Business intelligence software projects — often quite expensive, and launched with high hopes — have an abysmal success rate. Wayne Kernochan discusses the problem.
Recently, Gartner noted a study that purported to show that “between 70% and 80% of BI projects fail.” Ordinarily, I would treat this kind of statement, from Gartner or anyone else, as the equivalent of “give me your money or you’re going to be in really, really bad trouble.” However, the author of the study does have recent CIO experience with business intelligence(BI). Moreover, some of the problems he cited as causing BI project failure are well-known as causes of failures in other areas of IT — in particular, bad communication between IT and corporate. So there is good reason to think that a significant proportion of today’s business intelligence projects do indeed fail, by any reasonable standard.
On the other hand, 70% to 80% is an unusually high proportion of projects to fail. For one thing, business intelligence is a well-established discipline in large organizations. Moreover, much of existing BI concerns itself with enterprise reporting — canned querying applied at certain times of the year. Just how plausible is it that an extension of enterprise reporting fails 70-80% of the time, at least 15 years after BI started doing enterprise reporting in the first place? Something seems odd about this figure.
So how significant to the average user, really, is “BI project failure”? And if it is important to a particular user, is the fix really to improve CIO-CEO communications by teaching IT to talk in corporate jargon?
Read the rest about business intelligence project failures at eCRMguide.