5 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Deploying Business Intelligence Tools

5 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Deploying Business Intelligence Tools

Business owners make a lot of common mistakes when using new software in their business. Most often they make these mistakes when they adopt business intelligence tools (BI).

BI has changed from a tool that just collects data to one that can collate available information to make valuable inferences. It can improve comprehension and simplify analysis. However, BI requirements have to be observed for the tool to be effective.

Mistakes can be made in either selecting the right solution or in putting it to use. These mistakes force a business to run up its costs and fail to execute the software effectively.

Business intelligence

Here is a short list of some common mistakes and questions to ask in order to fix or avoid them.

1. A lack of clarity about business problems or objectives

Problems can arise in the very beginning because you have not defined what business problems you’re hoping to solve or goals to reach.

No single tool can help solve all problems or achieve all goals. Projects that rely on one BI tool to do everything are doomed to fail. You have to be clear about what you want to do to select the right way to do it.

Questions to ask:

  • What business problem are you trying to solve?
  • What goals are you trying to achieve?
  • What BI tools should you use?

2. Doing too much too fast

Deploying technology too quickly can be a mistake when it leaves too many people behind. Users who have not had enough time to study and practice the skills they need to use the technology will not use it properly. For best results, you have to introduce new technology slowly and carefully. You have to think in terms of manageable increments and resolving one issue at a time.

Questions to ask:

  • How fast should I roll out the new technology to give users a chance to implement it effectively?
  • What problems are users trying to solve and in what order of importance should they be solved?

3. Not getting everyone on board first

The sharpest knife in the drawer is useless if used as a chisel. The highest quality BI tools will be rendered useless by employees who are clueless about how to use it. It’s a good idea to get everyone on board before you even buy the technology. Clear out all doubts, fears, and concerns before you get it. Sell them on the idea. Highlight how it will benefit the company. Show them how it can make their jobs easier or more engaging.

Questions to ask:

  • Who resists any kind of change, no matter how necessary it is to make changes.
  • How can I show them that their fears are baseless?

Employee training for using Business Intelligence tools

4. Assuming that everyone is a quick study

When it comes to learning new technology, there is a generation gap. The older the users, the more afraid they are of making embarrassing mistakes. Learning something new always requires training—there is a steep learning curve before skills become second nature.

BI software is not as simple as using a Microsoft Office Suite. It’s a complex structure with lots of functionality to it. Fluency can only come from sufficient training. When things are only partially learned, users fail to make the most of what the software can do for them. Skill is necessary to operate the software, and if users get discouraged by their ineptitude, they may begin to procrastinate. Unnecessary holdups may occur as experienced staff members try to get them up to speed. The solution is to provide expert training that breaks everything down into steps so users can see how things come together. Training has to be slow and methodical, with lots of repetition to reinforce memory.

Questions to ask:

  • Who can I get to provide training that everyone can follow along with? (You don’t just need someone technically smart, but someone who can explain things clearly.)
  • How can I schedule the training into smaller units so that we just discuss a single aspect of BI in every session?
  • How can I reinforce what is taught in training sessions with online training videos and quick quizzes to test comprehension and correct misconceptions to allow users to learn at their own pace?

5. Gathering the information but not using it

BI tools are not only superb at gathering data, but also crunching it down into intelligible information that can facilitate good decisions.

Three mistakes can be made after data has been gathered:

  • It’s not shared with everyone who is involved in the project.
  • It’s not analyzed or only partially analyzed.
  • It’s shared and analyzed but never acted on. The information is not used to solve business problems or achieve business goals.

The software can be used to predict trends, spot risks, and offer a series of data points. It can generate reports on all this useful information.

Questions to ask:

  • What reports are we generating, and how are we using this information?

Powerful if you use it correctly

BI tools can do the job, but require the full cooperation and participation of all those involved in gathering and analyzing the information. When bottlenecks arise, it’s either because of poor user understanding or insufficient implementation. Used correctly, BI tools can grow a business at a faster pace.

Tara Miller

Tara Miller is an experienced writer. She owns and runs a copywriting business.