Going through stuff I've missed over the last month, I came across this article in computer weekly where my colleague Renaud is quoted.  It talks about how successful businesses need to look at business intelligence technology to get more from the data they hold. A useful read.

Interesting quotes I thought included:

Analyst firm Gartner is predicting a compound annual growth rate of 6.5% during the next five years, which means businesses will be buying £1.7bn of new licences by 2010.

Bloor Research analyst Gerry Brown said, "Most firms say they have between six and 15 forms of business intelligence software. Many of the main suppliers have massive overlap between their customer bases."..

..If exceptional speed of response is your main need, then an enterprise needs to make sure it runs on Microsoft, as QlikView is not yet ported onto Unix-based systems, like Sun Solaris for example, according to Bloor Research.

..This grouping also includes Micro­soft, with its dominance in the relational and online analytical processing (Olap) database server space. According to the Olap Report produced by research group Business Intelligence, Microsoft Windows Server grew its share of this market from 75.7% to 84.7% last year.

Moreover, Microsoft's Excel spreadsheet, often the tool with which end-users gain their first experience of business intelligence, is due for a major revamp as part of the launch of Office 2007.

Renaud Besnard, product marketing manager responsible for Microsoft's SQL Server-based data management and business intelligence portfolio, said, "We look at our product stack as three different layers. The foundation is the data management platform, then comes the extract, transform and load layer.

"Once the data is aggregated and put into cubes, the information needs to be disseminated across the enterprise with reporting. There will be some very exciting developments in those last two layers over the next few months."

One of the areas of focus is Office 2007. It includes a new, extensible user interface, open XML formats, workflow and search features, and a business datawarehouse.

All this allows Microsoft to argue true enterprise business intelligence scalability and integrate the advanced analysis and visualisation technologies it gained with the acquisition of ProClarity in April.

Microsoft claims these new features will extend its Office and SQL Server investments.

Microsoft's strategy is to offer ­users a single product that can solve all a user's business intelligence requirements, to support both data-warehousing and transactional reports.