Business intelligence software suppliers are stepping up the introduction of new products, services and alliances in the hope of expanding their user base amid a revival in corporate technology spending. However, the vendors expect existing customers will remain their biggest market and, as a result, the deals they secure are likely to be smaller. Industry experts said the bulk of local demand would continue to come from the financial services, telecommunications and government sectors. 'With the economic climate improving, we see business intelligence software adoption gaining momentum and expanding into other industries,' said Pook Jyh Yeuan, vice-president for Greater China at Business Objects. Research firm International Data Corp (IDC) forecast business intelligence software sales in Hong Kong this year to reach US$8.3 million, up from $7.9 million last year. Business intelligence products include user query and reporting tools, packaged data marts and data mining programs used by organisations to track, understand and manage enterprise performance, which help in targeting customers, increasing productivity and reducing operating costs. Daphne Chung, IDC Asia-Pacific senior analyst for application tools software research, said: 'The market experienced limited growth last year as the region reeled from the impact of Sars and the war in Iraq. But users are beginning to realise the need for business intelligence tools as they grow their business operations.' Expectations for business intelligence software sales have gone up, based on rising technology investments. IDC forecast total IT software, hardware and services spending in Hong Kong to hit US$3.049 billion this year, up from $2.097 billion last year. Chin Jun-fwu, IDC Asia-Pacific senior analyst for software research, said business intelligence software vendors were looking to harness their installed user base, comprising mostly large organisations, to generate fresh demand for new products. 'Small firms are not yet their priority in Hong Kong.' Increased marketing efforts to existing local customers are planned by SAS Institute and Business Objects, both of which recently released new and improved versions of their flagship business intelligence software products. SAS Hong Kong managing director Peter Tsang said: 'Fundamentally, our new products are being marketed to our installed base. We see only incremental business from new enterprise customers.' SAS released its SAS 9 Intelligence Platform, a package of seven predictive analytics and data management programs for decision makers. Business Objects released Crystal Version 10, an enterprise reporting software suite.