Monday, 04 March 2013 04:51

If BI is so beneficial, why are less than 20% of businesses using it proactively?

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In the previous BI blog we discussed: What is business intelligence and why it is so important for any business to make executive decisions whether they are a small startup company or a multinational enterprise. So then why is it that there are so few businesses using BI toolkits to make more informed executive decisions?
Gartner (world renowned information technology research and advisory firm) show that Business Intelligence is a top 3 priority for CIOs and Senior Executives. Yet after years of investment and implementation, BI has failed to become pervasive among business users: Gartner estimates that no more than 20% of business users actually use BI proactively. This means that BI is not being widely used to manage performance. Below is a diagram illustrating the top 3 reasons why businesses do not use a business intelligence software.

Top Roadblocks to BI Success

Challenge Rank
Time and effort associated with implementing the solution           1
Too expensive 2
Complexity of using the solution 3
Technical skils required to support the solution 4
Complexity of data 5

1.Time and effort
Many BI applications require intensive configuration to be able to access the data from multiple databases stored in various locations. They also need to be able access this data which can be generated from a variety of business systems (for example MS Excel, Pastel, SAP, Oracle, etc.). This requires highly skilled resources to work on these business systems which comes at a hefty price. To give you an example: I recently heard of a well-known South African business that has paid over R2 million to date for a BI toolkit. It is now more than 18 months from when the installation started and they still do not have any dashboards to show for it.

2.Too expensive
The second biggest reason why BI is not utilised is because many business decision makers believe that the ROI to too low to consider implementing. An installation of any of the well-known BI systems for a medium to large size business in South Africa can easily set you back a few bar.

3.Too complex
So, not only are they considered expensive, but the installations are rather complex. There is also a lot of complaining about the lack of ease of use when it comes to the navigation, which is usually not well explained and the buttons functionalities are often unclear. I think this often happens because your understanding of what you need to manage in your business is not necessarily the same as the software developers who designed the packages. More often than not the managers lose hope after a short while and revert back to viewing each data set individually as they did before.

4.Require an IT department
The software is often developed in such a way that it requires an IT engineer and a team of developers to consult with the manager first and then using the information provided go back to their computers and design the reports and views. This important reporting structuring information is often lost in translation and the result is a whole lot of reports that do not take into account all the extenuating circumstances which allows human assumption to complete the reports.

5.Complexity of data
Many companies generate large amounts of varied data from all their business systems, so much so that the managers do not have the business performance skills to know what to analyse when. This can lead to over complicating simple reports. If you over-analyse and try to manage too many KPI’s you eventually end up macro-managing your business processes and lose focus on what is important.


Read 5771 times Last modified on Wednesday, 18 December 2013 14:53

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