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Too great a variety of business intelligence environments within companies

Many business intelligence users are planning to standardise their often multifarious BI tools, sometimes obtained from different providers. According to a survey carried out by Actinium Consulting, the aim of these standardisation strategies is mainly to concentrate on business intelligence competences and eliminate information islands. The survey also shows that around three quarters of almost 200 companies are deploying multiple BI systems. The vast majority are therefore aiming for system standardisation, and for 25 per cent, this is top priority. For a further 38 percent, it is a medium-term priority whilst one in ten companies has no specific time schedule to eliminate the heterogeneity of their BI tools. The main motive for such standardisation endeavours is to improve integration. The reason given by 61 percent of respondents is to eliminate information islands. For even more companies, a relevant factor in this context is to simplify the complexity of the BI infrastructure. This process should also include concentrating on professional competence in the field of business intelligence. In this respect, 59 percent of BI users expect limiting the variety of tools to produce a positive effect. According to Actinium's survey, every second company regards the reduction in training costs as a further advantage. It is also of considerable importance for them to increase user acceptance with these measures. This aspect was also specified as a target by every second company that deploys a variety of BI tools. "The consequences of disparate procedures in different organisational units are being felt," assesses Klaus H├╝ttl, Managing Director at Actinium. "In many cases in the past, initiatives have been launched by individual departments without the benefit of a broader view due to the lack of a company-wide business intelligence strategy." For this reason, he sees the standardisation of company-wide BI infrastructures as being essential. "Nowadays, a heterogeneous BI environment cannot be justified from a technical point of view, and even less in terms of cost-effectiveness," says H├╝ttl, who believes that these factors have prompted many companies to change their strategy. Illustrating the disadvantages of having a variety of BI tools, he adds that maintaining a range of tools necessitates a disproportionate amount of cost and effort as well as specialist knowledge. However, he warns against considering standardisation solely from a technical or vendor point of view, "A clear business intelligence policy is a prerequisite for formulating technical requirements and avoiding the same mistakes that have been made in the past."

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