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Business Intelligence and Analytics still expanding (and failing)

I remember when I first joined the IT workforce in the late 90's, one of the biggest projects at my company was "Retire the mainframe". After 10 years at that company, the mainframe was still there, and was still going strong! I think it probably is still running to this day.


I also remember the big push in to "Self Service BI" at that same time. We were using Business Objects, Cognos, Crystal Reports, and other solutions at the time. It was an eye-opening time to see data come to life in these tools and put the power of analytics and visualization into the hands of the business analysts and decision makers. By the time the 2010's rolled around I figured that most companies would have adopted some sort of BI and analytics project within their companies. Wow, was I wrong!


Today. April of 2023. Not only have I been surprised at the lack of adoption of data analytics, I am truly surprised at the shear numbers within the industry, but the number of FAILED projects! Of course all the tools in the marketplace promise "Instant Analytics", "Fast ROI", and even things like "A few days to achieve business value". So, what is going on with these failed projects? Inquiring minds want to know.


As it was 15 years ago, I'll take a stab as to why these projects are failing. 1. Lack of clear goals and outcomes. Too many times the needs of the business are not clearly defined at the beginning of these projects. They end up as a science experiment with different tools and never find any real traction with the economic buyer. Those dollars are the first on the chopping block come budget season.


2. "Big Data" sucked all the oxygen out of the room. I had the pleasure (and the pain) of implementing early "Big Data" solutions when Hadoop started gaining marketshare. Every Tom, Dick, and Harry wanted in on the Hadoop game because apparently it was the best thing since sliced bread. That was a very expensive assumption. I would say that only about 5% of the consulting projects I worked on at the time had the volume or velocity of data to justify these Hadoop solutions. Couple that with the inability to do real analytics on the data in these clusters, led to a 10 year cash burn that choked other projects that could have delivered actual value to the business


3. Lack of Leadership. I had a CEO that gave me very sage advice along my career path. "Stop managing and start leading". This is very clear in BI projects when the project leader is just trying to "manage data", and not stay intently focused on leading the project toward the outcomes and objectives every single day. With the "great resignation" that has happened over the past 3 years, its no wonder there have not been competent leaders in charge of these BI and analytics projects.


Our goal at KPI forge is to eliminate these problems. Our process of solution visioning, clear deliverables, open communication strategies, proper data and technology guidance, and accountability will insure that your next project doesn't end up on the steaming pile of failed projects!

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