Business intelligence (BI) will be the top spending priority for IT executives in 2007, continuing an increased emphasis on gathering and analysing operational data, a survey released this week shows.
BI was the third biggest priority in 2006, and the fifth biggest in 2005, according to annual surveys by research firm Saugatuck Technology and BusinessWeek Research Services.
Businesses have lots of information about customers in separate data sources, and want to combine that data into a "single view" of their customers, said Judith Hurwitz of the research and consulting firm Hurwitz & Associates.
Data spread across several departments are "isolated from each other. In order to do business appropriately, you have to look at all aspects of that in a unified way," Hurwitz said. "That's the issue that's keeping a lot of organisations focused on business intelligence and their data."
BI investment to improve data standardisation, reporting, communication and decision making, help make companies more agile "as they move toward real-time, on-demand business and IT environments," Saugatuck said.
Saugatuck's worldwide survey polled 230 IT executives at companies with at least $1 billion (£51m) in annual revenue. After BI, the top spending priorities, in order, were enterprise resource planning (ERP) software upgrades, data warehousing, new custom applications, portal and collaboration software, security software and services, network upgrades, application integration, database software and upgrades, and business process management.