by Kevin Rands

4 reasons most companies fail at business intelligence

Sep 25, 2017
AnalyticsBusiness IntelligenceCIO

While there are many ways to fall short in the BI game, here are the leading causes of failure.

bi business intelligence ts
Credit: Thinkstock

If you’re failing to gain traction with your business intelligence platform, you’re hardly alone.

Gartner says that anywhere from 70 to 80 percent of business intelligence initiatives end up failing. As businesses create more data than ever before, that failure rate is astounding.

Successful companies are the ones that can gather quality analytics from Big Data, not simply accumulate as much data as possible. While many businesses have been successful at attaining Big Data, what happens after that has been a mystery for far too many corporations.

Here are some of the most common reasons why business intelligence plans are failing today.

1. Relying on old technology

In many cases, BI fails due to a lack of capacity. While many companies have invested in smart BI platforms, others haven’t. Just going with a name brand that was popular years ago may not be the best fit for your business.

The result is a clunky interface your employees hate using, or one that fails to generate meaningful insights. Companies that are looking to make sense of the data they’ve been generating all this time need to look at the platforms that are best suited for their business.

If the data generated by your current platform is missing the mark, you’ll be making decisions based on partial intelligence. The whole reason to invest in BI is to make sure that your company will be guided by hard data, not gut feelings and guesses.

The way we work and the way we gather data is changing rapidly, and the BI technology needs to be able to keep up with today’s demands. Using old technology can put an incredible strain on your company’s IT department, pulling them away from other critical projects.

2. Lack of understanding

Another major killer is a lack of understanding of what business intelligence truly is. If you think BI is simply gathering data, but not really doing much with it, your team will be stuck.

Your company needs to have a full understanding that BI doesn’t just mean Big Data, but taking that data and applying it to help the company grow through smart analytics. This doesn’t always mean more data. The most critical component is the intelligence and lessons that can be gained from that data.

Additionally, if your C-level team doesn’t have an understanding of why you’re trying to move toward business intelligence, you could get stuck with a platform that does not meet your company’s needs. There needs to be a complete comprehension of what BI is and how it will affect the business.

3. Bad UX

It’s simple: if your employees hate using the platform, adoption rates will tank. When adoption rates tank, your company has wasted money on this initiative. This is clearly a problem across the board, as some analysts say that BI adoption among employees is at around 22 percent.

BI is all about the user experience. The insights gleaned from your BI efforts need to be easy to read and easy to present. This way, you’ll be able to make informed decisions for the sake of your business.

Just because a BI platform is developed by a major brand doesn’t mean it’s the right one for your company. Talk with your staff to see what kinds of KPIs they’re measuring and how they’d like data to be visualized.

4. No support from above

A lack of executive support has been another major hindrance to BI implementation. Complex measures need support from up top.

Experts suggest that CIOs need to step up and play key roles in selecting and implementing BI technology, having the ear of both the CEO and their IT staff.

The problem is that not every BI implementation goes according to plan — and those are words any C-level executive hates to hear. It takes a significant time and financial investment to get the ball rolling. Having the support of your executives makes things run much smoother, but that’s often not the case in too many companies.

Before a business selects a BI platform, there needs to be clear communication between executives and staff about what the goals are for implementation and how the data will be used. Once those conversations take place, you’ve got a unified force.