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9 common BI software mistakes (and how to avoid them)

Jennifer Lonoff Schiff | Aug. 13, 2014
According to Gartner, business Intelligence and analytics will remain a top focus for CIOs through 2017, with companies spending millions on traditional BI software, cloud BI services and now mobile apps and even social BI. However, as the type and number of BI solutions has grown, so too has the possibility of failure, of picking the wrong business intelligence software for your business problem or problems or of having end users not understand or properly use the solution.

BI Mistake No. 6: Not factoring in the mobile workforce. "Many companies forget to consider mobility [when selecting a BI solution]," says Farr. However, "how we consume BI is as important as what we consume. In some cases a simple KPI displayed on a smartphone is as useful as all the paper-based reports in the world."

BI Mistake No. 7: Rushing implementation. "A successful deployment is not always a rapid deployment, and a rapid deployment is not always a successful one," says Daniel J. Ronesi, director, Business of Law Services, Aderant, a provider of legal software. When deploying a BI solution, patience is a virtue. "It is imperative that the implementation is not overly rushed so that sufficient time is set aside for training to ensure users are given the time to develop or acquire the skill sets needed to use the BI software effectively."

"Deploy your business intelligence software incrementally," advises Southard Jones, vice president of Product Strategy, Birst, a provider of cloud-based BI solutions. "Rather than expecting to solve every business problem all at once, prioritize specific outcomes you want to achieve. When you have answered the first business problem, add on incrementally and be flexible in your approach," Jones says.

"Consider what answers will validate a recently introduced strategy or will have the biggest impact on your business operations,"Jones says. "Then choose one as a starting point. While business intelligence can eventually answer all of your questions, don't expect all of the answers all at once."

BI Mistake No. 8: Insufficient training (and miscalculating the costs of training). "Many organizations exhaust their BI budgets on software licenses and a few short weeks of training for their users," says Steve Litwin, president, Litcom, a provider of IT consulting. However, "today's BI systems are complex structures that require far more training in order for users to be able to acquire genuine value from them. [And] ongoing training is [necessary] so that users become familiar and comfortable with the system," he says. "For example, organizations can host weekly lunch sessions where a different aspect of the BI system is discussed." In addition, organizations should make sure the software they install comes with online training videos that help users "become better acquainted with the new BI system."

BI Mistake No. 9: Not leveraging intelligence (collected data) and reporting. "Some companies collect valuable information from their BI software, but then don't share it, analyze it or act on it," and that's a big mistake, says Joe Gerard, vice president, marketing and sales, i-Sight, a provider of case management software. "It's important to think outside the box when assessing what to do with BI. By leveraging the information gathered and applying it to their own business models, companies can avert risk and make informed decisions to drive their business forward."


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