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European IT buyers prioritise BI and data management over ERP and CRM

Data warehousing and business intelligence top dogs in the UK, finds 2016 TechTarget IT spending priorities survey

European IT buyers were more committed to spending their money on business intelligence (BI) and data warehousing software initiatives than on packaged business applications, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM), revealed the 2016 TechTarget IT spending priorities survey.

As a category, only mobile applications come out ahead of data warehousing, BI and analytics, with 26% making it a priority initiative in Europe, the same as in 2015. This is well ahead of the 2016 figure for packaged applications (such as ERP and CRM) at 19%.

In the UK, however, business intelligence, analytics and data warehousing tops the investment poll for enterprise software, at 27%. The survey also showed European budgets to be flat across this preferred enterprise software area of data management.

The 142 UK respondents (compared with a total of 725 European respondents) have invested relatively heavily in all information management disciplines, with 26% committed to data integration.

Germans like big data, IoT

Some 26% of German respondents were undertaking big data management programmes, compared with only 13% of the UK sample. This could imply that while UK IT organisations are on a par with their German counterparts when it comes to analysing big data (21% and 23% respectively), the Germans are putting more effort into managing it.

The Germans were also slightly ahead on internet of things (IoT) applications (11% against 9%) though this may reflect the greater industrial strength of the German economy, with its emphasis on what it calls "Industrie 4.0", namely adding digital intelligence to machinery.

French IT buyers, as with their British counterparts, put big data analytics ahead of big data management (20% and 17% respectively) but showed a much greater interest in NoSQL database management systems than respondents from the two other big European markets.

The UK appears to be exhibiting a pattern similar to the US, where, as Computer Weekly's US sister publication SearchBusinessAnalytics puts it, "despite the continued prominence of big data and growing interest in advanced analytics practices, traditional business intelligence, analytics and data warehousing remain a top priority for most businesses".

Both UK and US respondents placed emphasis on data integration -- 26% in the UK, 18.5% in the US. The German figure is also high, at 19%, but French interest remains low, at 11%.

Data integration becomes more important as data sources -- reservoirs of unstructured information, as well as data from traditional databases and data warehouses -- proliferate. The US and UK markets show signs of being further down the road than the French market, which is why both may be re-prioritising data warehousing and BI.

Data visualisation makes an appearance

This is the first year the survey asked users about their plans to use data visualisation technologies. Tools such as those from Qlik and Tableau are important to what Gartner, in its most recent Magic Quadrant on business intelligence and analyics platforms, has decided to christen "modern BI".

This is based on user self-service, to distinguish it from traditional system of record BI, which often depends on IT (or some other specialist information services function) creating reports for users.

Germany and the UK seem to be leading the way on the implementation of data visualisation (20% and 19% respectively), while the US market is also showing decent interest (16.1%), with France a little further behind (11%).

Carsten Bange, founder and CEO of BARC, an organisation that specialises in surveying the global business intelligence market, told Computer Weekly in a recent interview that "self-service BI, sometimes called data discovery, is essentially about enabling the business user to do more with data. Data integration is also a big driver for business users who often want to bring in their own data sources. The standard IT process, which is about quality and availability, is not the chief concern for a business user, who wants speed, agility, flexibility".

This is, said Bange, creating a fresh impetus for new data governance initiatives to encompass self-service BI, operational business intelligence, and the big data pools (often residing in Hadoop clusters) that are appearing alongside data warehouses.

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