Do you think 2011 will be all about cutting costs and reducing expenditure? If your answer is ‘yes’, you might need to think again. While senior executives will be charged to find ways to make the business run more efficiently, money will still be found for the right projects.

IT is likely to be one of the business’ priority areas. All organisations now rely on technology to help deliver services and products to customers, whether it’s healthcare and education in the public sector or financial reports and retail goods in the private sector.

TechTarget’s 2011 IT Priorities Survey reveals that 60 per cent of IT departments will spend more on software this year. In particular, the drive to improve planning means 41 per cent of IT leaders cite business intelligence (BI), analytics and data warehousing as a key 2011 initiative.

So, why will BI be so important in 2011 and how will it help your business to meet new targets? The key reason is knowledge – analytics helps organisations to monitor and understand big data sets, providing the right information to key executives at the right time.

The organisations that succeed in the upturn will be those that know, and engage with their customers. In an ever-competitive global economy, access to real-time data will mean your organisation is better prepared to deal efficiently with subtle changes in demand.

It’s not just about efficiency, either. Continued pressure in the public sector, and a raft of private sector regulations around finance and sustainability, will mean organisations must be able to show how data is held and used.

With an increasing number of cloud-based BI solutions becoming apparent, there has never been a better – and more cost-effective – opportunity to introduce analytics. On-demand BI will not just provide key information to executives; it will also provide a quick return on investment for the cost-conscious finance director.

With such gains, for so small an outlay, what is there to lose? The organisations that win in 2011 will be those that understand the power of information.