Business intelligence users must avoid challenges

One of the major mistakes that can sink any initiative is overconfidence. Leaders often think a new technology will look after itself and implement it without a second thought. These projects appear doomed to failure, even when the IT investment in question is something with great potential, like business intelligence. BI is currently riding a wave of corporate enthusiasm due to the widely-accepted benefits of improved decision-making for companies. This excitement, however, must be tempered by a real understanding of what BI can deliver and how to make it work in situations that apply to everyday operations.

Several major blunders described
There is a right way to approach a transformative technology investment like predictive analytics, and there are many wrong ways. Computerworld recently chronicled some of the mistakes that have scuttled companies' attempts to make their BI systems accurately predict future outcomes. Analytics firm vice president of operations Jeff Deal explained to the news provider that some organizations don't have a goal in mind when they begin an analytics project. This means they will end up spinning their wheels, and making projections that no one really needs. Deal described a major enterprise that had this problem, conjuring predictions that the intended recipients were not interested in.

Deal also shared the cautionary example of a company that decided its first predictive BI process should be massive in scale and budget. The plan spiraled out of control and failed. Deal told Computerworld that BI users should be content to hit modest goals during the early stages of a new BI deployment. Predictive analytics projects have massive ramifications in time, but ramping up to those ambitions rather than foisting them on developers right away could be the way to go. Business intelligence plans can help on both a micro and macro level, and starting with the former might be a way to help the latter along.

More opportunities
While predictive projects are highly promising, there are many other exciting BI options that also warrant consideration. Once firms start getting results that suit their strategic goals, they might want to make that information more widely available to cut down on the time IT workers must put into the process. That could mean it's time for self service options that will put insights directly into the hands of the employees who need it, in every department from the C-suite to the contact center. Mobile BI could spread this information even more widely.

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