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Tips offered for making the most of BI

Companies that are looking to initiate new business intelligence (BI) and big data projects are increasingly coming to understand the benefits such a strategy can bring to their organization, but many are still failing to turn this into useful results.

This is according to Forrester analysts Martha Bennett and Boris Evelson, who stated in an article for Computer Weekly that while recognizing the importance of analytics is one thing, putting in place the right processes and tools to deliver usable insight is often a major challenge.

As a result, research by the firm revealed the majority of enterprises are still struggling to get the most out of their investments in big data analytics. Ms Bennett and Mr Evelson observed common issues include "insufficient or inaccessible data, excessive or 'wrong' data, untrustworthy data, unacceptably long turnaround times for new reports or other BI capabilities, or BI tools that just are not right for the job". 

Therefore, just 54 percent of firms stated they had been successful in making better-informed business decisions as a result of BI and analytics, while only 28 percent stated they had been able to get a competitive advantage.

But this does not mean big data analytics are not effective – rather that firms need to better understand how to make the most of them. The Forrester analytics offered a number of suggestions for improving performance, since as ensuring their is a strong business focus on BI from the start, rather than leaving the deployment of tools solely to IT.

"This may sound like a foregone conclusion, but it isn't," they said. "Some BI projects fail at an early stage; others go right through to final delivery and signoff before someone declares they don't meet expectations."

A lack of involvement from individuals at all levels and departments was cited as the most common reason for this.

Other tips offered by the Forrester experts includes ensuring solutions are developed with agility in mind and that they are easy enough for any personnel to use them without specialist expertise. A strong governance foundation is also a must, they added.