According to Gartner, 70% of the Business Intelligence projects fail to meet the expectations despite growing in number in terms of industry growth. The interesting thing here is that it has less to do with tools and technologies and more with people and practices. Here are some of the common mistakes that organizations make while implementing a business intelligence solution.
- Defining the problem
It’s a bummer when you are trying to solve a problem and all set to make investment but have no clear definition of the problem. In order to fully comprehend the situation you have to dig deep and get to the root cause. Having bird’s eye view is not going to help you in the long run. Before making the investment, you need to have a clear vision about the output that you would like to have and it may vary from business to business. Is it customer data that you are looking for? Is it real-time analytics that you want? Are you having a proactive approach to decision making? It all depends on your business and operational style.
- Build it and leave it
This is perhaps the most common mistakes that organisations commit when adopting business intelligence capability. They invest massively and then wait for it to magically churn out insights for you. It can’t get worse than that. The problem lies with the approach. Most organizations view business intelligence as a technical investment to centralize their data. They often overlook factors such as employee training, data quality etc. It’s unfortunate that more employees are working on building a data warehouse than actually using it. Gartner made an impressive recommendation of including business – level employees in the project team from the beginning so that they are aware of the potential and provide feedback from a user-perspective throughout the production stage.
- Sheep mentality
There are hundreds of business intelligence tools and softwares available in the market. While deciding on the software, organizations follow the pattern of going for the most popular product of the time or the MVP of the market. Every organization is different in their operational approach and has customized needs. Having the sheep mentality will result in implementing a solution that is least optimized for the specific needs and higher cost.
Many organizations treat BI as a one-time investment and expect to run it flawless after the initial implementation. This is one of the more common BI mistakes. Business Intelligence is like cooking an entrée. You need to keep track of the flavours you add. In the end, you will discover your dish lacks salt and you add it to make it better. Similarly, while implementing a BI solution, you need to keep track of the progress and make tweaks. Even after implementation, you need to modify it in accordance to your changing business needs and goals.
- Outsourcing is easy. Isn’t it?
CIOs often struggle to find a proper BI strategy finally takes the outsourcing path just to get rid of the head ache. What this does to the organization is more damage. In order to implement a proper Bi strategy, there should be thorough understanding about the company’s vision, its long term and short term goals, the areas where BI is going to be leveraged etc. A third party vendor may not be able to comprehend it all without the help of the CIO or the internal team. Outsourcing isn’t bad in any sense. But doing it without planning and vision will only cost organizations money and effort
- No BI strategy
The final and probably the biggest flaw is to not have a business intelligence strategy at all. Organizations still find it hard to come out of the “Excel culture” of manually entering, storing and analysing data. It is not only time-consuming and obsolete, but is error-prone and least effective in this fast-paced business environment. Having a poorly implemented BI strategy is equally dangerous as having no BI strategy. It invites unwanted costs, complicate the entire functions and add silos. One of the ways to tackle this situation is to have a dedicated multi-level team with a visionary leader on top who can envision the future of a BI-based business operation.
It is sensible to say that business intelligence is a key factor to implement digital transformation. A competent BI solution can empower organization’s decision-making capability, optimize the use of big data, and boost productivity and growth. It also helps the company to foresee the upcoming marketing trends, changes etc., and have a proactive business approach. BI can be a great investment if executed in the right way, by partnering with the right vendor, and backed up with systematic planning and implementation.