In late March, Oracle announced a major BI suite. Then in early April at press time-, Microsoft acquired ProClarity, a producer of dashboards and scorecards with strong Microsoft Office integration. Microsoft also introduced business intelligence for SMBs with its BIO for Microsoft Dynamics SL product. SAP may have kicked off the trend with its rollout of SAP Analytics last May ERP competitor Lawson offered its own analytics release in November. All this BI activity adds up to more choice and possibly more confusion for customers, who will have to sift through the marketing hype to decide where to turn for needed tools. Why all the vendor interest now, when BI has been around for years? The most obvious answer is that companies are eager to buy BI software. A Gartner survey of 1,400 chief information officers found that BI was the top technology priority for 2006, with CIOs planning to increase their spending on the technology by 4.8 percent. Source: www.intelligententerprise.coma>

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