mrc's Cup of Joe Blog

Join us in exploring the world of modern development, evolving technologies, and the art of future-proof software

5 common Business Intelligence mistakes to avoid

EducationDid you know that most Business Intelligence (BI) projects fail? While the various surveys on the subject can’t seem to agree on the exact percentage, somewhere between 50% – 80% of BI projects end in failure.

Where do these projects go wrong? What could they have done differently?

While the reasons vary by company and situation, there are a few common mistakes that can lead to BI failure. What are they? While I’m sure there are more, here are 5 mistakes to avoid when implementing Business Intelligence:

Mistake #1: Failure to involve the business

Business Intelligence is for the business, and the users in the business. Ignoring this fact almost certainly leads to failure. Don’t go through the whole process of choosing and implementing a BI solution without deeply involving your business users from start to finish. Otherwise, you’ll give them a solution that they don’t like, or even worse–one that doesn’t fit their needs.

Mistake #2: Adding complexity to the user’s daily routines

Users are busy people, with daily tasks and routines. Unfortunately, many BI tools fail to take this fact into account. They force the user to open up a new software application to access the business intelligence applications, adding yet another step to their daily routine. Rather than trying to bring users to the BI applications, use a different approach: Bring the BI applications to the users. This article goes into more detail on the topic.

Mistake #3: Ignoring usability

Business Intelligence applications should let end users be self sufficient. Users should be able to create the reports they need, or run canned reports (like these) without bothering the IT department. BI applications that are too complex or force users to rely on the IT department will most likely fail.

Mistake #4: Choosing a stagnant solution

Business Intelligence is constantly evolving. A good BI solution today may not be a good solution in 2 years. That’s why you must pick a solution that’s constantly evolving. Ask the vendor this question: How often do you update your software? A good BI solution is constantly enhanced, and therefore, always up to date with the latest technology and trends.

Mistake #5: Improper training

More and more software these days are moving towards DIY training. The vendor provides videos, tutorials, and a user community, and lets you train yourself. When implementing something as important as Business Intelligence, I believe that in-person training is essential. It ensures that you understand how to use the software, and gets your company started out on the right foot.


When implemented correctly, Business Intelligence can help a company better understand their data and ultimately improve their decision-making process. Unfortunately, many companies still struggle with the implementation. How can you avoid failure? While it varies by company, avoiding the mistakes listed above will put you on the right path. Of course, if you’d like to add anything to the list, feel free to mention it in the comment section.

Need help?

Business Intelligence projects can be daunting for any company. If you need help creating or deploying Business Intelligence applications in your company, let us know. We have the software to let you build your own custom BI applications quickly, as well as the consultants to guide you through the process. We’d love to help you out.