How Valuable is Business Intelligence to the Enterprise?

By Allan Alter  |  Posted 10-11-2007 Print Email
Just 26 percent of companies using business intelligence have five or more years' experience with the technology. Those new to BI should be encouraged by the success of those who've gone before.

Overall, business intelligence is an IT success story: Our most recent IT spending survey found that BI spending is increasing more quickly than spending on any other application. This month's survey reveals that 72 percent of users say their BI efforts have had a major and measurable impact on their companies' bottom lines. But not all business intelligence goals are being met, and there are problems beneath the veneer of satisfaction.

An overarching question in this year's BI survey is: Are companies learning how to use BI better? The good news is that experience counts. The longer a company uses BI, the wider BI usage spreads within the organization, the more the organization tries to do with the technology and the bigger the technology's contribution to the bottom line. That's just what CIOs would hope to hear. This year's survey also looks into the practices companies follow to achieve their BI goals.

We see a correlation between experience with BI, data quality and development of a clear strategy and vision for business intelligence use. Still, many long-time BI users report problems. Issues of integration, accessibility and bringing users up to speed on how to analyze and use BI data dog this technology. The value of BI increases with experience, but even veteran BI users see room for improvement, and opportunities to gain more value from BI.

Top 5 Ways To Increase BI Value

What are the most effective ways to increase the value your company gets from its business intelligence systems?
N=215
Better align our business intelligence systems with our business strategy 50%
Improve data quality 47
Better integrate our business intelligence systems with other systems such as CRM or ERP 41
Better understand end-user needs and requirements 39
Improve user training 27

How the survey was done:
CIO Insight designed the 2007 Business Intelligence Survey with members of the Ziff Davis Enterprise research staff. IT executives from Ziff Davis Enterprise publication lists were invited to participate in the study by e-mail. The questions were posted on a password-protected Web site, and 241 qualified respondents (89 from companies with revenues in calendar 2006 between $5 million and $100 million; 74 from companies with revenues between $100 million and $999 million, and 78 from companies with revenues of $1 billion or more) replied from August 12 to August 30, 2007. Of the respondents, 49 percent were the top IT executives of their companies; the rest held other IT executive positions.

Finding 1: The BI Learning Curve Has Just Begun

Finding 2: Effectiveness Is a Sometimes Thing

Finding 3: BI Success Depends on Execution

Finding 4: Garbage In, Bad Intelligence Out

Finding 5: Weak Links in the BI Chain



 

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