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For years, business intelligence and analytics tools seemed out of the reach of mid-market users. Complex and costly systems that required hardware, software, licensing and special skills were beyond the budgets and in-house IT talent pools of most mid-sized companies. But nowadays, with vendors offering lighter versions of their products and the rise of software as a service (SaaS), BI has become accessible to companies that previously might not have been able to afford it.
"The industry evolution toward self-service BI and SaaS BI is having a big impact on adoption in companies of all sizes," says James Kobielus, an analyst at Forrester Research. "Companies that want to do BI can adopt and provision it more rapidly at a lower cost" - often pay-as-you-go - "and make it available to a broader range of users with less IT involvement and lower capital costs," he says.
However, experienced users warn that even at its simplest, BI still requires a concerted effort.
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