BUSINESS TECHNOLOGY MEDIA COMPANY
Companies
Sectors
CIO Zone
  • Home
  • /
  • CIO Zone
  • /
  • BI and analytics implementation success: Why context is king

BI and analytics implementation success: Why context is king

To choose the most appropriate interventions to plan, resource, execute and achieve greater success with BI and analytics implementations, be context-sensitive.
Read time 3min 40sec

Business intelligence and analytics (BI&A) project failure rates continue to be abnormally high.

According to a forecast by Gartner, BI&A spending is expected to exceed $23.3 billion this year and reach $27.6 billion by the end of 2022. This means the BI market is expected to grow by almost 6% annually for the next three years.

However, despite the market success for vendors, the failure rate of BI project implementations in organisations is unusually high at 70% to 80%. Similarly, the current success rate of big data projects is only around 15%.

Studies also note that BI adoption among employees is low at around only 22%.

Despite the enormous risks involved in investing in BI&A technologies and the low levels of benefits realised, many CIOs continue to view investments in BI&A technologies as a top priority for their organisations.

Given the high failure rates of BI implementation and low user adoption rates, much research has also been devoted to searching for generic factors of BI implementation success.

Focusing on generic BI&A implementation critical success factors has limitations

Given the high failure rates of BI implementation and low user adoption rates, research has been devoted to searching for generic factors of BI implementation success.

The success of BI&A implementation is dependent on success in three key areas: success with organisational factors, (2) success with project factors, and (3) success with technical factors.

To choose the most appropriate interventions to plan, resource, execute and achieve greater success with BI and analytics implementations, be context-sensitive.

Among the more important critical success factors (CSFs) are top management support and involvement, clear mission for BI in the organisation, alignment to critical business processes, and change management.

Additional factors include the need for data / information quality, data reliability, BI&A expertise, analytical skills, technical skills, high-quality source systems and integration, and BI&A development standards.

Assessing context-sensitive BI&A implementation critical success factors

Researchers have also noted major differences in external contextual factors among different industries. The influence of factors can be shown to be dependent on the time, place, history, situation and context in which they are applied. Institutional arrangements, context and technologic and economic constraints also influence the implementation space.

Indeed, it is an unsound practice to group together organisations with radically different social histories and organisational settings. It is important to both identify the CSF, as well as to identify and delineate in detail specific features of context – ie, perform a contextual assessment.

To show the value of CSFs-in-context, consider the contextual patterns of a generic CSF (eg, flexibility). For example, consider how rapid changes to market conditions can have a direct effect on the expected ‘flexibility’ of BI reporting.

Consider changes in the internal environment and the ability to respond to new requirements. For example, a new source of data means that the ETL (extract, transform and load) operations as well as calculations have to change.

This contextual understanding of flexibility provides the implementation team with a better ability to design a BI&A system, component, or process within the constraints imposed by the organisation’s inner and outer contexts. The in-depth analysis of the outer and inner context will resonate with experienced BI&A implementation practitioners.

Anticipating and responding to contextual shifts

The CSFs-in-context approach complements the traditional CSF approach in making sense of tactical options and choosing the most appropriate interventions to plan, resource, execute and achieve greater success with BI&A implementations.

In particular, a contextual assessment can guide the team to recognise and diagnose the multi-layered contextual and interrelated CSFs impacting the BI&A implementation.

The CSFs-in-context approach can also provide the team with the ability to anticipate and respond mindfully and quickly to contextual shifts.

Neglect contextual challenges at your peril

Many BI&A implementation teams tend to neglect contextual challenges and over-emphasise generic CSF dimensions without a rich understanding of their relevance in certain contexts.

There is a need to adopt a more holistic and pluralistic approach that considers CSFs-and-context jointly.

I hope that this expanded framework offers new insights to help organisations achieve better success with BI&A implementations.

Rennie Naidoo

Associate professor, School of IT, Department of Informatics, University of Pretoria.

Rennie Naidoo is an associate professor at the School of IT, Department of Informatics, University of Pretoria. He has served a number of clients on a number of IT projects in both the public and private sectors over a 20-year period.

Naidoo is also a NRF-rated researcher. His research interests are broadly about information systems and organisations with a particular focus on IT value, IT human resources development and end-user issues. He has published articles in leading international outlets such as the Journal of Strategic Information Systems, Information Technology & People, and the Information Society Journal.

He lectures topics on IT investment and enterprise systems to postgraduates at the university. He is passionate about giving to those who work in the IT field greater insights about business and finance. He runs a course on finance for IT professionals through CE@UP.

https://www.up.ac.za/informatics

Login with