The road to business intelligence is often paved with mistakes


According to their own assessment, the introduction of business intelligence solutions (BI) continues to present companies with very demanding challenges. The assessment of the degree of difficulty has even increased in the comparative study by Actinium Consulting compared to 2007. It is also noticeable that more and more companies are recognizing wrong decisions when selecting tools. According to this year’s survey, almost three quarters of respondents state that they have found previous BI measures difficult, compared to only two thirds of companies two years ago. Currently, 40 percent describe the requirements as “very high” and 35 percent as “high.” Actinium CEO Klaus Hüttl suspects that unchanged strategic weaknesses are the central cause of the multiple project difficulties. “Due to their complexity, BI projects are anything but a trivial matter,” judges Hüttl. “The potential pitfalls are correspondingly diverse, because business, technical, and organizational conditions must be brought together. But if there is a lack of a clear strategic goal definition, it comes as a result to insufficient planning, which significantly limit the benefits of BI implementations.”

Hüttl therefore recommends that companies submit their draft strategy to an experienced BI expert, who can point out possible weaknesses and optimization potential through his neutral view. He also sees the benefit for this in a more precise requirements analysis at the beginning of the BI project, which almost two-thirds of the companies rated as insufficient at the time and now has negative effects. Two years earlier, 8 percent fewer responsible parties had expressed deficiencies in the requirements profile.

But also with regard to their selection of BI tools, the companies now have an even more self-critical position than in 2007. If two years ago 46 percent admitted self-critically, in retrospect, they had not made a sufficient system selection, so the dissatisfaction with the tool decisions has currently increased by one fifth to 58 percent. “Instead of deriving the selection criteria from the BI strategy, the strategy is often tailored to the selected tools,” Hüttl problematizes. However, the starting consideration should always be to avoid a technically dominated BI orientation and instead derive the performance profile for the tools from a strategic overall view. “Otherwise, the tools create considerable shackles, prevent the potential benefits from unfolding, and instead limit the ROI of business intelligence investments or even create expensive late effects,” judges the Actinium consultant.