In addition, the 2009 survey of 324 BI professionals by BI Scorecard found the success rates of BI deployments were largely unchanged from the last survey in 2007. The majority of deployments were "stuck in the middle, with only slight to moderate success and business impact," Cindi Howson, founder of BI Scorecard and a regular contributor to Intelligent Enterprise, said in a recent report based on the survey.
On the brighter side of the findings, the survey found that 85% of BI projects have executive-level sponsorship, a key factor for success. In addition, the number of companies standardizing on a BI platform or particular modules has increased dramatically, and those that have taken a strategic approach to their BI tool portfolio were mostly likely to reap the benefits.
Specifically, the 2009 survey found that 29% of BI deployments were slightly successful and 47% were moderately successful. Only 21% of the respondents rated their deployments very successful.
"A number of technical factors continue to contribute to -- or hinder -- stronger BI impact," the report said. "Data quality, reliability of the BI system and access to relevant data are the most important technical factors."
Nevertheless, BI has had a somewhat-to-significant impact on 70% of the organizations represented in the survey. However, the percentage rated that impact as significant declined to 25% from 32% in 2007.
"Given the differences in the state of the economy in 2007 versus 2009, this decline may indeed be that BI was less effective, or it may be a reflection BI could not save many companies from making bad decision," the report said.
The survey also found that "pervasive BI" remained more vision that reality, with 24% of employees using BI. That percentage was unchanged from 2007.
Nevertheless, usage by particular user categories, such as front-line and field workers, showed substantial increases. This is important because for BI to have a more profound business impact, it needs to be used by all personnel who make decisions, the report said.