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SI Use, Utilization, and Importance, and Their Relationship to BI Success

Organizations often leverage systems integrators (SIs) and consultants to plan, build, run, and/or optimize their BI and analytics solutions. Engagement models include staff augmentation, project management, integrations, establishing success benchmarks and measures, and ongoing operational support.

In this report, use of SIs and consultants is a binary question: either they’re used, or they’re not. Utilization of SIs and consultants refers to how they are used (for example, technical consulting on an integration project or staff augmentation).

According to Wikipedia, an SI is a person or company that specializes in bringing together component subsystems into a whole and ensuring that those subsystems function together, a practice known as systems integration. They also solve problems of automation. SIs may work in many fields; but the term is generally used in the information technology (IT) field such as computer networking, the defense industry, mass media, enterprise application integration, business process management, or manual computer programming. Data quality issues are an important part of the work of SIs.

Wikipedia defines IT consulting—also referred to as computer consultancy, business and technology services, computing consultancy, technology consulting, and IT advisory—as a field of activity that focuses on advising organizations on how best to use IT in achieving their business objectives.

Overall, a strong majority of organizations use SIs and consultants, and utilize them for a variety of activities at fairly high rates. When it comes to perceived importance of SIs and consultants, the jury is still out: 44 percent of respondents see SIs and consultants as critical or very important, while 38 percent consider them as only somewhat important or not important. Respondents using SIs and consultants more often report success with their BI initiatives, compared to organizations that do not use SIs and consultants, as well as to the overall Dresner Advisory Services survey population.

  1. Two-thirds of all organizations use SIs and consultants.
  2. The BI Competency Center (BICC) reports the highest level of use of SIs and consultants (62 percent).
  3. Organizations in larger enterprises (1,001 or more employees) use SIs and consultants most often and at much higher rates than small and mid-size organizations.
  4. Organizations most frequently use SIs and consultants for application and solution development and least frequently use them for project management.
  5. Across all activities, respondents report an average rate of constant use of SIs and consultants of 23 percent.
  6. The largest organizations (more than 10,000 employees) report the highest utilization of SIs and consultants, across all types of activities.
  7. Perceptions of the importance of SIs and consultants are fairly polarized: 44 percent of respondents see SIs and consultants as critical or very important, while 38 percent consider them as only somewhat important or not important.
  8. The gap between non-use and importance of SIs and consultants indicates respondents perceive greater value for them—even when not in use—than the usage rate alone might suggest.
  9. Respondents using SIs and consultants more often report success with their BI initiatives, compared to organizations that do not use SIs and consultants and compared to the overall Dresner Advisory Services survey population.

 

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