According to analysts, the global business intelligence (BI) and analytics market is expected to grow by more than $12 billion from 2020 to 2024, at a compound annual growth rate of 10%. 

As BI technology becomes more sophisticated and far-reaching, companies are increasingly looking for ways to implement it across their enterprise. However, not every project ends in a successful rollout.

Today, we’re taking a look at some of the main factors that lead to business intelligence failure. We’ll also share how your company can overcome these obstacles to leverage everything BI can offer. 

7 Reasons for Business Intelligence Failure

1. Lack of Executive Support and Direction

Without strategic direction, it’s easy for a business intelligence project to veer off course, wasting time and budget. In addition, a lack of direction makes it difficult to obtain executive support and engagement.

We recommend setting clear project goals before selecting BI technology. Moving ahead with a still-muddy vision for the final product could mean implementing a BI solution that doesn’t align with your business objectives. 

It could also mean your BI solution won’t align with your current ERP software. Learn more, by reading our post, What is the Connection Between Business Intelligence and ERP?

A Failed Payroll System Implementation

Panorama’s Expert Witness team was retained to provide a forensic analysis and written report to the court regarding the failed implementation of a major software developer’s ERP/payroll system.

2. Too-Long Timelines, Too Little Engagement

There are many steps required to complete a successful BI project. Initial phases, such as gathering requirements and specifying technical and functional features, are just the beginning. 

After a while, Your project teams may begin to grow weary and disengaged. It might seem as though the time between planning the effort and actually delivering something tangible is enormous. This is especially the case if you approach the implementation as a waterfall project, only beginning the next phase when the preceding one is complete. 

If possible, try to take an agile approach, instead. This involves dividing up the project into smaller phases, which helps keep stakeholders engaged. 

Testing and development activities occur concurrently in an agile project, which can facilitate ongoing communication among developers, managers, testers, and customers. 

3. Unnecessary Dashboards and KPIs

As you configure your BI solution, it can be tempting to create a bevy of dashboards and key performance indicators (KPIs) just because you can.

While KPIs are a necessary way to track your company’s growth, they should be intentional. Consider how your business, or department, defines success, and look for ways to use BI to measure these criteria.

You don’t want to overcrowd your dashboards and scorecards with ambiguous performance indicators that overwhelm and confuse your employees, rather than help them.

4. Lack of User Adoption

Implementing business intelligence tools is one thing. Convincing your workforce to use them is another. 

Without a strong focus on organizational change management, you won’t be able to prepare your employees to fully embrace the software at go-live.

These systems are sophisticated, advanced, and often intimidating for first-time users. This is true for even the most user-friendly data visualization tools. Most business users aren’t data analysts by trade, so knowing how to interpret the insights on their ERP dashboard can be challenging.

With a dedicated change management plan, you can make sure employees are well-trained in the system before it goes live.

Change management also ensures employee buy-in. In other words, employees will not only know how to use the system, but they will actually want to use it.

5. Data Visualization Without Direction

A dashboard can be filled with all kinds of data points, but above all else, it should tell a story. Where were you before and where are you now? What happened along the way?

If your BI technology makes it difficult to analyze data visualizations and understand where business successes and failures occurred, you’ll have no direction for the future for your business.

6. Poor Data Quality

Your BI development team might have control of your business data, but it should come to them clean and ready to use. Otherwise, they’ll move ahead based on the data they have, which may or may not be completely accurate. 

If this happens, it can cause senior leaders to lose faith in the application, even though the underlying issue isn’t the technology itself. Rather, it’s the poor data behind it. 

BI developers should work closely with data owners to ensure data is accurate. Be sure to take a look at our data migration and cleansing tips before you begin implementation. 

7. Missing Data Inquiry Opportunities

To truly derive business value from your BI software, users must know how to dig deep and go beyond high-level analytics.

Many tools offer answers to questions that you already know to ask, but these tools don’t go much further than that. For many business leaders, this is enough.

However, it only scratches the surface of what BI software can provide. There many more insights to be discovered.

While modern BI solutions have artificial intelligence capabilities that provide helpful insights, such as predictions and recommendations, you should still encourage users to dig deeper and think of additional inquiries they may have.

Avoid a Business Intelligence Failure

The future of business intelligence is ripe with possibility. Companies that successfully adopt BI will be more competitive, agile, and responsive than those that don’t.

Yet, to avoid a business intelligence failure, it’s critical to take the right approach. Contact our ERP consultants below to learn more.

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