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BI Still Regularly Fails Business. Here’s Why

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Business intelligence software is supposed to help businesses access and analyze data and communicate analytics and metrics. I have witnessed improvements to BI software over the years, from mobile and collaboration to interactive discovery and visualization, and our Value Index for Business Intelligence finds a mature set of technology vendors and products.

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Comments (6)
I'm afraid I have a problem with this article (and others like it). It comes from the perspective that the problem is still one of tools and technologies - that if only the tools were somehow better, than Business Intelligence would be better.

The problem is, that this is a fallacy, largely (but not exclusively) propagated by the tool vendors themselves.

The REAL challenge isn't one of technology or tools at all. Most people won't use anything more that the simple functions that the BI technology stack provides, because most people still can't engage with data beyond being presented with a cross-tab or list report anyway. It's not the tools that are failing, it's the people involved in implementing and using them.

"Business Intelligence" requires narrative, insight, inference & an ability to communicate; if you're delivering BI, then you've got to understand the business issue more completely than the recipient information consumer does.

And there's the rub. Because while most "data people" can do means of production (database config, ETL mapping, building cubes, synthesis of reporting output etc), they don't have the first clue about what the data means or will be used for...

Oh, and don't even get me started on the underlying state of the actual data...!

Posted by Alan D | Thursday, February 21 2013 at 10:50PM ET
Agree with Alan D's assessment of article. Too often, failure centers around HOWs driving the WHATs. BI Champions need to be from business side to drive the WHATs. When BI is deployed like a baseball park in a Iowa corn field--if built, 'they' will come--its adoption quickly loses its value-add proposition. Users become data spectators instead of active players. It devolves into a email driven list dristribution. Adding mobility, entertainment flash and bling to BI does not improve this fundemental problem: data is not relevant to consumer. The BI questions need to be answered (mapped) before the first project hour is spent. The heavy lifting is not the answers but the questions.
Posted by Thomas E O | Friday, February 22 2013 at 11:59AM ET
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