Gartner says that Business Intelligence (BI) market is now worth more than $16.5 billion which is still expanding. Over the past few years many companies have implemented business intelligence platforms and among the leading vendors, many well-known names are included such as Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, SAP and the specialist companies include QlikTech, Tableau Software, Tibco Software and much more.
It has been observed that while many analytical capabilities were deployed such as online analytical processing (OLAP), ad hoc query and parameterized reports, they were never fully embraced by business users, analysts and managers because of their limited involvement in the entire exercise. All this is still perceived as IT-driven efforts by business users and as a result, business users struggle to maximize the full potential of analytics and insights they could have generated through BI platforms. Because of their lack of involvement, they find these BI solutions too difficult to leverage for actual business use cases and benefits. They either prefer to continue with their “old” ways of generating metrics through laborious efforts & playing with excel sheets OR, keep on looking for alternative solutions in search for best BI solution.
Organizations tend to make a lot of common mistakes when deciding and executing their BI strategy. In the blind pursuit of jumping on the popular perception and technology bandwagon, they at times forget to do the necessary due diligence and fundamental ground work which eventually would lead to failures. While planning a BI investment in near future, here are some common mistakes that organizations must avoid. These mistakes if not dealt properly may lead to run up costs, adoption issues, and execution failures.
Mistakes To Avoid
1: Clarity Of Business Problem And Objectives
Mistake: There can be times when problems can come up in the very beginning as you fail to define the business problem which you are hoping to solve or the goal you wish to achieve. A single tool neither can solve all the problems nor can help in achieving your desired goal. Projects that rely on one BI tool possibly fail therefore you should be clear about what you want to do and have to choose the right way to perform it. Generally, companies make mistakes of jumping very soon in pursuing analytics initiative without even clearly defining what company wants to accomplish. Without outlining the business case first and determining why and where the leveraging usefulness of BI & analytics makes the most sense in their operations, the companies will not be able to generate any real ROI.
Suggested Measures: To combat such uninvited problems you must be well prepared for a question like which business problem you are trying to solve, what are your business or operational goals which you are trying to achieve, what BI tools you must use.
2: Too Much Too Fast
Mistake: The common mistake which many businesses normally make is deploying technology too quickly which leaves too many people. Disruption at times is required and organizations need to keep pace with the way market is changing, however, they still need to ensure that they are having right plans for users to understand and embrace the change. Users may face the difficulty in harnessing the technology as they do not have enough time to understand and practice the skills required to use the technology.
Suggested Measures: It is always suggested to introduce the technology properly with the right change management plans. You should know how fast should you roll out the new technology in order to give users chance to implement the technologies efficiently. Everyone in the system must know what problems they are trying to solve using technology and what is the order of importance they should follow to be solved.
3: End-user buy-in
Mistake: The biggest mistake which businesses will generally make is to assume that employees will use newly purchased BI technologies just because the organization is standardizing on such technologies. It has been seen that even the best BI software tools are inefficient if they are not utilized properly. There is no amount of training and standardizing which can convince people to use technology if they don’t feel the benefits personally.
Suggested Measures: BI software tools and platforms must not be chosen based on recommendations offered by IT departments only instead it should be chosen wisely keeping in mind the end-users’ requirements. Purchase of software BI tools must be business and user-centric not IT centric.
4: Failing To Meet Legal And Security Requirements
Mistake: Data governance is vital when it comes to selecting business intelligence software. For protecting customers and organizations, companies must make sure that the BI system must work according to the legal obligation and security policies of the firm. Giving access to entire data to people and just letting them explore is not a wise step and this could lead to data breach and violates data privacy principle.
Suggested Measures: For protecting customer and company it is imperative for your BI system to work in accordance with the company’s data security policy and legal obligations.
5: Ignoring Future BI Requirements
Mistake: The recent survey held in past shows that about 30 percent of companies planned to use a cloud-based BI platform. According to Gartner now this number has gone up to over 45 percent which validates that even if BI suppliers doesn’t have a cloud-based offering, it should at least be on its roadmap with clear timelines so that the possible future needs can be accommodated. Ignoring the future needs and simply relying on BI vendors’ promises w/o concrete time-based plans to meet your possible future needs is a sure way to see the downfall of business intelligence project.
Suggested Measures: Organizations should have their short term and long term roadmap around BI strategy. And then dividing such strategy into smaller monthly/quarterly milestones with the clear business outcome will help them to finalize their BI strategy catering to short term and long term needs. They should target to make data analysis easier for business users by moving from interactive discovery to automatic discovery, selecting the right set of BI tools/vendors and ensuring that all their future needs are accommodated in their BI vendor’s roadmap.
6: Presuming Everyone Is Quick In Understanding Technicalities
Mistake: Whenever it comes to learning new technology, there exist a generation gap. The older the users are, the more afraid they are in making embarrassing mistakes. BI software tools are not that simple and the complexity will increase if you try to add lots of functionality. It, therefore, requires sufficient training. When things are only learned partially, users fail to use the software completely. Skill is very much necessary to operate the software and if users get discouraged by the technical know-how they may begin to procrastinate.
Suggested Measures: The solution is to provide expert training which everyone can follow. It does not require someone to be an IT expert or have strong technical knowledge but someone who can explain things clearly. Scheduling of training sessions with online training videos and quiz can help users learn at their own pace.
It’s Powerful If Used Correctly
With full cooperation and participation of all those involved in gathering and analyzing the information, you can make BI tools do their job. Bottlenecks and constraints arise because of poor user understanding or incorrect implementation. If used correctly, BI tools can grow a business at a faster pace.
References: itbusinessedge.com, crowdreviews.com, bistasolutions.com, datamation.com, enterpriseappstoday.com, searchbusinessanalytics.techtarget.com, cio.com, noobpreneur.com