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Data Warehousing and BI - still a long way to go

From the National Computing Centre, Manchester UK.

For issue: 5th March 2010

The use of data warehousing and business intelligence (BI) software has been gathering pace but businesses are critical of how well the technology is meeting their objectives. This is according to the National Computing Centre’s latest survey on the use of data warehousing and BI tools. The research was undertaken by NCC's Evaluation Centre, an interactive online service guiding IT buyers in the selection and use of business software, services and technology.

Not a single company would rate their data warehousing and BI implementations as meeting all their requirements ‘very well’ and only 16% say they are performing ‘well’. At the other end of the scale 21% see their implementations as ‘poor’ and 5% as ‘very poor’, while the largest number (26%) say they are performing ‘moderately well’.

This perceived under-performance is all the more surprising given that senior management see data warehousing and BI as either a ‘very important’ (21%) or ‘important’ (26%) enabler in decision making. This is followed by 26% who feel it is of medium importance, while only a few respondents see it as of ‘little importance’ (11%) or ‘no importance’ (5%).

Perhaps in an effort to address these limitations, companies have strong development plans to extend the scope of their existing systems, with 63% implementing new tools to enhance their data analysis capabilities. Ensuring existing assets are fully exploited is a priority for 47% as is expanding the scope of the system to new functional areas of the business. Extending the use of the system to new users is an objective for 37%, while 32% are looking to control costs and 21% to improve the performance of their system.

According to Steve Fox, Evaluation Centre Managing Director: “Organisations are more desperate than ever for better and more timely information to improve the operation of their business and will therefore keep investing in the technology to achieve this.”

The most popular method for developing a data warehouse is to use off-the-shelf products (37%). This is followed by 21% who have undertaken bespoke development using integrated products from a single vendor and 21% who have created their system by using ‘best of breed’ products from multiple vendors. A few companies (11%) have developed their own in-house solution.

To analyse the information stored in a data warehouse, the biggest proportion of respondents (74%) have adopted a range of specialist BI tools. In over half these organisations (57%), the tools are still used by specialist analysts, compared to 29% where they are routinely deployed as part of operational applications and used by non-specialists.


We interviewed a cross-section of 100 organisations for their views on a number of issues relating to the use of data warehousing and business intelligence applications. The sample included companies from the public sector (20%), financial sector (17%), business services (11%), retail (11%), manufacturing (9%) and IT & telecoms (9%).

The companies vary in size with 11% having in excess of £5 billion turnover, 7% in the £1 billion to £5 billion bracket and 16% in the £500 million to £1 billion range. In the mid-range 43% have between £100 million and £500 million turnover and 12% £50 million to £100 million. At the smaller end 11% have a turnover between £10 million and £50 million.

The survey is available from the  Evaluation Centre


About The National Computing Centre (NCC)

The National Computing Centre (NCC) helps IT decision makers deliver effective solutions to business problems by bringing together users, experts and vendors to share experiences and develop best practices. We are a non-profit distributing organisation.

About the Evaluation Centre

The Evaluation Centre ( is an interactive service for end users and consultants to assist them in the procurement process for software, services and technology.

Press enquiries:

For more information please contact Steve Fox on +44 (0)870 908 8767, email or Cliff Mills on +44 (0)870 908 8767, email

Press Contact

Michael Dean
National Computing Centre
Oxford House, Oxford Road
Manchester M1 7ED

Tel: +44 (0)161 242 2121
Mob: 07703 501 129

NCC Weekly News 05 Mar 2010



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