Monday, August 10

BI only used by 8%, what is the point

It's hard to hear about the proverbial glass ceiling with the Business Intelligence (and data warehousing) industry. This ceiling acts as an invisible force stopping the industry from moving up or beyond it's current paradigm. Perhaps the holy grail is on the other side; or maybe this is the end. And really there are only two choices: assume the ceiling cannot be broken and live happily or innovate around it breaking past the barrier and into more chaos and opportunity.

Shawn Dolley mentioned Netezza's new blog, Previously Impossible. They quote a survey that shows just over 8 percent of employees actually use BI tools. And this is for BI-using organizations! The article also talks about the inflated usage statistics by BI vendors (they want to show value and sell more user licenses - usage is a must-have metric).

Many people mention the high cost of BI/DW. I wouldn't mind that so much if there was equal value in the results, the ROI. I think any MBA would be hard pressed to find positive ROI with only 8 percent of employees using such a costly system. However, companies pay for large BI/DW initiatives either out of necessity or ignorance.

Let's say it's out of necessity with the mounds of data being captured daily.

Now what. There is a need for information but there is still much pain with BI pre and post implementation. Some vendors will jump on the "low cost" wagon with starter kits, blueprints, configuration tools, cheaper hardware, etc. The problem I hope more people are looking at, the real glass ceiling problem, is addressing the question, "why are so few using BI?"

Look at how many people use Google to research or find information. Google's search success is because it's easy and quick! When my father who is 73 can find stuff that's a testimonial! Alternatively BI is still too confusing for the general employee. Dashboards. Analytical cubes. Reports. Forecasts. Anytime you need more than a few hours training (and re-training when you haven't used it for a month), it's too much. This, of course, assumes "BI for the masses".

So will BI ever get to the ease and simplicity where my father could determine the best deal of potato chips and dip mix combination near his location?