Business intelligence (BI) is one of today's most important enterprise technology areas. Despite the growth of BI, however, achieving return on investment remains a challenge when implementing this software.
To learn why many business intelligence projects do not meet expectations, I spoke with Michael Corcoran, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of BI software vendor, Information Builders. Michael is a veteran of the industry and well positioned to shed light on this topic.
During our conversation, Michael emphasized that poor ROI is an important consideration for many BI projects:
Most BI initiatives fail because organizations make large investments to equip a small number of back office analysts with BI capabilities. It's better to spread that investment over a broader number of users, raising the ROI for each user. Focusing only on analytical users is expensive and wasteful.
He also spoke about unused software licenses as another problem for the industry:
Shelfware is a good metric to examine. Vendors can decrease the number of unused licenses customers buy in three ways:
- Making the software easier to use
- Offering the software with a server-based, all you can eat license
- Making servers scalable
Michael was clear that improving software usability can raise BI project success rates:
The IT department should build basic screens, such as those on eBay, and use "controlled simplicity" to create what we might call a 'guided ad hoc system.' IT should set the boundaries, but offer users flexibility within those limits.
At the conclusion of our meeting, Michael and I recorded a video in which he offers additional insight into important drivers of success and failure on BI projects. In this video, Michael connects project success with areas such as strategy; usability; and alignment between IT and lines of business. I definitely suggest you invest four minutes to watch.
Please watch the video and share your thoughts in the comments: