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Untitled Document

The BI Scenario



What's Wrong With BI? - Traditional Business Intelligence (BI) vendors are failing to give their customers an effective way to access and present data, and yet BI is so important that companies continue to invest in it. The fundamental question BI attempts to answer is how executives and managers can use information to make insightful decisions and take profitable action. Unfortunately, many of the BI platform vendors of the last 15 years introduced more problems than they solved. As Nigel Pendse, the author of the seventh annual BI survey concludes, "The reason BI implementations remain small and self-contained is that large BI applications … do not confer benefit concomitant with their cost and complexity of management."

To the Rescue - Now a new generation of BI providers offers effective solutions based on innovative web technologies and delivery models. With the availability of high-quality, plug-and-play, SaaS-based solutions, companies can recommit to their core competencies while IT outsources the applications that, while mission-critical, do not have to be kept in house to provide competitive differentiation.

SaaS is Ready? - The technology and services behind SaaS offerings are now mature enough to support the delivery of a wide range of BI solutions. Security infrastructure has advanced to the point that IT can be comfortable making data available. In addition, BI is no longer limited to large-scale platforms but can start small with pilot programs among an organization's power users and then expand throughout the enterprise. Finally, a SaaS BI offering does not require a company to dedicate its own resources to deploying, managing, and supporting the application. Unlike in-house developed or traditional on-premise BI solutions, SaaS-based product enhancements are always current and compatible via web services, eliminating the effort, cost, and risk of both initial implementation and ongoing maintenance.

Evaluating SaaS BI

Security - A good SaaS BI provider should be able to answer any question and provide evidence of the steps it has taken to ensure the integrity of critical data. Ascertain that the provider meets stringent SaS 70 Type 2 compliance requirements and maintains an impenetrable facility, that the hosted software uses 128-bit SSL when conducting data transactions, and that the application can integrate with existing security protocols such as LDAP, creating access profiles and granting privileges at the user or group level.

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