Business intelligence (BI) solutions provider BITanium has partnered with global enterprise software giant MicroStrategy to deliver off-site BI solutions to South African enterprises.
Chris O’Connell, BITanium MD, says BITanium, one of  the biggest MicroStrategy integration partner in South Africa and MicroStrategy’s Partners of the Year for 2012, now offers customers a hosted BI solution around MicroStrategy’s world leading technology.

The solution was launched to selected customers late last year, providing customised and cost-effective BI capability with a rapid time to implementation.

Among the early adopters is the HR department of a multi-national pharmaceutical firm, which has offices across Africa.
“They are seeing a substantial saving on capex, in addition to benefiting from advanced BI capabilities and reduced risk,” says O’Connell. “Where in the past, they may have relied on e-mailed spreadsheets, with the associated risks of error and fraud, they are now able to collaborate on secure, cloud-based platforms using interactive dashboards which can be pushed to mobile.”

The pharmaceutical firm HR department, managing upwards of 1 000 employees across multiple locations in Africa and the Middle East, had been collaborating through e-mailed spreadsheets among an estimated  20 users, says O’Connell.
“This was very complex and time consuming, and not particularly reliable. Because BI cannot be ‘one size fits all’, we built a data capture component for them in line with their particular needs.
“Now all data is captured and maintained online, with reporting immediately available across the continent. The new system is much more responsive, accurate and allows for better control. They have been delighted with the improved efficiencies and accuracy delivered by the system.”

“By taking MicroStrategy BI to customers in a hosted solution, even smaller businesses and individual departments within large enterprises are able to rapidly and cost-effectively benefit from award-winning BI tools,” he says.

Brent Aitken, MicroStrategy’s alliance and channel director, SADC and sub-Saharan Africa, says a number of  organisations in South Africa are now looking to outsource their BI.
“This has been a  growth trend in many overseas markets for some time, and local companies are starting to follow suit.”

“By outsourcing, they can put a solution in place relatively inexpensively and at low risk, allowing them to focus on their core business,” he says. “It mitigates risk in the investment in hardware and staff; and regarding data security concerns, the platform is bulletproof.”

O’Connell expects growth in uptake of the new solution, due to its ability to deliver advanced functionality within a short time frame, along with support and skills that may not be available in-house.

“It could be up and running in a matter of days or weeks, rather than months or years,” he says. “Because it is a fully outsourced solution, including set-up and management, small businesses and departments can benefit from BI with no risk and minimal outlay,” he says.

“We’ve barely started marketing this capability, but we are already seeing strong interest. Local companies are seeing the benefits of accessing top end BI and skills – it is a good way to optimally leverage expertise available in South Africa.”