Continuing the theme on getting BI value, a recent Forrester article Getting The Most Out Of BI , warns against getting too excited about lower initial costs in deploying BI options.
Estimates are at least 80% of any BI effort lies in data sourcing, data integration, data cleansing and modeling,. "So while lower-cost BI alternatives will save you some dollars in building reports and dashboards, that’s only 20% of your cost and effort," Forrester says.
Forrester researcher also goes on to say more effective use of BI tools can lead to more successful sales and marketing efforts. And the technology can also be used to motivate employees by creating performance management environments that reveal each worker’s productivity relative to his peers, stimulating healthy competition. "Not only does such information help workers make better decisions, it encourages them to to improve their standing in the organization."
Once you add a BI tool to an organization the bar is lifted as performance becomes transparent. Cockroaches, as many refer to them and some can be big ones, will always appear in the data as you lift the rocks in a BI implementation. They must be eliminated as they will undermine the value of the BI data and the worth of the tool. If a number is wrong or does not reconcile to another, in a BI environment it gets quickly challenged As a result the organization ends up with higher quality at all levels.
Underestimating the data cleaning effort is folly and must seen as part cleaning things up that have also been previously hidden. Housekeeping to harmonize data is a constant process and part running the business and not a just a once off. But getting it focused and under managed control is critical and takes time.
BI projects may well be constrained by data quality at first. But they get the issues in the open very fast and very well so they can be seen. The added cost of resolving then must be recognized and born, but the payback in the end is much higher too.