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Editor's note: Join ebizQ for BPM in Action on June 23, 2010.

Like many large enterprises with sizeable investments in on-premise systems, VF Corporation - Asia reached a fork in the business intelligence (BI) road. CIO Max Chan said in this post:

"When an operational review revealed only a fraction of the enterprise data in our global BI platform was accessible by decision makers in our Asia-Pacific region, we decided to reassess our strategy."

The manufacturer of Wrangler, Lee, JanSport and other brands augmented its on-premise BI system with SaaS BI - a decision that illustrates the tectonic shift several years ago when organizations began to move from legacy BI environments towards new approaches for tapping internal and Cloud data. No longer the purview of "early adopters," these affordable, secure and easy-use Cloud analytics approaches are now the norm.

CIOs like Chan at VF Corporation and Ken Harris at Shaklee Corporation are at the forefront of what I call the "New BI" era, where SaaS-based BI technology is helping enterprises achieve BI wins faster than ever before. These approaches allow CIOs and line-of-business executives to reduce the burden, cost and lag time associated with traditional business intelligence approaches - freeing IT to drive the strategic direction of BI environments while business focuses on improving performance.

Wisdom of Crowds

Author and former Gartner Research Fellow Howard Dresner illustrates this trend in his groundbreaking "Wisdom of Crowds" Business Intelligence Market Study™. His study classifies vendors as "Titans" (SAP/Business Objects, IBM/Cognos, Microsoft and Oracle) and a host of "Established Pure-plays" and "Emerging" vendors.

His findings underscore the inflection point I discussed earlier when companies shifted away from traditional on-premise Business Intelligence software in favor of solutions from "Emerging" BI vendors (pure SaaS BI, open source, visualization tools and desktop tools) that offer greater technical innovation, customer support, and overall value.

I find it interesting that these trends are redefining user expectations around time to value. Most of the business and IT executives I speak with no longer measure BI deployments in months or years, but days and weeks.


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