Why Business Intelligence Projects Fail

    3 mins read
    Business Intelligence (BI) adoption is exploding. As data volumes expand, more and more businesses are adopting BI solutions to turn this data into meaningful information. Small pharma and startups are switching towards BI to improve efficiency and data reach for users. Big pharma companies are utilizing BI for innovation, actionable insights, predictive and prescriptive analytics, and many other things.

    Have you ever wondered about the speed at which the BI market is growing? Well, Gartner predicts that the global BI and analytics market will reach $18.3 billion in value this year, that is an increase of 7.3% over last year. Furthermore, the market will grow to $22.8 billion by the end of 2020.

    Despite such growth and new technology evolutions, there is a problem and as such, various BI implementations continue to fail or aren’t as successful as they should be. Have you ever contemplated why? Truly, there are numerous reasons that cause a BI project to fail. 

    Top Five Reasons Why Business Intelligence (BI) Projects Fail:

    1. unclear Business Requirement & Lack of Collaboration

      More than half of the projects fail due to poorly defined requirements and lack of user involvement throughout the duration of the project. In many instances, the end users are only involved during requirement gathering and User Acceptance Testing (UAT). That’s not enough. IT and end users should be working together throughout the project. With the availability of collaborative-technology it makes it easy to work together, and to progress through the project while remaining in accordance with end user expectations. If this is done, it will decrease the likelihood of unwelcomed surprises as the project reaches completion.
    2. Projects Treated as “A One-time Deal”

      Most BI projects are treated as “a one-time deal”. We all know that change is constant, and with time the business changes, rules change, and end users change. Companies must make BI and analytics a part of an operation that covers change management. This will help improve and enhance existing BI applications with respect to the changing requirements and functionalities. If this is not done, then in 6-18 months the adaptability of the application will decrease and spiral down.
    3. Lack of Storytelling

      Why create dashboards and KPIs just for the sake in doing so? Dashboards and KPIs should deliver the current story and performance of the business, among other things. Until we connect and design the application based on a day-in-a-life of the end user, the full potential of the application will not be realized. BI solutions should focus on business use cases rather than just publishing the data graphically.
    4. Performance & Intuitiveness

      These two concepts are true for any given application and not just BI. If the application is slow, and is not user-friendly or self-explanatory, then it is difficult for any business to improve adoption of the application. With poor application performance and lack of intuitiveness, the ends users will revert back to the way things have been done in the past.
    5. The "WOW" Factor is Missing

      Today, most of the BI users are Millennials. The Millennial generation founded the social media movement and their digital tendencies are forcing application developers and marketers to step up their game. Unfortunately, the gap between social media and many BI applications is huge.


    The following are two varying scenarios:

    Scenario One

    When you visit YouTube, Netflix, or Amazon you are transported to an incredible virtual world that is global, but highly personalized to you in a matter of seconds. You can see movies arranged based on your interest, suggested videos based on your viewing history, and product recommendations based on previous purchases and searches. This personalization makes life so easy!

    Scenario Two

    You are working in the BI application implemented at the office. Reports, dashboards, and KPIs are fixed on a page/tab. As you click through looking for reports, you imagine a home page that is designed exclusively for you, based on your previous report history. Yes, all your reports are available in the application, but it would save so much time if the home page had a custom dashboard. A custom dashboard based on your previous work would be efficient and productive.

    The technology is available; I am not talking about anything new. Search base BI tools are solving these problems. Another advancement, and WOW factor, is the ability to integrate Alexa/Google Home with BI applications. To keep up, we need to change the BI world with these cool and powerful functionalities. Similarly, self-service predictive and prescriptive actionable insights are additional must-haves for today's BI application.


    The term “business intelligence” (a.k.a. BI) is all encompassing and there is no one-size-fits-all definition. To start reaping the benefits of BI, your organization must align its data analysis practices with key business objectives.

    A lot of progress has already been made by BI vendors to address these pain points. Even service companies are now creating different domain-specific products. However, I strongly believe that until BI applications offer personalization to the end users, they will continue to be a technology-driven solution rather than what businesses and end-users want.

    Axtria helps its clients achieve success with their BI Projects by offering industry experience and domain knowledge. Feel free to ask for Axtria’s best practices, to make your BI Application a success!