Diversity of BI tools in companies is only slowly reducing


Although companies have recently reduced the diversity of their business intelligence tools somewhat, heterogeneous conditions still prevail among two-thirds of BI users, according to a comparative study by Actinium Consulting. Two years ago, the figure was nine percent higher.

The implementation of the declared standardization strategies to concentrate business intelligence competencies and reduce information islands is apparently a more difficult undertaking for companies than planned. According to the study by consulting firm Actinium, while about three-quarters of companies had various BI systems in use in 2013 and 25 percent had standardization on their list of priorities at the time, only one-third of them actually implemented this plan.

“Since BI solutions are mostly in the care of the business areas and there is no overall responsibility, the different interests often collide,” Actinium CEO Klaus Hüttl describes one of the central causes for the tenacious standardization process. “Since the initiatives in the past usually came from individual departments, many resist being subordinated to a company-wide business intelligence strategy.”

Nevertheless, another 31 percent are currently adhering to these efforts and continue to have them at the top of their agendas. An additional quarter are pursuing the same goal, although they are still without a concrete timeline for eliminating the heterogeneous situation with BI tools.

The main motive for standardization efforts is better integration. Thus, 66 percent cite the reason of wanting to eliminate previous islands of information in this way. For even more companies, a reduction in the complexity of the BI infrastructure also plays an important role in this context. This approach is also intended to concentrate specialist expertise in the area of business intelligence. 63 percent of BI users expect positive effects in this regard if they limit the diversity in tools.

According to the Actinium survey, every second company sees a further benefit in the reduction of training costs. However, increasing user acceptance with this measure also plays a major role in standardization intentions. This aspect is also formulated as an objective in every second case of companies with different BI tools. “In the meantime, the BI diversity cannot be argued under benefit aspects or technically, and even less economically,” says Hüttl, describing the background for the change in strategy of many companies.

He points out that maintaining different tools requires increased resources and broader specialized knowledge. Nevertheless, depending on the individual requirements, there may well be good reasons to have more than one BI solution in use, judges the consultant. “However, this must be covered by a company-wide BI strategy and must not be the result of division-specific separation efforts,” Hüttl emphasizes. The problem, however, is that there is usually a lack of a clearly defined orientation framework. “Without BI governance, it will be very difficult to implement standardization intentions.”