In January, we posted a quick poll question: “How much has your BI deployment contributed to your company’s success?” Most companies embark upon a business intelligence initiative in order to improve the quality of business decisions, resulting in a positive impact on costs and revenue. However, measuring that correlation is often difficult, if not impossible. As part of the poll question, we offered answers that spoke to hunches: “Not at all”; “Slightly”; “Somewhat” or “Significantly”. The top answer to that poll question was: Slightly.
Perhaps our poll question illustrates an industry problem: there is (still!) no easy way to measure BI performance. In a recently published report titled, BI On BI: How To Manage The Performance Of BI Initiatives, Forrester Research writes: Enterprises still rely largely on intuition and qualitative hearsay assessments of business users’ level of satisfaction with BI applications and tools. Forrester Analyst Boris Evelson elaborated on this in his blog: “Few BI pros have a way to measure their BI performance quantitatively (46% do not measure BI performance efficiencies and 55% do not measure effectiveness). Everyone collects statistics on the database and BI application server performance, and many conduct periodic surveys to gauge business users’ level of satisfaction. But how do you really know if you have a high-performing, widely used, popular BI environment?”
Consulting firm Accenture recently published a similar report titled, Analytics in Action: Breakthroughs and Barriers on the Journey to ROI. According to Narendra Mulani, a managing director at Accenture, “Our research suggests there is cautious optimism among companies working toward analytics capabilities that yield a measurable return on investment. Some 57 percent of respondents say they are ‘quite’ or ‘very’ satisfied with what their analytics investments have delivered. That leaves a sizeable minority of companies that are yet to be convinced – 34 percent say they are ‘not yet’ satisfied or ‘not at all’ satisfied with the outcome.”
Mulani concludes: The journey, in other words, is far from complete, with companies still in the process of figuring out how to build effective analytics programs.