Many avoidable mistakes in business intelligence projects


For many companies, the introduction of Business Intelligence (BI) solutions continues to be a project with considerable pitfalls. According to a comparative analysis conducted by Actinium Consulting since 2007, problems are caused not only by the requirements and process analyses, but also by the selection of BI tools. It is striking that more and more companies have to admit to wrong decisions in the selection process.

In this year’s survey, for example, four out of five of the respondents state that they have found it difficult to choose BI measures to date. Three years ago, it was 12 percent less. Currently, 37 percent describe the requirements as “very high” and 44 percent as “high.” In the eyes of Actinium CEO Klaus Hüttl, this shows that unchanged strategic weaknesses are the central cause of the multiple difficulties in project implementation. “BI measures are often designed too complex from the outset, and in addition, the orientation is planned too much through technical glasses and too little oriented to the practical benefits,” he criticizes. “A BI implementation that is not aligned with practical requirements inevitably reduces the degree of value creation and acceptance among users,” Hüttl explains.

The consultant therefore recommends that companies submit the strategic approach to an experienced BI expert according to the dual control principle, who can point out possible weaknesses and optimization potential through his neutral view. “The supposed detour and additional effort pays off very quickly, for example in a more precise requirements analysis at the beginning of the BI project.” It is rated as insufficient by more than 60 percent of companies; three years earlier, fewer responsible parties had expressed deficiencies in the requirements profile. But also in the question of the selection of their BI tools, the companies are now even more self-critical than in 2007: at that time, less than one in two respondents admitted that, in retrospect, they had not made an adequate system selection, but dissatisfaction with the tool decisions has currently risen by one fifth to 59 percent and is thus at about the same level as in 2009.


“This shows particularly clearly the negative effect of an inadequate requirements analysis,” Hüttl problematizes. “Those who base their concept on the capabilities of the selected business intelligence tool will inevitably end up with a solution that proves to meet their needs only to a limited extent,” judges the Actinium consultant. This assessment is also confirmed by another result of the survey: two thirds of the companies also stated as a mistake that they had invested too little effort in process analysis before starting the project. “This aspect is still very often overlooked, although it is elementary for the benefit effect of a BI solution.”