Dresner Advisory Services’ (DAS) flagship Wisdom of Crowds Business Intelligence Market Study returns in 2013 to provide an in depth analysis of key Business Intelligence (BI) vendors and identify critical market paradigms in the world of BI.
As the report enters its fourth year, the objectives behind implementing BI initiatives are becoming increasingly apparent. The need for better decision-making is driving businesses to incorporate BI into day-to-day practices. This trend is relatively stable, but when we breakdown objectives – what organizations are attempting to gain by implementing BI – into organization size and individual sectors, some prominent features emerge.
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Improved decision-making driving BI deployments
Somewhat predictably, the need for improved decision-making headed the list of benefits sought from BI, with 92% of respondent organizations classing this objective as “critical” or “very important”. Notably, “better decision-making” was considered the most “critical” objective by a significant margin, with 59% of organizations rating it as such. All other objectives included in the study were rated “critical” by between 28 and 35% of participating organizations. The study detailed five primary objectives driving increased demand for BI and analytics.
As seen in figure 14, improved operational efficiency came in a comparatively distant second, with 79% of survey participants rating the objective as “critical” or “very important” to the success of a BI project.. The primary objective with the least importance placed upon it was “enhanced customer service”, with only 28% of respondents considering it to be “critical”.
BI objectives by organization size
When dissecting the respective importance placed on each fundamental BI objectives by organization size, it’s clear that the ability to make better decisions still reins supreme across the board.
While, with the exception of small organizations (1 – 100 employees), businesses of all sizes consider the ability to attain “improved operational efficiency” to be the second most important BI outcome, large companies value this outcome more.
So why have large businesses, in excess of 10,000, identified operational efficiency as particularly important? Well, it seems reasonable to theorize that as employee numbers increase, so do operational costs and potential for resource wastage. It should then come as no surprise that minimizing these outlays is high on the agenda.
Similarly, increasing revenues is often particularly important for smaller firms, which generate smaller profits and often have a much thinner margin between profit and loss. Again, it therefore makes sense that small organizations (1 – 100 employees) were the only organizational group that ranked “growth in revenues” as its second most important BI objective.
BI objectives by job role
In analyzing the aims of BI implementation by individual roles within an organization, we again see the need to make better decisions dominate the list of primary motives.
The general trend continues throughout specific roles within the organizations surveyed. The chart suggests that BI objectives were closely correlated with the overall focus of each department. For instance, marketing and executive management rated “growth in revenues” 4.2 out of 5, whilst sales rated the same category as 4.3 out of 5. By contrast, those working in a research and development roles did not consider BI’s ability to grow revenues as a crucial objective, only rating the capability 3.4 out of 5. These results indicate, perhaps predictably, that those occupying jobs directly linked to boosting organizational revenue consider BI’s ability to help reach that objective as more important.
Conversely, those working in IT had ranked “improved efficiency” highly –4.2 out of 5 in fact. Given that it can be reasonably argued that IT’s primary role within an organization is to enhance the efficiency of business processes, it also stands to reason that IT personnel would rate this objective highly in a BI context.
An obvious outlier emerges among respondents from a human resources background, with this functional group scoring “enhanced customer service” 4.2 out of 5. This result makes it the only functional group to rank enhanced customer service as its primary BI objective. This could be attributed to the department’s emphasis on providing improved outcomes for people.
The DAS study has shown the need for “better decision-making” is the dominant rationale behind implementing BI. This primary objective is somewhat stable across company size and individual functions within organizations. As expected, the survey has shown that BI objectives are associated with the size of the organization and the problems and opportunities that they are subject to.