Wisdom of Crowds Reports No 1 BI Objective is “Better Decision Making”
Aspirational, and as Dresner points out, arguably a philosophical goal, but year on year, the goal of “Better Decision Making” as a result of a BI implementation is cited as the no 1 objective for almost all BI users.
According to this important BI user report, “Better Decision Making” is the highest objective overall – as well as individually for each vertical industry sector (Healthcare, Manufacturing, Retail/Wholesale, Technology and Financials), for all geographies, and for all job functions apart from Sales, who place “Growth in Revenues” and “Marketing” slightly higher – and who can blame them when these objectives are so key to their success as individuals?
What’s the Success Rate Like?
Looking at the feedback relating to how successful BI has been in delivering their aspirational objectives overall, about 90% of users report “success” at some level. When you look at the level of success with “Better Decision Making”, it scores the highest weighted average of the category “Complete Success”. “That’s great!”, I hear you saying, (I was, at first).
However that’s not the full story – the goal of “Better Decision Making” also achieves the highest weighted average for the unsuccessful as well as the “somewhat successful/unsuccessful” categories.
Figure 2 from Page 71 of Howard Dresner’s “Wisdom of Crowds 2014” report.
(©2014 – Dresner Advisory Services)
So why is this key objective being met so well in some organisations, and so badly in others?
Could these 2 new categories shed some light?
1. State of Data
Two new sections in this year’s Wisdom of Crowds report may direct us towards the answer. Have a look at the feedback for the new category “State of Data” on page 57. Here, 30% of users report that in their organisations, they have streamlined their data practices so that “Data is Truth”, and a further 40% say that a common view of enterprise data is available to all users. The rest have not managed to standardise and agree on data semantics at all levels.
2. Action on Insight
Hold that thought and combine it with the new “Action on Insight” results on page 62 where you will see that 86% of respondents are incorporating “Action on Insight” across functions with some 24% also implementing “Closed Loop Processes” to ensure timely, concerted action.
Data as Truth and Closed Loop Processes
Could the bi-polar nature of the results for our number one objective, “Improve Decision Making”, stem from a critical correlation between the high general success level noted by those who say that they hold “Data as Truth” (with over 50% reporting “Completely Successful” on page 75) and those who report a “Closed Loop” level of action on insight (60% of these report “Completely Successful”)?
Figure 3 from Page 75 of Howard Dresner’s “Wisdom of Crowds 2014” report.
©2014 – Dresner Advisory Services
Whilst it cannot be deduced directly from the report, it does seem highly probable that by improving these two controllable aspects of an organisation’s BI strategy, the more likely it is that the goal of “Improved Decision Making” will be delivered.
Using your BI Platform in a strategic way across all data sources so that you can standardise it across multiple sites and business units is step 1 in this process.
Seeing all this data as “Truth” across an organisation, you can much more easily begin to take step 2, which is “action on insight” at a cross-departmental or business unit level, and then go on to incorporate some “closed loop” processes.
Trust in Data and Automation Leads to Better Decision Making
This creates a level of trust in data and automation within a BI implementation which allows the closed loop process to make decisions for an organisation, i.e. “Information as a Manager” not for managers, and is where the true source and value in achieving this no 1 aspiration really lies. And this can be done with clear BI management from within an organisation coupled with good application design and business knowledge from trusted BI partners.
The failures overall in BI implementations seem to point to a focus on technology vs solving business problems – see page 69. Luckily for us as vendors and consultants it doesn’t seem that users point the finger at suppliers as a cause for their lack of success in achieving their BI objectives! See Page 72.