in 2007 compared to six percent for the pure-play vendors.

In 2006 the "mega vendors" had just over 20 percent of the global BI market and Gartner predicts this will increase to more than 30 percent by 2010.

However, Gartner analyst Jamie Popkin also warned there isn't a great deal of difference between BI product choices as they are all very similar.

"A BI strategy demands a full application rationalization [stripping unnecessary software] before modernization [introducing BI solutions]. One of the biggest pitfalls is when business skips the rationalizing and they end up piling BI on top of unnecessary software," he said.

Another local organization that recently standardized on Cognos 8 is Centrelink.

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