In 2014, Gartner has provided this stunning statistic: less than 30% of business intelligence (BI) initiatives meets the business requirements and fail to align analytics with enterprise business drivers. Why is there this gap between BI project requirements and valuable analytics for the business users?
Project delivered … but no adoption
Anyone who has once implemented Business Intelligence (BI) solutions should have probably already experienced this. Your project seems successful, you fulfill the project specifications as requested, the business sponsor is happy and still…
If your business users use your reporting and get value from your analytics then you‘ve succeed. User adoption is the key success criteria for any BI project.
However, you gave them what they asked for, but they’re not using it… Why?
Have you correctly identified your business users’ needs?
Business and IT are often two different worlds that do not understand each other’s. IT has built something that users don’t want or they misinterpreted the needs. On the other hand, business hasn’t spent enough time to thoroughly think about what exactly the need. Often they want to start the project as soon as possible, and preferably get it delivered yesterday.
Involving users during the analysis phase (even in the project itself!) is often a good idea.
Reporting should adapt as fast as Business changes
Another possibility is that the project has taken so long that business has changed meanwhile. Business requirements of yesterday will not be those of tomorrow. If your BI solution is not flexible enough, you just have succeeded to let them respond to the questions of the past. A business intelligence project is a journey not a destination.
Agility is key…
Business changes, and so will your reporting requirements. As your business adapts to this changing world, your requirements evolve with it. If you don’t address the changing nature of these requirements, your BI solution will quickly become obsolete. By reducing the delivery cycle and confronting periodically the solution to your business users, you will be able to cope with change. As a consequence, your ‘good old’ methodology of the past won’t be able to address this. Hence the need for an adapted agile methodology.
… but end user autonomy might be the holy grail (at least for some users)
Changing requirements can also be handled differently. The reason behind the disconnect is not really a result of the business changing too fast, but rather the BI technology not separating the IT specific tasks (such as the data modeling and the creation of key analytics) from the business user related tasks (what the end user actually wants to do with the data, how he wants to present it, etc…).
And this is what a modern self-service BI technology can provide. It gives IT the environment to setup the (data and analytics) building blocks and guarantee the necessary data governance. And give the business users the right tool that lets them play with those building blocks, and build it the way they want.
If you‘d like to learn more about self-service BI, I warmly recommend you to look at this excellent white paper written by Enterprise Management Associates: 'Empowering Business Professionals with User-Driven BI'