Europe blows business intelligence

European businesses are failing to fully realise the value of their investments in business intelligence.

European businesses are failing to fully realise the value of their investments in business intelligence.

Independent research among 250 European chief information officers, commissioned by Unisys, revealed that 60% of companies believed their current business intelligence investments had yet to bring about a significant improvement in customer management. 

Even worse, 23% said that current systems had either made no difference to customer management or actually made it worse. 

All the businesses surveyed had invested in some kind of business intelligence to help them better understand and manage the performance of their business, and 63% identified cross-selling as a critical area for business improvement. But 27% of respondents admitted they could not use existing business intelligence systems to cross-sell.  

The survey revealed that one of the key barriers to cross-selling and other intelligence-led data analysis, such as fraud detection, was the high level of manual data processing and analysis that still continued in companies.  

Nearly a third (32%) of the businesses surveyed admitted that manual processing and analysis was still required to make sense of customer data. 

Steve Rawsthorn, Unisys vice-president of sales and marketing, said, “Many companies think they have a business intelligence strategy once they purchase a business intelligence application. Businesses need to wake up to the fact that effective business intelligence isn't just about the software. Poor system performance and design creating high levels of manual analysis is one of the fastest ways to kill business user interest.”

Instead, said Rawsthorn, companies needed to move closer to “becoming 3D-visible enterprises, which allows them to link, see and analyse processes and data across their business”.

He said firms had to ensure there was an infrastructure in place that could monitor a mass of data streams in real-time to enable huge databases or information to be shared across departments, and providing sufficient storage capacity for it to be done quickly and effectively. 

Analyst Gartner forecasts that rolling out business intelligence applications will be one of the top two technology priorities for CIOs in 2005.  

The research involved telephone interviews with 250 CIOs and CMOs or their deputies in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Netherlands. All interviewees were from organisations employing more than 500 people. The survey was carried out in the last quarter of 2004.

Read more on IT risk management