These days, many software players are offering a wide range of Business Intelligence (BI) solutions, and organizations are spending millions of dollars on them. The proliferation of BI software solutions on the market means that at least some organizations are ending up with the wrong fit, or their end users don’t know how to properly use the software, which in turn could lead to costly mistakes.
In order to avert these unnecessary and expensive mistakes, it’s important that you know how to make the most out of business intelligence software. We have come up with the six most common mistakes organizations make that you should avoid when choosing a business intelligence solution.
1. Not identifying the problem to be solved
Among the biggest mistakes made by organizations when pursuing analytics initiatives is not identifying the key problem(s) to be solved – often leading to the purchase of a general-capability BI solution instead of a problem-specific one. Diving into a situation without clear goals often results in failed projects or ineffective results. You may end up not being able to generate any real ROI for the BI Tool purchase immediately or even over a number of years using it or when it sits as shelfware due to it not being fully adopted by the department that purchased it or the organization as a whole.
Prior to selecting a BI solution for your business, Datavail helps organizations identify and rank the most pressing needs for the system. Usually, there are specific reports leaders want to see in a timely manner. We’ll help you compile a list of each department’s most frequently-used documents along with a list of analytics they wish they had but currently find difficult to generate. Datavail can assist with BI tool selection providing demos, proof of concepts, and other domain expertise across most of the top BI tools on the market today. This will ensure you compare BI solutions by the end results you want with the assistance of a partner you can trust to provide objective advisory.
2. No thorough evaluation of tool choices
It’s easy to get dazzled by the features being offered by various BI solutions and end up overlooking the issues of your legacy systems and the integration of applications, such as office and security tools. It’s crucial to ensure that the best business intelligence systems chosen integrate well with the business as whole, with consideration for how business insights will be consumed.
At Datavail, we perform a thorough assessment before recommending any BI solution for a client. This assessment takes into consideration your current hardware configuration, software licenses, and security environment, among other important variables. The best BI system in the world is not the right solution for you if it does not fit well with your current architecture.
3. Rushing the process
Another great mistake is rushing into purchasing and implementing a business intelligence project without first working out what problem you are trying to solve. Patience is key in the setup and deployment of a business intelligence solution, and implementation should not be rushed in order to give ample time for testing and user training.
Taking your time means understanding your current configuration and the problems your organization is experiencing before rushing into a new solution that may generate even more problems. It also means understanding and ranking your needs as well as projecting your organization’s growth trajectory and future demands for BI capabilities.
4. Neglecting to gather input from end users
One of the biggest mistakes companies make when investing in BI technology is failing to match users’ needs with reporting output. As a result, companies end up with systems that cost them millions and provide little or no value due to the mismatch between what has been purchased and what is required.
It is important to establish user requirements and factor them in when deciding on a BI solution. A successful implementation, regardless of technology in use, requires users to have a say in the process. Even if the IT team is trying to get out of the report writing business, the business must have input either through requirements gathering or data governance convergence.
5. Imbalance of control between IT and business users
Giving too much control to business users or IT departments has proven to be controversial in many instances, as each party tends to concentrate on what favors themselves most. In many cases, when the IT department is allowed to make purchasing decisions for the BI solution, they opt to minimize risk by concentrating on factors such as security, stability, and scalability and might overlook the needs of the users. On the other hand, if a business gives the end users too much say in purchasing decisions, they tend to find solutions that depend less on the IT departments such as desktop or cloud systems.
These can both be a costly mistake because the resulting solution will either be inadequate to fulfill the needs of the users or insecure and not adequately robust. The trick is to find the middle ground. In some situations, departments within today’s fast-pace organizations are going around the CIO and IT departments and purchasing their own lower cost Departmental BI solutions. This is done in order to satiate the department’s immediate needs for self-service, rapid, information analysis and visual reporting. Unfortunately, this ultimately leaves IT in a position of forced maintenance and support of the new reporting tool once again creating rifts between IT and business users.
6. Failing to think of future needs
Future business intelligence requirements should be among top priorities when choosing a BI solution. One should avoid choosing solutions that are not scalable in nature. A company should choose a business intelligence solution that can grow and adopt to its future business needs. Preferably the tool should have a roadmap that outlines it’s future direction for support of collaboration, other data sources, and increased functionality that supports business functions and product lifecycle maintenance.
Forecasting an organization’s future analytical and data integration needs is tricky business. Datavail’s Analytics Services team has assisted dozens of companies in making these future state estimations less opaque. Considerations for changes in the number of locations served, the growth in employees using the system, and also the expected continued reduction in the cost of computing hardware, software, and services are a few of the areas Datavail takes into account when interacting with customers for future state data needs. In many cases, getting to an accommodating future state can begin with a reduction in costs, not an increase. Datavail can show you how.
If you would like assistance assessing BI/Analytics solutions for your organization, contact Datavail today. Datavail is a data centric services group in North America offering 24×7 managed services and project consulting in database administration, BI/Analytics, data warehousing, and enterprise performance management. Datavail’s expert analytics consulting team specializes in data integrations, project implementations, and upgrades for applications across the Oracle technology stack, including Hyperion, OBIEE, OBIA, GoldenGate, Weblogic and more.
For more information, please see our white paper, Seven BI and Analytics Services That Strengthen Your Oracle Infrastructure.
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