Typical identification signs of the deficits of BI strategies
According to multiple studies, companies show clear deficiencies in their business intelligence orientation and, not least for this reason, have little confidence in the future viability of their BI infrastructure. The market research institute Gartner also described the reality of BI in companies as often lacking strategy. Klaus Hüttl, managing director of the consulting firm Actinium Consulting, has derived the most important characteristics of BI strategic deficits from his consulting practice.
- Predominantly technically dominated focus: BI projects have so far often started with the tool decision, whose functional profile then became the matrix for the project. But by this technical focus determines the concept, the process and organizational conditions necessarily acquire a secondary importance. Even less is the alignment then oriented to the business requirements, as a rule, it even lacks a business case.
- The responsibilities between business departments and IT are not clearly regulated: If projects of any kind are to be led to success, it is important to distribute responsibility according to the principle of the best possible competence. This includes sensibly that the IT builds an integrated, consolidated and harmonized data platform, while the business departments design and implement their applications such as reporting, analysis, data mining, etc. themselves. However, such a joint development of a BI platform tends to be one of the exceptions in corporate reality.
- Each department goes its own way: There is often a life of its own of the organizational areas without orientation to overarching goals and methods. But it makes no sense in the long run that, for example, the controlling area in terms of BI develops different process structures than the sales department and this in turn pursues a different concept than other departments. These autonomy efforts of the specialist departments result in isolated stand-alone solutions that significantly limit the corporate benefit of BI.
- It is dispensed with clear definitions and structures: Not only because different paths are taken by the organizational units, neither a clarification of the terminology nor the roles and rules is made. But this nebulous situation results also or often even mainly from the fact that BI is not thought in the dimension of processes and instead from a technical understanding.
- Unclear infrastructure policy generates excessive costs: Many companies have, not least as a result of uncoordinated individual projects, a grown infrastructure with many systems and different tools from different manufacturers. The consequence is too high operating costs, unnecessary redundancies and a no longer controllable complexity. For lack of bergreifender BI responsibility, there is thus a lack of initiatives to create an integrated, cross-process and flexible data and process platform.
- The BI processes are too little integrated into the business processes: In order to achieve the required integration into business processes and thus an optimization of value creation, BI must in the future understand itself as a service and be implemented as such. BI goes beyond the typical limits of analysis and reporting and also includes the direct supply of the decision makers responsible in a business process with relevant information. Likewise, the measurability of BI processes must be ensured.
- Employees are not made easy access: The users are often not taken along enough during the introduction of BI and reduced to the role of pure consumers of information. However, the necessary acceptance and co-design only arise where users can independently take analyses of data into their own hands. This requires greater networking of content and greater interactivity, and employees must also be prepared for this. Numbers alone do not help, further context is missing in most cases.
- Mistakes of the past are continued instead of corrected: Due to a BI culture that is often too little pronounced, there is a lack of self-critical and consistent reflection of previous BI strategies in the companies. Thus, recognized weaknesses are eliminated only selectively and not in their fundamental causes. In order to achieve a higher strategic momentum, would have to be broken in particular the de facto existing disconnection from the management and provided for more transparency.