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Business intelligence is business-critical in India

Anup Basti

Indian businesses will spend 6.88bn INR on business intelligence (BI) software this year as a result of a 16% increase in demand for analytics applications, BI platforms, and software for corporate performance management (CPM), according to analyst firm Gartner.

Gartner said business intelligence is becoming increasingly important as senior executives look to different styles of analytics to resolve business challenges.

Increased focus on BI

Ian Bertram, managing vice-president at Gartner, said there is an increased emphasis on metrics management and growing use of performance management. “In many industries, especially the regulated ones, such as telecom and financial services, clients are setting up dedicated competency centers focused on the use of information,” he said.   

He added that software and service providers are increasing marketing spend on business intelligence, which is increasing visibility among Indian businesses.

According to Bhavish Sood, research director at Gartner, Indian enterprises adopting business intelligence have the advantage of benefiting from earlier adopters in developed markets, rather than needing to build their approaches from the ground up.

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Ronee Roy, digital marketer at Web Spiders, said: “In a data-driven era, good business intelligence forms the core of any company. With the right implementation of business intelligence tools, organizations can churn out effective strategy, which in turn helps them to garner long-term stability.”

Soumendra Jena, the CEO at Qubesys Technologies said the company uses business intelligence tools to help it support its customers. “It helps us for all kinds of reporting and analysis of complex data in a more user-friendly manner. We have used Crystal Reports, OpenERP, and SugarCRM among others for our business processes.”

Analyst organisation Research and Markets said in its report, Business Intelligence & Analytics Market in India 2013 , that technological advancements, like tablets and Smartphones, and their growing acceptance in the health, retail, and financial services sectors will fuel the Indian business intelligence and analytics market.

Research and Markets said the combined business intelligence and analytics market in India was valued at around 10bn INR in 2012 and is expected to grow 22% a year between 2012 and 2017.

"The need to gather, analyze and generate insightful reports from extensive amounts of data and information across industry verticals pushes the demand for business intelligence applications,” said the report. “Some of the key drivers include advent of smartphones, rise in usage amongst SMBs, increase in adoption by the financial sector and emergence of new technologies.”

Democratization of BI

Dhiren Gala, a marketing communications specialist at Syntel in India, said business intelligence was once the field of a limited number of expert users. “It has come a long way. Through the democratization of business intelligence, placing required information in the right hands at the right time for many users has become true.”

Research and Markets’ report said the factors hindering the market include a skills shortage. It said that, although Indian CIOs are working towards gaining non-IT competencies for business intelligence, there is a dearth of talent across all fields of data management in firms. And this hinders the adoption of business intelligence initiatives.

Gartner said Indian CIOs are gaining a better understanding of the non-IT competences required for successful BI implementation. “A general lack of talent across all fields of information management in organizations will continue to be the critical barrier to their successful adoption of  business intelligence initiatives,” said the analyst firm.

In India, with its substantial population, individuals who understand and translate big data are highly valuable. Indian enterprises are seeking professionals who can handle heterogeneous data and analyze it to help businesses find value in it.

Despite the scope associated with this emerging role, very few universities offer courses in predictive analytics or a degree in data science. Companies may consider an inorganic model for fostering data scientists in the company.