Company CEOs and CFOs must allocate budget for business intelligence (BI) implementations if they want to ensure maximum return on their investment in the wide range of information technology (IT) applications typically used in business today.

This is according to Paul Morgan, MD of ASYST Intelligence, who adds: "Companies have spent huge sums of money on various IT applications to improve business processes and function, from enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) systems to supply chain, financial and human resources management solutions.
“These solutions provide valuable insight into different areas of the business but companies are still struggling to get a single accurate view of what’s happening or how the different areas relate to each other. Then there is the issue of disseminating this intelligence throughout the organisation.
“BI tools can assist companies in accessing the information they need from disparate systems, turn it into intelligence and distribute it timeously across the business to facilitate improved decision making. In doing so, BI also enables companies to get real value out of their existing IT systems.
“With increasing strain on shrinking IT budgets, companies want good return on investment. BI can deliver results fast, offering quick returns. Basically BI is good value for money,” says Morgan.
“There is a huge need for basic BI in South African companies to facilitate fast, accurate reporting of information from different areas of the business.
“At the moment, reports are too manual. It takes to long to consolidate information from various parts of the business and prepare reports. The result is that information reaches the people that need to see it, too late. Data needs to be hot, not past its sell-by date, otherwise it is useless. BI ensures that the right information is delivered at the right time.”
Morgan adds that BI is also an important and useful tool for driving performance management because companies are able to monitor and measure performance against company objectives and then feedback this information to the organisation and employees almost instantly.
“People are driven by results and companies will be more likely to get the necessary buy-in from employees if they can give them an accurate picture of how the business is performing and show how employee performance affects overall company performance.
n addition to helping drive performance management, BI can assist companies in complying with the statutory reporting requirements of their industry, thus ensuring better corporate governance.”