Thursday, May 19, 2005

Business Intelligence

Having spent the last six weeks creating a BI strategy for the federal government I thought it would be an opportune time to vent a bit about the continued slow state of progress on a truly integrated travel BI solution. By definition, business intelligence (BI) is designed to provide insight into data that would normally not be apparent by generating reports. I am glad to report that there are new BI dashboards emerging in the market from major players (CWT, TRX, Hi-Mark) and smaller ones as well (Tri-Pen). The problem is the slow pace of integration across data sources and the overall continued challenges of integrating or comparing data sources. I am optimistic that a new focus on BI will emerge in the corporate travel arena which will spur competition and deliver greater value to customers. Corporate travel managers need to embrace these emerging dashboards and not view their intuitive nature as a "competitive threat". Systems that automatically identify lack of compliance, opportunity for additional negotiated agreements and recommendations in altering travel policy (rather than generating a report) are essential tools for travel management in the new era of fare simplification and the resulting drop in airline discount levels.

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