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Three organizational reasons BI fails, and what you can do to ensure success.

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Three organizational reasons BI fails, and what you can do to ensure success.

The relationship between business users and IT has long been explored as a key indicator of how effective BI implementation will be for a company. According to recent Forrester research, the old guard of internal BI enablers are inhibiting effective BI programs because of organizational values that compete with business values, siloed technology ownership and the inability to work with agility.

Yet, even with the rise of modern BI tools that let business users self-serve, IT remains a tremendously important asset for building custom BI infrastructure and performing advanced optimization. Zoltan Toth, a data services engineer at Prezi, echoed this sentiment recently when he explained how his IT organization works with business users to develop the building blocks for self-service reporting. "People came by our desks with great ideas—visualize the number of bugs, show us how our NPS is trending," he said. "We created a framework where people could create their own charts and see data in their own way. That's when the real data boom happened."

Let's look closely at three common organizational reasons that BI solutions fail today, and what you can do position your company for success.

1. Focus on outputs before evaluating technology and programs.

IT-driven BI solution evaluations have historically focused first on the technology itself, evaluating efficacy, cost and security. While these are important factors for considering a new BI solution, the evaluation phase should start from a more strategic discussion of outputs. In order for business users and IT to effectively collaborate on finding and implementing the right BI solution, IT should be fully briefed on the KPIs and metrics that business users will need to drive the company forward before addressing technology needs.

2. Put BI ownership squarely in the business users' court

According to Forrester, there's a clear relationship between the success of BI initiatives and ownership by business users. Yet less than half of organizations report that IT and business stakeholders work together and share the same vision. Problems often develop not because BI solutions are owned outright by IT, but because there is no clear ownership. IT and business users drive priorities and requirements from different and conflicting values (cost savings vs. revenue generation, for example). In truth, the modernization of BI tools has freed IT from cumbersome report and dashboard development because business users can now easily drag, drop, and develop reports for themselves.

3. Set up your organization for agility with self-service technologies

It's an ugly fact. BI requirements are often out of date before the first set of specifications has been collected and documented. That's because IT organizations are often structured to serve business users tactical, project-based BI deliverables, rather than acting as partners for long-term success. This methodology amplifies the tension between IT and business users because it sets IT up to fail from the start. We've all seen it happen: Once a business-critical question is answered, ten more pop up. In order for IT to enable business users to effectively answer those questions without reprioritizing other initiatives, there has to be a flexible infrastructure in place that positions IT to iterate on-demand as business requirements change or new data sources emerge.

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Written by GoodData Author  | 

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