What is Business Intelligence? | 5 Reasons why BI Strategies Fail

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8 Reasons Why Business Intelligence Strategies Fail

Kelsey Davis

Published September 27, 2022

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Since the dawn of the Internet, the emergence of smartphones, the explosion of social media, and countless other digital disruptors, information, or data, has been shared and consumed at an alarming rate. But the thing is that the data we consume today is not exactly verifiable. From exclusive pieces to breaking news, there is no way of telling whether it is authentic and factual.

To counteract the blindly disseminating of information that could be harmful or ruin an organization’s reputation for its shoddiness, one of the most prevalent solutions has been Business Intelligence (BI).

However, before implementing a BI strategy, it’s crucial to understand what is it and why almost 80 percent of business intelligence initiatives fail. By exploring the common mistakes that organizations make when implementing business intelligence strategies, you can better position your organization for success.

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What Is Business Intelligence? 

In a nutshell, business intelligence leverages technologies and services to gather, analyze, interpret, and transform data into actionable insights for intelligent decision-making. By using a streamlined approach, it synthesizes all the information collected and presents it in easy-to-understand format. BI tools, often referred to as data analytics, can provide incredibly deep and powerful insights into your business and organization, successfully predict trends and events, and use reporting functionality to serve as a guide for further action. 

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However, just like all information isn’t completely foolproof, certain BI strategies can be faulty as well. The proof of concept lies on the organization to effectively implement, manage, and scale BI objectives while paying attention to commonly made mistakes.

Let’s talk about how Business Intelligence impacts your core processes and functions!

  • Sales and marketing: With Business Intelligence dashboards, end users can identify high-end customers to help you accelerate your customer acquisition efforts. Besides boosting your customer retention efforts, you can also increase the accuracy of your sales forecasts. With accurate and detailed information at your disposal, you can measure the ROI of your marketing campaigns. 
  • Finance: Setting up a holistic view of your revenue streams and allowing teams to access real-time and accurate financial data will reveal opportunities for growth and change for your organization. 
  • Maximizing operational Efficiency: A successful Business Intelligence strategy helps leaders make data-driven decisions rather than relying on guesswork. With real-time reporting and interactive data visualizations, your organization will respond to disruptive changes, thereby boosting your operational efficiency.

Top Mistakes Businesses Make When Implementing a BI Strategy!

When designing a business intelligence strategy, most organizations skip critical steps and end up with a disaster. To prevent this from happening, we have outlined top mistakes that organizations make and how you can avoid them. Let’s explore. 

Mistake 1: Lack Of Support

Tech juggernauts can spit out information faster than humanly possible, literally. But just because we have access to an overwhelming amount of information doesn’t mean we know how to properly use it. 

So while you might have multiple data warehouses stock full of knowledge, unless that knowledge is vetted and employees in your organization receive guidance on how to strategically apply the data to various business endeavors, it is all worthless.

Executive leadership, or those in charge of tech decisions, need to base their initiatives around relevant metrics. If your company has a CIO, or someone thoroughly invested in the information technology setting, let them serve as an influence during the selection, implementation, and management of project metrics on BI solutions, in addition to welcoming their input on appropriate software and tracking tools.

Lack of support extends beyond the executive level. It’s also routinely seen through business and human resources. A severe shortage in adequate training for staff involved in the business intelligence process acts as a barrier to its success. How can you successfully build a BI solution if those tasked with working on them aren’t privy to their operationalization or don’t know how to appropriately respond to its output? This renders the information invalid. After all, data might give us tangible fragments of tantalizing and interesting value, but they’d remain stagnant without a bit of forwarding push and storytelling.

Maybe the strongest failure in regards to lack of support is how many organizations fail to make a BI solution a universal effort, meaning it is rarely enacted across all aspects of a business. This failure doesn’t come from a lazy or misinformed overall picture of the BI method as most do take the whole spectrum into account, it is more based on limited scoping done before implementing an initiative. It goes hand-in-hand with executing a plan without lining up all the necessary players to ensure the plan succeeds.

Mistake 2: Old Technology Breeds Bad Outcomes

If you’re a tech company, you should expect to be on trend with the latest and greatest. It doesn’t mean you must buy every new innovation that makes waves. Granted, you’d be bankrupt after a day if that was the case. However, in terms of business intelligence, if that is a tool you’re using and/or selling, expect to stay on point. Even if you’re not a tech company but have a BI solution, it is imperative that you keep on top of the newest technology associated with excellent delivery.

Ever-changing workflows and the breakup of former big weights like Oracle and SAP have made business intelligence an outlaw. The old standards no longer apply and new technology has no set rules.

Don’t think this means there is now a free-for-all. Law and order still exists. However, just like methodology has changed, so has the technology behind successful BI ventures. 

When pinpointing what exactly is wrong with your old technology, several factors arise. One is limited capacity. As information and your ability to compile it has skyrocketed, it doesn’t mean your ability to house it all has increased as intensely. This leads to vital information loss and only partial intelligence being in consideration during the decision process.

