Tag Archives: economic difficulties

Challenges you face when trying to implement a BI Solution

11 Jun

Although companies are considering or actively implementing Business Intelligence (BI) technologies, the top management faces numerous challenges in their ability to execute company’s strategy while utilizing their current BI/DW approach. The current economic difficulties are creating even greater interest in BI software because of the potential it offers to analyze data to identify opportunities to cut costs or increase sales. With IT budgets essentially flat this year, Forrester Research still expects BI revenue to increase from $8.5 billion in 2008 to more than $12 billion in revenue in 2014. Large software vendors such as IBM, Microsoft, Oracle and SAP have seized the opportunity by making large BI acquisitions in recent years. Yet many companies have faced challenges with BI, either because they could not find a solution that fit their needs, because they implemented a solution that addressed some needs but left others unfilled, or because the cost and effort associated with implementing a BI solution wasn’t commensurate with the results. This article will attempt to address these concerns. We have listen to many companies facing challenges including

  1. Reports are inconsistent and does not truly reflect the real company information
  2. There are lot of different teams working of lot of different tools and producing a lot of different reports
  3. We have all these reports but now what? It is unclear on what we can do with this information
  4. There is tremendous amount of data collected everyday but there is hardly any data analysis done on that
  5. Disconnect between business and IT users

Also accompanied by them are challenges that have been unlimited over the years, those include:

  1. Disconnect between IT and business users
  2. Change management (Transforming Organization from current state to desired future state)
  3. User adoption
  4. Master Data Management (Defining and managing non-transactional data entities within an organization)
  5. Reactive instead of proactive approach for BI
  6. Lack of Strategy
  7. Security and customization integration
  8. Data Governance (Managing data assets formally throughout the enterprise)

However, there are key challenges that are hurdling to the success of BI & DW implementation:

  1. Expense: It can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars or more and takes months or years to implement a full-scale traditional BI solution. Traditional BI applications require a very time-consuming and usually quite expensive process of defining requirements
  2. Moving Target: BI scope changes more rapidly than in other implementations, especially when the project is coupled to an ERP Business Transformation. These because any change in processes, business or organization influence the final outcome.
  3. Sponsors and user commitment: in many cases users feel challenged by the new technology which changes the way they operate and in addition they have very demanding business cycles (think about Month End Closing Procedure); as a consequence they usually give low priority to the project.
  4. Proper project positioning: “Business” and “Intelligence” are two common words which hide the complexity of the philosophy required implement a multilayer solution and the business transformation always associated with it.

For a Company to properly address these challenges it requires:

  • Good functional/business/technical knowledge in the implementation team. EA experience would be a great benefit
  • Maturity assessment to put in place a reasonable roadmap.
  • Short projects (ideally 6 months) to put in place the BI architecture and a qualified BI department able to tune the solution without jeopardizing the principles.

The best way to do a BI project is to follow a methodology that has proven successful many times over before. The major BI vendors have focused on relatively large and expensive one-size-fits-all approaches that have left many companies searching for a BI solution that fits their needs. The report mining approach to BI provides an inexpensive and flexible approach to deliver validated data to users in the format (Excel) that gives them the ultimate in freedom and flexibility to generate whatever analytics they can conceive to deliver higher revenues and reduce expenses.

For more Information on how ZSL has helped companies to overcome these challenges, please contact Shaughn Kinight