Most SMB business intelligence projects fail. Will yours?

As an SMB, you must agree that there are mountains of data being produced every day irrespective of the size of your business. Most of this data is not meaningful to be used as it is, and needs to be processed, filtered, transformed, and reprocessed to deliver insights. Business intelligence (BI) has evolved as a method of screening out the vague data and analyzing only what is relevant to the SMB. However, more than 75 percent of SMBs fail at their business intelligence projects due to their lack of understanding of the technology. After referring and evaluating dozens of examples of failures, we bring you a few reasons why most SMBs fail when it comes to implementing business intelligence projects. Let’s take a look at them and prepare you to deal with them.

The absence of a strategy for BI

Business Intelligence

To resolve the problem of inefficient BI, it is important to focus on the problem first and then lay down the short-term and long-term goals of the business intelligence plan, not the other way around. Avoid this common mistake and work from the root-up. A well-defined plan will go the distance, whereas its opposite will cause more immediate failures, pain, frustration, and wasteful expenditure. A PoC (proof of concept) must be prepared for the SMB to validate all the possible solutions that can be implemented.

Depending on old-fashioned and passé technology

Concepts like Big Data analytics, business analytics are very modern and advanced, hence many firms face a big problem while upgrading to these killer BI technologies. For an SMB, it is quintessential to break free from the shackles of old technology for BI. Relying on slow-moving elephants of the BI tech world will be a big mistake, as there are companies that are updating the way they work every week. A lot of your SMB’s success depends on BI and Business Analytics, so make sure to choose innovative tools most suitable for your business needs.

Time-consuming results/outputs

One thing we know about people, and especially businesspeople, is that they get impatient pretty soon. Now, your BI solution may be the most effective as compared to others, but what’s the use if takes hours or at times days to generate reports? If your BI software solution provides you with results that take longer than the anticipated time, users would naturally move to the traditional methods like spreadsheets which they think are quicker. Not only is the time lost, but also the quality of BI is diminished.

Bad user experience (UX)

Bad User Experience

A lot of the success of business intelligence projects rides on how a user takes up the technology and how efficient the user interface is. A bad UX in BI software may be a strong reason to not use the interface and to gradually stop adopting it. This problem is so common that less than a quarter of employees can adapt to the user interfaces of BI solution software. When buying the software, an important factor for selection should be the user-friendly UX that is easy to work on and visualize data.

Having no idea about what BI is

BI software

Having an efficient BI software is not enough, instead, have a software that has exceptionally good user experience and your employees will love to work on. But does everyone working on the software know exactly what BI is? We don’t think so. It will not hurt your business to hold a briefing about what business intelligence is and how to use the software. It’s a one-time investment of time that you must support. Also, it should be made clear that why you’re moving to BI and how it’s not just about gathering data but about utilizing it.

Lack of communication among teams

It’s not necessary that your business intelligence software is foolproof, and it may require inputs from the user from time-to-time. A regular feedback mechanism for communication can help your BI software be impeccably efficient. Constant communication needs to be present between the IT department and the users of the BI software. It’s the IT department’s job to clearly understand what the user needs, and the user’s job is simply to clearly communicate their needs to the “techies” in the IT department.

Not setting the targets initially

Almost half of SMBs fail in their business intelligence projects due to not setting clear goals and targets. Most SMBs start with vague and unclear targets and decide to go with the flow. Big mistake! Define targets and assess what the success of BI would actually look like. A resolute solution would be to define clear and specific goals and a relevant roadmap to get to the target. If the primary plan to meet the target fails, then do have backup strategies (like alternate plans and contingency plans) as quick remedies to stay on course.

BI is misunderstood as a one-time project

Building a suitable BI solution takes a lot of money, time, and manpower, so will you just let all those resources go in vain once the problem is solved? Instead of focusing all your attention on implementing the solution, focus more on how the same platform can be made versatile and used for multiple projects. It may sure require a bit more effort, but saves a lot of time for future planning.

Your business intelligence projects: What to do next?

We have given you a few pointers to avoid the pitfalls up to an extent, but there could be some other mishaps that may trip you. All in all, BI needs to be focused more on data and not action. Avoiding the measuring of wrong (dirty) data must also be prevented by your SMB. Remember, BI is a business process and shouldn’t be treated like an IT-centric undertaking. You may not have the wizardry in your workforce to understand and act upon your BI challenges, but that shall not hinder your business intelligence projects. There are third-party firms that recognize and work toward your BI solution software for a nominal cost. In many cases, strong guidance and a good strategy could help you leverage your BI solution effectively.

Images: Pixabay

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