A lot of the mismatch in data performance and storage might come down to when you implemented your BI platform. If it has been awhile, then your system might be out-of-date and missing key components to its reasoning nowadays. If you continue to use this technology, you’re still pulling at IT resources and bandwidth and that can lead to negative results.

Mistake 3: Poor User Experience And Understanding

An idea is only as good as its execution, so if your staff is unwilling to use the BI platform, your adoption rates will plummet. Some employees might be hesitant to try concepts they’re unfamiliar with, while others don’t support them for lack of understanding, as mentioned under mistake 1.

If your BI’s output is too intensive and hard to decipher, it defeats the purpose of its goal. It’s important when deciding which platform best fits your business needs to consider that the insights it gleams from all your data are easy to interpret and present. If nobody knows WHY the information is important, they can’t successfully frame a storyboard around the information to drive business objectives.

For instance, if you have trouble analyzing data from BI dashboards, it is time to make things simpler

User experience is imperative to data visualization. Confusing and poorly designed infographics and dashboards can slow down the adoption process, or make users abandon it all together. In order to avoid this conundrum, simplification is needed. Reduce the KPIs your dashboard is tracking or consider switching your software completely to one that provides better clarity.

Mistake 4: Relying on Bad Data

Bad data hygiene is another massive headache affecting companies with failing BI strategies. If the analytics you’re pulling are unable to separate the useful nuggets of information from the noise, you may veer into the wrong direction with your decision-making. 

Avoid this with routine data hygiene maintenance on your data to eliminate the outliers and repetitive information. Also, pick a platform that has built-in sanitization and filtering tools that are fully customizable. Once you start distinguishing between good and bad data, you’ll be able to customize and finesse your options for optimal growth.

Mistake 5: Not Thinking About Privacy and Security Concerns

One of the most common reasons behind Business Intelligence failure is a lack of security and compliance measures. According to reports, 43% of small businesses are victims of data breaches. Your company records contain sensitive user information that needs to be protected. For these reasons, implementing measures to secure your data from external threats is crucial. 

When dealing with massive databases, having security systems that offer specific access and control is important. You can also create measures that help you comply with governmental rules and regulations.

Mistake 6: Ignoring Data Visualizations

Visuals are everywhere. Whether you are designing a critical presentation or explaining an important detail, charts, bars, or diagrams can help the audience understand details better. Instead of spending hours analyzing long spreadsheets or reports, charts give you a snapshot of how a particular business function is performing. 

Although most businesses ignore this critical detail, it can tremendously save your resources. When adopting a BI system for your business, you can incorporate data visualization tools into the workflow that create informative infographics, heat maps, histogram charts, and more to ensure that you make better decisions faster.

Mistake 7: Not Digging Deeper

Your Business Intelligence system is as good as the data you put into it. For deriving real value from your BI systems, you need to dig deep and find different ways of utilizing data. 

For instance, if you have data about an ad campaign, you can use BI tools to analyze which audience group interacted the most and which interacted the least. This can help you segregate your target audience, and you can reduce the average cost per click. 

But if you only look at the stats and the KPIs, you are not utilizing the system. Instead of scratching the surface level, find opportunities to discover new insights with data every day.

Mistake 8: Miscellaneous Other Factors

There are many other factors behind failed BI initiatives and narrowing it down to one particular problem, or several can be challenging. You must focus on your situation to pinpoint issues. They can range from having too many key performance indicators (KPIs) as mentioned above on your dashboards to a breakdown in communication. It might take time and experimentation to accurately target the problems within your BI.

For example, KPIs are needed to track successes and failures for proper performance measurement. However, there can be overkill as too many KPIs make it hard to focus on your core competencies. Overusing KPIs on dashboards leads to more than just general confusion, they require more upkeep and analysis. This can complicate seemingly routine tasks and turn them into drawn-out and laborious overkill while also diminishing the precision and accuracy of other vital KPIs.

On the communication front, transparency and upfront communication are promised a lot across the tech stratosphere. And while connectivity is widely available and easily available for our personal AND business lives, there still seems to be a disconnect between the halves when it comes down to business principles. 

IT and business decision-makers often have parallel initiatives to consider, but their approaches are different. Finding a convergence among the two that incorporates the overall company vision, business operations, deep understanding of organizational scope, and realistic present and future BI goals, while still allowing both IT and executives to make decisions when fully informed, can ensure a BI strategy that delivers rather than dissolves. 

Other miscellaneous factors might take longer to uncover, but with persistence and the right components in place, they can be found and dealt with. 

Moving Forward

Data is the goldmine that every business leaders want to explore. But turning data into actionable insights is not as easy as it sounds. 

Just because most business intelligence strategies fail, it doesn’t mean you have to be part of the statistic. Finding the right enterprise resource takes time, research, and resolve to power through and fix issues and modify or redirect as needed. 
If you want to take the guesswork out of the experience and entrust an expert with your needs, look no further than ATC. We can hook you up with success and provide ongoing guidance. Click here to get started.

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