One challenge in getting any technology used effectively in a corporation is getting everyone beyond misconceptions. Almost all technical experts have the experience of “management by magazine article,” in which executives read about something and then become sure that the company should be implementing something similar.
But there’s a more subtle version, in which executives and users hear about supposed features or even shortcomings of a technology and then approach it accordingly. That can result in difficulty in getting management support and user buy-in for things that could make a company run more smoothly and effectively and even deliver a competitive advantage.
InformationAge cataloged five myths about business intelligence that can limit use of the technology and put people off from trying to get the benefits available. BI and data analyst professionals must be ready to address any of these with real information and strategies to get people to embrace the technologies.
It’s too complicated
Data analysis can be tricky, certainly. But that can too easily make the perceptual slide into too hard to use. People who decide that BI is too complicated are unlikely to use it, and the quickest death of a new initiative is if no one bothers to try it. Point out that while in the past BI had been complicated, advances in computing power, algorithms, software, and usability means a choice of solutions that can produce information in a manner understandable to users.
Only big companies use BI
This gets back to the “too complicated” perception. Yes, at one time larger companies were generally the only ones with the resources to devote to BI. However, most companies don’t need to outfit themselves with full-blown data scientists and server rooms devoted to the topic. Hosted solutions and consultants can help bring even smaller companies to the point of making effective use of BI.
Everything needs analysis
Not everything is important. An organization should focus BI not on fishing expeditions but in areas where the results are most likely going to prove valuable. In the future there might be time for speculation, but right now get the resources working on what will provide a payoff.
This is only for upper management
When resources were scarce and extremely expensive that might have been true. However, the best way to use BI is to use it everywhere it can be applied. With drastically lowered costs over time, that now means opening the gates and giving the information and insights to all who have to make decisions.
Everyone becomes a data scientist
It’s true that tools let most users do far more than in the past. But fully DIY business intelligence is like telling departments to write their own major applications from scratch. There need to be data quality standards and information availability across the enterprise. Users don’t have the time, training, or inclination to do this. Make access universal but actual creation and fundamental analysis the responsibility of professionals who can deliver results that will result in smarter decisions, not mistaken ones.
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