A recently released KPMG survey entitled ‘Improving Financial Performance in 2010’ reiterates, amongst other business priorities, technology as playing a significant role to improve the overall financial standings of corporates, following the recession.
The African wide report highlights that 80% of respondents surveyed* identified improved business intelligence (BI) as critical to their decision-making processes. Relevant information gathering and performance reporting were clear priorities in this regard whether for budgeting, forecasting, evaluating or analysing purposes.
Says Martin Rennhackkamp, COO of PBT; “It’s encouraging to see that BI is finally being recognised as key to decision making, however the extensive benefits of BI will only be truly felt when top management, across sectors, understand the power of real data gathering and subsequent valuable decision making.”
While the exact percentage of organisations using BI in South Africa is not defined, Rennhackkamp does not know of any ‘major’ player in the financial, insurance, telecommunications and retail industries that do not use some form of BI from which they extract value.
Says Rennhackkamp; “In general, information is collected and disseminated to decision-makers throughout the organisation, but not, for example, in real time rendering these systems ineffective compared to what they are designed to achieve. In my opinion, few organisations have matured enough in their BI adoption and more critically BI has not yet properly infiltrated the strategic decision-making powers of most top companies.”
Rennhackkamp goes on to state that his concern is that most of the key executives in organisations still get reports third or fourth-hand, in the form of spreadsheets or report packs prepared and polished by other people. “Decision makers cannot and simply do not have their fingers directly on the pulse of the organisation and this needs to be addressed to harness the benefits of BI – whether getting through a recession in tact or growing a new market unit.”
So while reports such as Improving financial performance in 2010 and beyond create the awareness needed to rally BI as a valuable business tool to recover from a recession for example – Rennhackkamp stresses that BI adoption must become a critical business pillar and start with top management and filter down – not bottom up. “Effective BI is the way of the future for business growth and the sooner this becomes board room benchmark the quicker corporate SA will realise the impact of effective BI on their business – not simply to recover from a recession but to grow effectively into the future as well.”