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The announcement that IBM will acquire Cognos, a supplier of business intelligence and performance management software, following announcements by Oracle and SAP earlier in 2007 that they would be buying specialist business intelligence vendors, is evidence that specialist business intelligence functionality is becoming more tightly integrated with the traditional business operations of the enterprise, says Analysys, the global adviser to telecoms, IT and media ( Telecoms operators should take the opportunity to evaluate more widespread adoption of business intelligence functions within their organisations.

The relatively late arrival of competition in the telecoms industry means that operators have not tended to exploit the opportunities of business intelligence to the same degree as organisations in other industries, such as retail. “However this situation is now changing,” says Therese Cory, Analysys Associate and author of the forthcoming paper Ongoing changes in the telecoms industry and recent vendor consolidations are prompting changes in the way telcos use business intelligence in Analysys Research’s Next-Generation Telecoms IT subscription service.

Cognos’s telecoms customers included Elisa Oyj; Business Objects – to be acquired by SAP – has customers that include AT&T Mobility, France Telecom, Verizon and Vodafone.

“The business intelligence function is becoming more tightly integrated with the operations of the enterprise,” Cory continues. “In the telecoms industry, operators are already standardising on a single business intelligence product to reflect the increasing use of business intelligence as an enterprise-wide strategic tool controlled centrally rather than a disparate set of departmental tools being utilised autonomously. Nonetheless, there should still be room for creative and innovative uses of business intelligence to solve problems in specialist areas of the business.”

Operators in developed markets are discovering innovative uses for business intelligence because of a new urgency to extract more intelligence out of their business and operational data, while operators in developing markets are starting to explore how business intelligence can provide competitive advantage as their markets are liberalised. What is more, Cory says, the way that business intelligence is utilised is evolving from a reactive activity (performed by specialist business analysts in isolation from operational staff in other parts of the organisation) to a business activity that staff across a range of functions and departments across a telco organisation can perform in the course of their work. Operators will increasingly demand a virtual view of information from both historic (formatted) information in the data warehouse, and near real-time information from the operator's live systems in order to assist in decision making and service quality assurance.

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Editor’s note:

Ongoing changes in the telecoms industry and recent vendor consolidations are prompting changes in the way telcos use business intelligence will be published in early 2008 as part of Analysys Research’s Next-Generation Telecoms IT online market intelligence service. Previous publications on business intelligence have included Business intelligence as a strategic tool for telcos

About Analysys (

Analysys provides strategy and management consultancy, information services and start-up support throughout the telecommunications, IT and media sector. Its grasp of market dynamics, coupled with creativity, rigour and renowned objectivity, enables Analysys to consistently exceed the high levels of quality and innovation that its clients expect. The company has over 160 staff worldwide, and, as part of the Analysys Mason Group, has offices in Cambridge, Dublin, Edinburgh, London, Madrid, Manchester, Milan, Paris, Singapore and Washington DC.

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