BI enabling decisions at Internet speed

The need to make fast decisions in the Internet economy is driving the adoption of business intelligence (BI) tools which support organizations in information delivery and reporting.

Research organization, International Data Corp. (IDC) forecasts that the Web-based end user query and reporting market will grow to US$6.2 billion, at a compound annual growth rate of about 64.2 percent by 2005.

A key element of a successful BI strategy is ensuring that users have access to information anytime, anywhere, said Pete Cittadini, president and chief executive officer of Actuate Corp.

Business intelligence tools deliver querying, reporting and online analytical processing capabilities to users. With the rise of the Internet and e-commerce, businesses accumulate large amounts of data in a relatively short amount of time. To be successful, they have to provide their departments, as well as their customers, with the most useful data and they have to get it to them fast, he said.

"To this end, information delivery draws users into a multi-faceted electronic interaction with the organization. Companies need to provide customers, partners and employees with quick and easy access to operational data from other systems such as customer relationship management systems, supply chain applications and other sources," he said.

Such a system makes available information such as service level information, transaction histories, performance summaries, manufacturing and distribution status and customer account information to customers, partners and employees. And the information has to be available in real time if companies are to stay in the game, added Cittadini.

With more intranet and extranet deployments, there is expected to be an increase in the demand for query and reporting tools. Employees, customers and partners must be able to access real-time operational information both inside and beyond the firewall.

"At the end of the day, organizations that can provide access to real-time information can exploit the asset to make decisions quickly and effectively. This will in turn increase customer satisfaction and retention, which in the long run will increase company revenues," said Cittadini.

Actuate, based in the U.S., provides information delivery solutions for customer applications -- including e-customer relationship management, e-procurement and net marketplaces. Its office in Singapore has about five staff. This is expected to increase to about 30 people within the next 18 months.

The company's flagship product, Actuate 5 allows users to create, manage and deliver secure, pre-formatted content that is seamlessly integrated with the rest of a company's Web site using operational data from multiple sources.

The company's offerings are targeted at organizations in the financial, telecommunications and high tech sectors. Its worldwide customers include American Express, Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and Prudential.

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