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Surprising Percentage of Orgs Have No Strategy for BI Implementations

by Dave Hannon

April 5, 2013

By Dave Hannon

If I asked you what percent of companies that implement business intelligence solutions admit that they have no strategy in place for the use of those solutions, what would you guess? (Answer will come later in this blog post).

While conducting a recent project for insiderRESEARCH about the adoption of business intelligence solutions, I learned that a surprising (at least surprising to me) number of organizations implement BI without a formal strategy and others without a formal training program. The not-so-surprising result is that many companies say their BI users don't have the skills required to make the most of BI solutions and they struggle with user adoption, despite increasing numbers of companies implementing BI.

I know what you're thinking right now. You might be thinking "Who are those messed up companies? Glad I don't work THERE!" But the truth is (insert ominous tones) it could be your company (insert sudden flash of organ music).

It IS scary. This research showed there is a disconnect at many companies between what's going on in the back and the front end of the organization when it comes to business intelligence. If you're in the IT organization you may well be up to your eyeballs in or recently completed an SAP BusinessObjects implementation (and plenty of you are according to our survey). That's a lot of work. You guys are doing a good job, the research shows, at migrating to BOBJ, evaluating and implementing solutions, and at the tech nical integration steps. It's all coming together nicely on the back end. 

But many business users or organizatins still aren't clear on how to use these new solutions in their daily processes. Or put another way, the right use cases aren't being identified early enough at these organizations to drive adoption and training.

If you're in the IT organization, you might find that hard to understand, but here's the thing -- you probably LIKE new technology. In fact, I know you do. I sit next to you at conference sessions and notice you perking up for the demos of the new solutions. But the average business user is the opposite. They need to know why they should use this new system and possibly change a decade-old process waaay BEFORE they even log on to this new system.

"But Dave, how can I help? I really don't interface with business users very often."

Well, I'd argue that it's in your best interest and everyone's best interest to change that, or at least make the most of whatever interaction you have with business users. Because the adoption and success rate of any IT project has a a big  impact on 1. the business 2. the perception of the IT organization 3. maybe even on the budget for the IT organization.

So at the very least, asking the questions about user training strategy, about use case and business drivers while you're working with business-side contacts is worth the effort. (Take it from a guy who asks questions for a living, I'm a firm believer that asking seemingly obvious questions can sometimes produce less-than-obvious answers--or no answer at all.)

Because more than half of you -- yes more than half -- said you don't think your users have the skills to make the most of the BI solutions you're implementing and more than a third of you said user understanding and adoption was the biggest challenge to expanding BI initiatives.

A nd now, as promised, I'll tell you that 15% of organizations using business intelligence say they don't have a formal strategy in place for its use, including some very mature users. Surprised? Maybe not? As always, I welcome your comments. 

To download the entire SAP BI Benchmark 2013 report from insiderRESEARCH click here and log into the SAPinsider web site.

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