Blog | Mar 29, 2012

What happens after the BI consultants leave?

John KorcakAccording to Gartner’s 2012 CIO Priorities survey, Business Intelligence is back on top as the number one technology priority. Long gone are the days when Business Intelligence (BI) meant a few spreadsheets or Crystal reports. Today, organizations budget millions of dollars to acquire, design, and deploy BI solutions. The fact that BI has been the number one priority for 5 of the last 6 years indicates that not only is this an urgent requirement, but it is also a hurdle that most organization have not yet overcome.

While there is plenty of dispute as to the proper approach, few would dispute the value proposition that BI presents. Years of consulting in the BI space have led me to the conclusion that more often than not, it is not the tool that determines success or failure. As a consultant the number one reason BI projects fail is because they were implemented poorly, either because of poor planning, inadequate deployment resources, or lack of executive sponsorship. Often our services are requested after a company’s own efforts, or those of another consultant, have failed, and we step in to pick up the pieces and help the company achieve success.

In those few cases where the right tool is chosen and it is designed and deployed properly, we too often see these promising beginnings fizzle out. While a good BI deployment shouldn’t require a large staff, they do require some ongoing maintenance. Customers love to dive in and start building reports and dashboards with their new environment, but few relish the more mundane tasks of monitoring the servers, adding users, or applying patches and upgrades. Too often these tasks fall to an already overburdened DBA or network admin, who has little training or interest in maintaining the BI solution.

It’s like buying a new car and telling yourself you are going to change the oil, rotate the tires, replace the wiper blades and perform all the regular maintenance they require. Can we do it ourselves? Sure, but more and more of us take our cars to Jiffy Lube or the dealer for servicing because it is a big investment and we want it to last. Treat your BI deployment the same. Plan for admin training, outsourcing or hiring…and be realistic. Otherwise, you will notice your BI engine doesn’t have the same pep as the day you drove it off the lot.