The growth in the use of business-intelligence software comes largely from existing users adding to their in-house B.I. toolbox, and not from new customers suddenly interested in the benefits of crunching data in innovative ways. That’s just one of the findings from Dresner Advisory Services’ recent Business Intelligence Market Study, updated for the current year. The 2012 study incorporated data from 859 completed surveys, with respondents hailing from a fairly diverse cross-section of departments: IT being the largest at 50 percent of the total, followed by executive management at 21 percent, sales and marketing at 11 percent, and others taking smaller slices from there. Industries were similarly diverse, ranging from consulting and financial services to health care and retail operations. Some Findings Business-intelligence deployments remain small, according to the study data. “In last year’s report we noted a new ‘center of gravity,’ with BI implementation sizes ranging between 6 and 50 users—an increase over 2010,” read the report. “For 2012, this dynamic has remained largely the same—with only a minor shift in favor of slightly larger implementations.” How large? Not much: some 64 percent of B.I. implementations involve 100 or fewer users. In all, a minority of employees continues to have access to B.I. tools and data. In 2012, some 47 percent of organizations relied on “two or three” B.I. tools—virtually unchanged from 2011—while 28 percent used one and 25 percent employed “four or more.” But it’s not a case of businesses new to B.I. suddenly ordering their IT pros to rush out and buy as much data-crunching software as possible. Instead, the study sees growth as “coming predominantly from expansion of existing customers.” Most companies “already have an investment (albeit modest) in BI, with penetration relatively low,” it added. “Hence, future growth will need to come from existing customers seeking to expand deployment to a broader number of users.” Some 34 percent of organizations reported B.I. tool deployments of 3-5 years in length, a slight uptick from 31 percent in 2011. By contrast, 10 percent reported a B.I. tool deployment of more than 10 years, 17 percent reported a 6-10 year deployment, 24 percent reported a 1-2 year deployment, and 16 percent said “less than 1 year.” A majority of respondents seem to view B.I. tools as worth the money: when asked if they considered their business-intelligence initiative a success, around 48 percent agreed somewhat, 41 percent completely agreed, 8 percent disagreed somewhat, and 3 percent totally disagreed. Smaller companies generally saw B.I. initiatives as more successful: “This shouldn’t come as a surprise as smaller organizations are better able to more quickly deploy BI,” read the report, “and receive the requisite benefits due to reduced organizational and business complexity.”   Image: Dresner Advisory Services