The business intelligence (BI) industry, like many others, has a generous quota of myths, for all the usual reasons. Vendors have powerful commercial incentives to highlight the successes of their best customers while downplaying the flops. Users and project sponsors, who may have extracted large funding, are much more likely to spread the word about their extraordinary or beneficial projects than to bore the world with accounts of the far more numerous humdrum efforts. And, unless the problem projects were disasters on a scale that can’t be covered up (much rarer in the BI than the enterprise resource planning world), they have little reason to complain loudly about failures that may be at least partly their own fault.

Financial and industry analysts also have their own reasons to focus on the revolutionary, the exciting or the spectacular, while largely ignoring the far more numerous pedestrian deployments. And even if they do stumble upon a disaster, there may be legal prohibitions on blowing the whistle. Journalists often don’t have the personal knowledge or the time to dig deep, and they have to rely on a cast of characters all with vested interests for their information.

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