Less than 30 percent of the potential users of organisations' standard business intelligence (BI) tools use the technology today, according to industry researcher Gartner, Inc.
This low take-up is due to the fact that longstanding tools and approaches to BI are often too difficult to use, slow to respond or deliver content of limited relevance. The consumerisation of BI technologies could benefit organizations by delivering a better fit and broader user appeal.
"The fact of the matter is that BI is not pervasive and adoption is not in line with the investment made by most firms," says James Richardson, research director at Gartner.
Richardson asserts that almost every organisation could enhance performance if its stakeholders had easier access to well-integrated information, and if they analyzed that information to manage performance and make decisions.
"The consumerization of BI technology offers a means for it to break out and reach many more users, by offering faster, more user-friendly and more relevant BI," he says.
Gartner analysts say people's experience of interacting with Internet-powered technologies changes their expectations of IT. BI users want to be able to just pick up and use the technology — they don't want to have to read the manual. This places a high degree of importance on the human/computer interaction aspects of BI product and deployment design.
Three key factors that can drive adoption of technology can also discourage the sustained use of BI by its intended users, if weak or absent:
* Ease of use — If BI is hard to work with, or completely static (or sometimes even if it just looks bad), users will stop using it.
* Performance — If users are frustrated by delays in query responses or report production, then they will be likely to stop using the BI tool (or they'll use it once each time they need to do some analysis, and simply load its output into Excel).
* Relevance — If the BI platform omits information that users need, or does not express content in line with their frame of reference, then they will stop using it or, once again, use it to move (and probably add) data into a spreadsheet for "correction."
"A failure in any one of these areas can be the cause of poor takeup, and goes some way toward explaining why just 28 percent of users have adopted the organization's standard BI platform of choice," says Richardson.
Gartner analysts said the concept of a single enterprisewide BI product standard is flawed and organizations need to face the reality of overseeing a number of BI platform components. It is inevitable that managing a portfolio of BI applications will require more effort than is needed for a single platform.
“However, the balance of capabilities offered and the relevance to the business will justify the effort incurred — by ensuring a better match to end-user needs and, therefore, a greater return on investment (ROI) in BI,” Richardson notes. “The power of consumerization means that, in all but the most locked-down of firms, portfolio management is an inescapable fact of life.”
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