Business Intelligence Software
Business Intelligence Software are software designed specifically for aiding organizations in making speedier, effective and more accurate decisions. They do not make the decisions on their own but result in facilitating in decision-making. They keep track of organizational activities and they generate reports which are analyzed by the management and they can come up with decisions based on these reports.
Business Intelligence Software has numerous benefits for the organizations adopting them. These benefits include aid in setting targets for organizations, seeing how much closer the organization is in reaching those targets and which factors are influential in dictating the movement of the organization in the desired direction (IBM).
Another benefit of Business Intelligence Software which is recognized is that they identify the trends and the opportunities for the organization and which things may eventually became threats for the organization in the long run.
Business Intelligence Softwares can also integrate the different departments in a central manner creating an effective channel of communication which reduces repetition of data and saves organizational resources.
Sources and Capabilities of Business Intelligence Software
The sources of Business Intelligence Software have increased exponentially. Many companies have entered the playing field for developing these software which are made to support the business requirements as specified by organizations. Aside from the regular off-the-shelf type software such as ERP software and other Microsoft Office tools which aid in the operations of the business, the general shift has been towards open-source software made to accommodate the task of Business Intelligence Software.
Examples of companies such as Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP/Perl/Python (LAMP) have entered into the field of developing Business Intelligence Software (North, 2006). They provide the source code of the basic program, and in-house programmers of the organization can modify the system to match their individual requirements and modify the source code to best suit the organization’s processes and desired variable reports. However, the main leaders in developing business intelligence software are still the major companies of IBM, Microsoft, SAP and Oracle.
The capabilities recognized by IBM regarding its Business Intelligence are the functions of Reporting, Analysis, Scorecarding (which relates to building easy to comprehend scorecards for the understanding of managers) and developing Dashboards (this is a function where communication is quickly delivered to all the concerned parties and they can view the information in a central location) (IBM).
With respect to Oracle, its capabilities are directed towards continued enhancements of its product line and providing a strong customer response cell which deals with customers problems and offers solutions in a timely and effective manner (ORACLE).
Microsoft (Dynamics and Office Business Scorecard Manager) combined provide the capability of providing a common purpose to the entire staff and to help in analyzing the trends and other business process of the organization (Microsoft, 2005). SAP also brings together powerful analysis tools and planning and simulation capabilities in its Netweaver Business Intelligence Software. It is also open sourced to aid in further developments in the program (SAP).
So we can see the capabilities of the different companies differ in the manner of the services that they provide to their clients.
Hardware and Software Requirements of Business Intelligence Software
Relating to the Oracle Business Intelligence Software, the minimum hardware requirements recognized by the manufacturer: the processor type should be HP-UX Itanium with a processor speed of 400MHz or faster. The minimum memory requirement is 512 MB but a preferential size would be 1 GB for every Oracle Business Intelligence application installed. Therefore a disk space of 3.36GB is recommended. A 256 color monitor display would suffice for the visuals (ORACLE, 2005).
The software requirements recognized can be branched into various different categories. The first category is the operating system requirement for the computer hosting the middle tier is Microsoft Windows 2003 (64 bit) with Service Pack 1 or later. There are similar other requirements listed which can tell about the different software requirements for Oracle (ORACLE, 2005).
Other manufacturers have similar requirements for their products which are listed on their official websites and it can be noted that on an organizational level the requirements are not too hard to meet and organizations can comfortably afford to meet them and use the Business Intelligence Softwares to gain competitive edge over their competitors.
Vendors of Business Intelligence Software
The major vendors identified for the Business Intelligence Software industry were Business Objects, Cognos, Microsoft, Hyperion and SAS. They all led the market but the leader in terms of growth over the period was Microsoft and has managed to show the most growth amongst the competitors (Henschen, 2007).
With regards to the service provided by the major vendors, Microsoft provides the best products thanks to its aggressive pricing and its reach into the market. it has been able to capture the market share on those reasons and consolidated itself thanks to the simplicity of Excel which Microsoft uses as the front for its Business Intelligence Software.
IBM. (n.d.). Business Intelligence. Retrieved May 1, 2009, from IBM: http://www-01.ibm.com/software/data/businessintelligence/
Microsoft. (2005, November 3). Business intelligence software: Office Business Scorecard Manager. Retrieved May 1, 2009, from Microsoft.com: http://www.microsoft.com/dynamics/product/business_scorecard_manager.mspx
North, K. (2006). Open Source BI: The Great Leap Forward. Retrieved May 2, 2009, from SQLSummit: http://www.sqlsummit.com/Trends/OpenSourceBI.htm
ORACLE. (n.d.). Applications Unlimited. Retrieved May 1, 2009, from ORACLE: http://www.oracle.com/applications/applications-unlimited.html
ORACLE. (2005). Oracle Business Intelligence Requirements. Retrieved May 1, 2009, from ORACLE: http://download.oracle.com/docs/html/B25200_01/requirements.htm
SAP. (n.d.). SAP NetWeaver Capabilities
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