Gartner is forecasting robust growth in sales of business intelligence (BI) software across Europe during the next five years, with demand expected to be strongest in Eastern Europe, Greece and Spain. The UK, however, will remain the largest single market for BI products in Europe, as a result of the size of the country’s financial services sector. It will grow from a value of $157 million in 2002 to $238 million in 2007, according to Gartner.
There will be four key drivers of growth in the BI market in Europe. The first is the introduction of new corporate governance regulations, including the US’s Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which has implications for European companies doing
business across the Atlantic.
These corporate governance regulations require organisations to have an unprecedented ability to access current and detailed information, says Gartner, particularly for the purpose of more open and timely external reporting.
The second involves “unfinished ERP business”, in which companies re-visit enterprise resource planning (ERP) implementations from the 1990s as they bid to improve their managerial processes.
The third factor is the need for better controls and metrics as companies try to steer a path through the weak economy. Finally, there is the need to improve competitiveness by increasing the speed of internal decision-making.
But Gartner warns that there are a number of inhibitors that threaten the success of many BI projects.
While good BI implementations can expose hidden costs and help support programmes of change management, there will be individuals within the organisation who will be wary of BI’s benefits, says Gartner. In particular, middle managers sometimes show resistance, fearful that BI applications will undermine their roles.
Furthermore, while the current business culture is encouraging short, straightforward and above all, low-cost projects that can provide a good return on investment, BI projects can also lead to integration issues later on, warns Gartner.