The biggest causes of BI failure | Poll | Business Intelligence
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A BI track can’t succeed if…

In a recent poll on our website about Business Intelligence, we asked visitors to give us their opinion about the following statement: “A business intelligence track can’t succeed if…”. Below, you’ll find the results of this poll.

Most risk of failure when top management isn’t involved

Respondents indicated that the chance of a BI track failing are the biggest when there are too many KPIs and the top management isn’t actively involved with BI. These two options were far ahead of the other three, which were: lack of a data warehouse, wrong tool choice, or the project is in the hands of the ICT department.

Achieving goals

A KPI scorecard is a system that uses a group of related (financial and non-financial) indicators to give insight into progress towards quantitative and qualitative goals. These goals are based on the key success factors to realizing the stated strategy and mission.

It’s important to devote attention not only to working with BI tools, but also to behavioral competencies like pro-activeness, a focus on analysis and action, living up to your agreements, (periodically) discussing the numbers, drawing conclusions, making choices and sticking to them, and project-based improvement. The end result of phase two is that team leaders and managers, individually but especially together, can create action plans and continuously improve the most important KPIs.

Behavior is visible

But it goes further and deeper. Behavior is visible; someone doesn’t or barely co-operates, or doesn’t take any decisions. In order to facilitate changes in behavior, making connections with the existing management and development tools such as competency management, management development, the HRM cycle, and the topic “unwritten rules” are a must in this phase. Performance management is more than just filling out scorecards, it also demands a different way of thinking an acting from the organization.

Performance management is only successful if:

  • Managers / team leaders actually start steering: it’s important that leaders create room to let employees direct themselves. And that they give employees the ambition to achieve results. Leaders verify the results.
  • Managers / team leaders take responsibility: this is especially important for processes that supersede department and team levels. The business-economical added value of an organization is mostly in the “gap” between teams.
  • The quality of information is continuously improved: working with scorecards means actively working on improving the scorecard and the information and underlying data. When you arrive at the conclusion that your data is incorrect, you have to take action to structurally improve it in the source system. Incorrect data should be immediately corrected whenever possible.
  • Stop using old reports: existing lists and old reports should be retired wherever possible. Employees see scorecards as the primary steering tool of the organization.
  • The organization as a unit: The organizational culture should be unity. That means: process-steering and co-operation. This can be stimulated by displays with scorecards on every level, and making dashboards available to everyone. In case of conflict, employees should first try to resolve the situation themselves before escalating it to management. Talk to each other about positive and negative performances.

Wrong BI tool or a data warehouse

Not having a data warehouse or choosing the wrong BI tool shouldn’t have the biggest impact on the success factor of BI, according to our voters, at least not at first. This matches our own findings, which you can read about here: Business Intelligence Pitfalls & Success Factors. If you need help selecting the right BI tool for the job, check out our BI Tools Survey. It’s a comprehensive comparison report of 19 tools on almost 200 criteria.

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