Today, leaders of business intelligence (BI) initiatives face challenges that are less about the development of the technologies and more about adaptation - specifically, adapting to the insights they derive from their endeavors with BI. Thus, despite its promise, BI is not consistently delivering the return on investment that C-level executives have expected. Some companies, after spending millions of dollars, have yanked the plug on their BI projects. Remorse is common.

BI projects were initially sold for solid business reasons, as a means of delivering deeper performance insights, transforming and streamlining dysfunctional operations and reducing general risks. What has gone wrong? Some blame the lackluster results on the number, mix and integration of technologies - but technology alone is rarely the root cause of the problems. The cause is more systemic: BI can force uncomfortable and often rapid changes on an organization, and not all companies can absorb and operationalize those changes effectively. Poorly run BI initiatives can actually create more problems than they were intended to solve.

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