From daily financial metrics to monthly management reports, business intelligence (BI) technology has had a tremendous impact on decision-making activities at most companies. Despite the broad penetration of BI among executives, managers and professional analysts, from an end-user standpoint the technology is only beginning to reach its potential. Most companies have BI success stories, but upon closer examination it turns out that they access and analyze less than 20 percent of their data assets. On average, these firms have deployed BI capabilities to fewer than 10 percent of their internal users. This paltry adoption rate minimizes the return on IT investments and leaves many opportunities untapped. One of the primary reasons BI hasn’t spread further is because of the traditional IT practices associated with its deployment. Unwittingly, many companies erect barriers between BI technology and corporate knowledge, preventing people from accessing the collective intelligence of the enterprise.

Establishing a BI-savvy population means breaking down the barriers that stand between people and information. This article focuses on the usability barrier, which forces people to learn BI tools rather than simply access timely information.

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