by Todd Rowe

October 14, 2007

Business Objects’ Todd Rowe describes business intelligence and whymidmarket companies should consider it critical to their success.

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Midmarket Strategies: What are some common
challenges or initiatives
midsize customers have?
How can BI address those?

Todd Rowe: Of course,
every company is unique.
But some of the most common
challenges we see midsize
companies face include
meeting and scaling to
aggressive growth targets, improving operational efficiency,
increasing revenues and customer satisfaction. These challenges
aren’t that different from those of enterprise companies;
yet what is different is the amount of time, resources
and budget these companies have. Midsize companies often
have very aggressive growth goals, and BI can help.

One unique aspect of midmarket companies is that, unlike
their enterprise-sized counterparts, they can react very quickly
and respond to new opportunities, markets or internal conditions
very quickly. The challenge, however, becomes identifying
those conditions and opportunities and moving before the
competition does. BI is the key tool to help companies do this.

Improving operational efficiency is another common challenge.
These days, who isn’t trying to do more with less?
Though midsize companies are often already running a pretty
tight ship, so it can be difficult to gain additional efficiencies.
With BI, companies can improve that. An example is, by giving
internal or external customers secure access to real-time data
over the Web, customers can answer their own business questions
and track their own information. This not only removes a
strain from IT, but also increases customer satisfaction.

MMS: Why does there seem to be an increased focus on
BI for midsize enterprises? Why should they invest in BI?

TR: A recent Gartner survey cited business intelligence as the
biggest technology priority for 2006 and 2007. It was No. 2 in
2005 and No. 10 in 2004. So why is BI the top priority now?
Two reasons. Generally, organizations have finished their ERP,
database and CRM implementations. They have implemented
their main business applications and are ready to optimize their
data and really get full value out of these investments.

Secondly, vendors are taking notice. True BI wasn’t always
accessible to midsize companies in the past. The entry price
point was simply too high. While these companies have very
similar needs to the enterprise, they don’t have the budget
and resources to match. Now that BI is accessible to midsize
companies, they can truly gain the benefits and take full
advantage of the value of their data at an accessible price.

MMS: How does Business Objects address the unique
needs of the midsize business with its BI suite?

TR: First, we are the only company with a true midmarket business
division with people in all areas dedicated to the midmarket,
including R&D, finance, partners, product, sales, etc. What
that means to our customers is this is not just retrofit or dumbed-
down enterprise BI, but end-to-end business intelligence
designed and priced for midsize companies, from data integration,
reporting, query and analysis to dashboards hosted on
your premise or delivered in an on-demand subscription. It’s
also designed to grow as you do. So this isn’t a point solution
for a single pain but an overall BI solution for your company.

Another way we’re addressing midmarket needs is we
don’t tie you to a certain database, platform or programming
environment. Whatever environment you work in, BI from
Business Objects can work with it. Even if you have a completely
standardized environment, you’ll acquire a company or technology
that operates in a different environment and you’ll find
yourself stuck. Our solutions operate across all databases, platforms
and languages to deliver BI the way our customers work.

Additionally, one thing midmarket can’t afford is to buy a
solution from a company that may not be around, or focused
on BI in the future. With over 30,000 midmarket customers,
Business Objects is the true specialist and industry leader in BI,
delivering proven, tailored solutions that meet the unique
needs of growing businesses. And with over 2,300 partners in
the strongest, largest ecosystem dedicated to BI, we have partners
in every local area to help ensure success.

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