The need to digitise and manage increasing volumes of data, coupled with the expansion of e-governance initiatives, will drive the uptake of business intelligence (BI) tools in sub-Saharan Africa – with South Africa leading the charge.

Analysis from Frost & Sullivan finds the total value of the sub-Saharan African business intelligence software tools market for 2007 to be $759-million and estimates that this will increase at a compound annual growth rate of 10.1% between 2006 and 2013.
"Sub-Saharan Africa's BI software tools market is set to continue experiencing double digit growth, despite the global market slowing down," notes Frost & Sullivan industry analyst Lindsey Mc Donald. "South Africa currently contributes more than 60% of the total revenues, but there
is high potential for growth in the rest of the region."
Market prospects are mainly limited by a lack of technical expertise to effectively implement and support BI tools. In addition, uncertainties about return on investment (ROI) and the ineffective integration of legacy systems and new solutions are restricting demand.
"Uncertain ROI timeframes are dampening market potential as organisations are concerned about the costs involved," Mc Donald says. "Most BI tools need to be installed for an extended period of time before companies realise the benefits."
The introduction of more consolidated, user-friendly, end-to-end BI tools that require limited technical skill for implementation and support will accelerate market growth. The development of reliable, high-performance systems, effective distribution channels and good product price range will also be key to successful market penetration.