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Mistakes in Operating a Business Intelligence Program

The first critical mistake businesses make in employing Business intelligence (BI) programs is to ignore data quality. Organizations frequently assume that data used in BI programs is free of errors irrespective of the numerous processes they undergo, which may lead to errors at one given stage. A solution to this problem is to use standardized BI principles that support an open data strategy and uses a common metadata model. Secondly, collaborative efforts should be used to ensure data used in BI applications is free of errors.

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A second common mistake in BI programs is found in the frequent use of spreadsheets. Spreadsheets are naturally uncontrollable. They offer no reliable audit trail and lack both reference and data verifiability. Insufficient security features promote unauthorized access to the data and this undermines BI applications. A solution is to Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) compliance to enhance the link between IT and business.

Before implementing a BI program, the CEO or business managers have to identify areas within the organization that require the programs most, and how the program will assist the organization in realizing its mission. The success of any BI program will depend on the human wealth of the organization, hence the integration of the new BI system with the knowledge within the organization. However, the BI program must not only be directed to units of the organization that directly impact the organizational profits, but also other sections where key decision-making processes are made with regards to the day to day operations of the organization. This strategy ensures the organization’s decision-making core processes are carried out from an informed perspective.

The purpose of implementing BI technologies in a company is not only to increase or improve the return on investment (ROI), but they are also used for predictive purposes, data mining, business performance management, benchmarking, and so on. However, it is true as you mention that BI programs help in consolidating and leveraging data so that management teams and IT staff make well-informed decisions. Your first step, that of carrying out an environment scan, is important as it helps in identifying core areas of the business that require a BI application. The third stage is also critical in measuring user response to the new program and how well to implement it. However, it is important to monitor the progress of the program and make any necessary corrections that the implementation team may deem necessary.

The question is not vague as you put, rather, it requires an answer that can be generalized and implemented in all organizations, whether they are private or public. From this basic method of conducting an environmental scan, deviations will then appear depending on the type of organization. To conduct the environmental scan, the management would have to identify the business’ goals, and the areas that most critical to achieving these goals. Next would be to analyze the sections that require BI programs the most.


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Guillemin, M. and Gillam, L. (2004). Ethics, Reflexivity, and “Ethically Important Moments” in Research. Qualitative Inquiry, vol. 10 no. 2: 261-280.

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Niu, N., Jin, M., and Cheng, J. C. (2011). A case study of exploiting enterprise resource planning requirements. Enterprise Information Systems, Vol. 5, No. 2: 183–206.

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