IT has some choice thoughts on users of Business Intelligence

August 28, 2012
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When it comes to how IT views users of business intelligence (BI), most think users have little knowledge of BI projects, often don’t know what they want from BI, are unschooled on BI technology and practices, yet tend to be very adamant about their BI needs, according to a recent survey by LogiXML.

When it comes to how IT views users of business intelligence (BI), most think users have little knowledge of BI projects, often don’t know what they want from BI, are unschooled on BI technology and practices, yet tend to be very adamant about their BI needs, according to a recent survey by LogiXML.

The survey asked more than 750 IT professionals across multiple industries about BI and its users, it found that 45 percent said users don’t understand how much goes into a BI project; a combined 50 percent said users never know exactly what they want, or what they want until after the project is completed; a combined 90 percent said that users’ understanding of BI was either informed, but ill-equipped; curious, but uninformed; or helpless and hopeless. And a total of 76 percent said users made their BI needs known by loudly insisting, “screaming like banshees,” or assuming IT had “telepathy.”

The survey data suggests that most IT professionals believe that users of BI are or would be dead in the water without IT’s help on BI projects. This may be indicative of companies still employing traditional, old-school BI approaches and systems, or that certain desktop BI technologies and vendors simply aren’t delivering on their promise of easy-to-use, self-service BI. Whatever the reason, it appears that we aren’t yet at a time when BI users are not dependent on IT for their BI needs.

To get a sense of their BI deployments, respondents were asked what video game best describes BI at their company. Most said “Pacman – traditional, but entertaining,” or “Call of Duty – cool and sophisticated, but hard to use and somewhat violent.” Additionally, IT users were asked when they would give users direct access to data sources: 45 percent said “only when they need it,” 20 percent said “only with supervision,” and 20 percent said “are you kidding me, not if my life depended on it.”

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According to the data, user behavior can also be linked to why many BI projects fail. The top threereasons: [user] requirements are unrealistic to begin with, lack of budget and resources, and requirements change too quickly to adapt. Similarly, the top things IT lacks that keep them from meeting user demands: personnel, money, and “smarter end users.” When asked how they thought users spend most of their time, 38 percent combined said “checking FaceBook comments on photos from recent Bahamas trip” or “I wish I knew.”

In terms of BI trends, 46 percent of respondents said that their organizations were not using mobile BI. Of those that were, 26 percent said mobile BI is somewhat popular, 17 percent said it’s very popular, and 5 percent said it’s “more popular than Angry Birds.” Six percent said it’s not very popular. When asked to describe their company on big data, only 17 percent said they were currently using it. Conversely, 27 percent said they are looking at big data analytics for the future, 26 percent said they are actively pursuing big data analytics, a combined 30 percent said “they have a couple big combined spreadsheets, but that’s about it” or “big what?”

These are only a few of the many findings to be considered in the survey. Anyone who is interested in the relationship between IT and users of BI should consider checking it out.