Top 5 Reasons Your Business Intelligence Strategies Fail

Strategic business intelligence approaches can fail for five main reasons. Here's what they are

by Rod Dunne on March 4, 2011

in Biz Dev, Innovation

Many companies are starting to doubt whether or not their business intelligence strategy is working, or delivering any real-world gains. You’re not alone if you are thinking the same thing about your company.

In this article, I’ll show you the five major flaws of your strategy and how the business intelligence team can be better supported and governed.

1: No business case has been defined

It is common practice for a business intelligence strategy to grow out of the expanding data warehousing activities of a firm.

Unfortunately, this does mean that business intelligence work is allocated to your data base administrators in an ad hoc manner and simply added to their list of responsibilities.

You really should treat it like any other project within a firm and be expected to deliver a business case defining the team’s goals, cost structure, resourcing demands and future milestones. This ensures that your teams deliverables are meeting business needs.

Even small-scale business strategy plans  need to incorporate how data will be architected and stored from a very early stage. For example, retail BI approaches should aim to leverage existing data warehouse capabilities and seek the most flexible solution for integrating with current IT systems.

2: Solutions do not fit the problem

Business intelligence software can automatically analyze huge volumes of data and identify trends/problems. It is then up to the team to identify solutions to these problems.

What you’re looking for is the perfect combination of strategy and innovation embodied in new product.

The proposed solutions of business intelligence consulting/teams you partner with are primarily coming from a technological grounding and may not include the business needs of other apartments (e.g. sales/marketing).

Consequently, any solutions need to be defined and agreed upon by several of your departments in order to ensure that they satisfy technological and business needs.

This is increasingly becoming a major difficulty for getting full visibility of your supply chain where ERP/SCM solutions cannot handle the full volume all of business partner data.

3: There is a lack of data management

It does not suffice for you to simply get the requisite business intelligence tools installed and running.

All data needs to be effectively managed, analyzed and archived where necessary. This ensures that the quality of your data in the warehouse is being maintained and that the data architecture is correct and in keeping with current/future enterprise needs.

This can provide a foundation for your own effective business communication strategy internally. This is one area where Google’s own marketing strategy triumphs due to their goal to organize the world’s information.

4: Poorly managed/governed project cycles

These teams often grow out of database administration so are rarely adhering to project life cycles. These individuals may have a line manager, but the concept of them having a dedicated project manager is rarely seen.

Therefore, your business intelligence strategy should incorporate project plans, a dedicated project manager and iterative delivery cycles. This will help your management to identify the ongoing worth of these teams and make their work more accountable. Your project manager can also collaborate with the product manager in defining a product roadmap.

5: Staff have little or no data warehousing or business intelligence knowledge

While it may be straightforward for individuals to become familiar with business intelligence software, they should really be provided with additional BI/data warehousing training in order to make their work more guided and effective.

You’ll find there are currently a huge range of business intelligence jobs, but not enough qualified staff.

Additional specialized staff should also be employed, or business intelligence consulting services used. This is a stop-gap solution until your own staff are fully trained. Unfortunately, this is rarely seen in many enterprises so the results of these teams are rarely as productive or as focused as they could be.

In conclusion, an effective business intelligence strategy is more than just having the right business intelligence tools in your firm. It needs to incorporate well-defined goals as part of a business case, provide communication channels with other (non-technical) departments and have a dedicated, trained staff and business intelligence consultant teams in place.

Author Rod Dunne...

Blog owner and sole writer Rod DunneI am the owner and sole writer on This is my personal blog detailing troubleshooting tips for small businesses. Posts are based upon 2 decades in consultancy & innovation management within startups/maturing companies.

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