3 ways business intelligence can hurt your projects

Business intelligence can help companies gain insight into past performance for future improvement, though there are potential drawbacks to using BI tools for projects.

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Image: iStock/Jacob Ammentorp Lund

Business intelligence (BI) tools help companies gather, analyze, and report important information. The potential benefits to using BI tools include:

  • Improved data quality; 

  • Faster and better decision making;

  • Increased confidence; and

  • More reliable reporting and results.

And yet, some companies may achieve less than optimal or even dismal results from their business intelligence tools. Why? Here are three ways that business intelligence can negatively impact your project.

SEE: Project failure: 10 excuses your boss doesn't want to hear (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Project teams' insufficient understanding of business intelligence tools

By using business intelligence tools, project managers can learn essential information that helps their companies gain a competitive advantage. This does rely on a team's ability to effectively leverage business intelligence tools. 

The information gathered, analyzed, and reported is only useful if the individuals collecting it understand what they are looking for, why this information is relevant, where and how to search, and how to interpret the BI in a meaningful way. It is also essential to know who should have access to the information and how to deliver it in a timely manner. 

Without a clear understanding of what business intelligence tools are and how to properly use them, project teams can easily provide incorrect results that can jeopardize the success of a project.

Excluding indirect or non-financial data in marketing-related projects

In this digitally driven era, companies are starting to realize that data and online content should not be considered as a separate aspect of information management, but rather factored into results. However, not all businesses are moving towards a holistic view of business intelligence when capturing and analyzing information. 

When planning for marketing-related projects, some companies, especially smaller ones, may only see financial and team-based performance data as valuable. Large numbers of customers or potential customers now interact online through social media, website content, and online advertising, which can play a significant role in trends, future activities, and spending habits. Planning for marketing initiatives requires that data be collected from all online content sources, and excluding some digital business insights can greatly reduce the effectiveness of business intelligence efforts and hurt future marketing project performance. 

Unnecessarily restricting business intelligence

Self-service business intelligence (SSBI) provides project management teams with access to business information without the direct involvement of IT departments. Team members can access relevant data and perform queries easily without having advanced technical skills or relying on IT departments for results. Project management teams should have the flexibility and freedom to run applicable reports for faster decision making in a more timely manner to reduce bottlenecks and potential scheduling delays. 

Over-restricting business intelligence can result in IT department resource overload, decreased cross-functional productivity, reduced employee satisfaction, a decreased sense of trust, and low morale. While it is vital to restrict access based on a user's role, it is equally important to ensure that teams have the power to access and report on information without being hindered by bureaucracy. 

Summary

Business intelligence tools are beneficial if your teams can easily access these tools through a self-serve dashboard, they know how to use the tech, and they recognize the value behind all of the digital business content available. 

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