Solutions for the 3 Biggest Business Intelligence Challenges Facing Executives

In my experience, only about 20-30% of BI strategies are fully implemented successfully. This could be even lower in the future as newer types of analytic platforms are coming online (i.e. IOT and big data), as we might see a much higher failure rate of pilots.

Why do so few of these strategies actually make it through to implementation? It comes down to the challenges executives face when trying to implement a BI strategy at their company. Here are three of the biggest ones they face, along with solutions for each of them:

Challenge #1: Politics

Everybody has his or her own preference and the precedence is “you don’t get fired” for choosing a safe bet like Oracle or Microsoft, for example, but then you’re stuck using a legacy tool that may have just had a new face put on it. Today, the business requires speed to ROI, so implementation time needs to be fast. What then should you do? Play it safe or go with a new technology?

Solution: There is a natural conflict that can occur, but in reality you are trying to accomplish the same thing: achieve the highest ROI possible. To do this, there has to be unification and buy-in from the business and the IT department. IT needs to know what the business needs to do their jobs, and the business needs to be empowered to run with their ideas. There are many frameworks available for making this decision, but work together and you will make the right choice.

Challenge #2: Governance

“Data Democracy” is just a buzzword in most organizations, but in reality, they are in a state of data anarchy or data fascism. You fail to create and implement processes that either over-restrict creativity and does not empower the business, or you give free rein to the business to access any data source they want, which creates a lack or loss of trust in the BI platform.

Solution: To truly empower your people with the ability to make decisions, they need data and a way of helping them interpret it to gain insight. You cannot “unlock the jails,” though, and allow access to everything for everyone, either.

So, what do you do?

The place to start is looking at the data and understanding what is really needed and how you provide business users access to it — whether it’s by Subject Area, Community of Practice or department — with limitations based on certain criteria. In these areas, certified data sources and analytical data sources are necessary because you want accurate data for reporting, but you also want to enable the creation of advanced analytics. There are many ways to enable the right type of governance, but the best way (we have found) is through a center of excellence.

Challenge #3: Talent

Finding the right people within the business (or IT) who understand both how to answer business questions, but also have the technical acumen to be able to use your BI stack, can definitely be a challenge.

Solution: Talent is getting harder and harder to find. The first place to look is internally. Over the many implementations that I have done, there has always been at least one rock star that was uncovered in the business, unnoticed until they were given the right tools to do their job. Above, I mentioned the CoE. A properly implemented CoE not only ensures a well-trained talent pool, but also helps retain those individuals who are identified by empowering them and providing a place for them to grow.

How a BI Consulting Firm Can Help

While there are solutions above for each of these challenges executives face, a BI consulting firm can expedite them or help in other ways. A BI consulting firm can:

  • Assess where your organization is on its BI Maturity
  • Assist with developing and executing learning/training programs
  • Implement your technology solutions to enable self-service
  • Help role out a customized CoE solution for your organization

If you’re interested in implementing a BI strategy at your company, hiring a BI consulting firm may be your best bet to ensure it’s successful.

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