3 examples of “duh-type” BI purchasing mistakes

Are you among the thousands of managers trying to figure out what BI software to purchase?
Relax. You are in great company. 

Most executives realize that modern BI (Business Intelligence) solutions are no longer a “nice-to-have” capability, but rather a tool to extract valuable information in order to survive in a highly competitive environment. CIOs across the globe spend millions on traditional BI solutions, cloud services, mobile apps etc. The rapid growth of the BI industry has spawned a multitude of options and managers often opt for the sub-optimal solution. Here’s why.


MISTAKE number 1: Managers skip defining the problems they wish to solve

The ease in which companies collect data creates a slightly deceiving picture that invites leveraging BI tools for the creation of reports and dashboards. Statistically speaking, most business that acquire a complete (and potentially powerful) BI solutions prior to clearly defining what it is that the company wants to accomplish realize diminished ROI compared to enterprises which outlined where and why leveraging big data can make a real difference. Looking at BI systems as a general solver usually ends in failed projects. There is a vast wealth of possible questions one can pose the most simplest of databases. Sifting between these questions can be arduous and time consuming. Starting with a business problem makes it possible to understand the specifics capabilities required to answer it, making it so much easier to distinguish between optional BI solutions.


MISTAKE number 2: Ignoring the end-users

Ultimately, after technically integrating a newly bought BI solution starts a human integration phase. Some IT managers tend to buy first – and hope for the best. There’s a hidden assumption that simply because the data is now available for reporting and viewing – that users will incorporate the BI advantage in their daily deeds. Why is this wrong? Because the inherent value in using BI solutions is more often than not hidden under a thick layer of sophistication and training. People have to undergo two critical processes in order to adopt a new tool: (i) personally understand the value in using the system, and (ii) look at the system favorably enough for them to incorporate a new habit regularly (i.e. “love it”). People rarely use new software simply because they are told to. Advanced studying of end-user habits, needs, questions, insights and views can rule out the purchase of a potentially amazing BI solution that no one will use. Success requires both executive and end user input.


MISTAKE number 3: Companies neglect to act-on-insight

If you do not leverage the intelligence that the BI systems unlocks from collected data you are leaving value (and thus money) on the table. Companies meticulously collect massive amounts of data but are negligent when it comes to sharing it, analyzing it and finally, acting on it. If you are not going to make informed actionable decisions based on the insights mined from your data – you might as well abstain from BI purchasing and save both money and time. Once a business problem is identified (be it prior to purchase or post) – one should strive to sensibly re-adjust models, refine plans and tactics – then re-measure the consequences – and if necessary “rinse and repeat”.


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Lee Laster

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