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The Great Ease-Of-Use Barrier

A survey from our sister publication InformationWeek found that ease-of-use issues now comprise the single biggest barrier to BI projects, according to 300 study respondents who work in business intelligence. Employees' struggles with BI tools pose greate
Everybody in the business intelligence field knows how data quality problems can scuttle even the simplest BI deployments. But a recent study points to an even bigger challenge plaguing the adoption of business intelligence tools: ease-of-use.

A survey from our sister publication InformationWeek found that ease-of-use issues now comprise the single biggest barrier to BI projects, according to 300 study respondents who work in business intelligence. Employees' struggles with BI tools pose greater difficulty than even data quality problems or integration and compatibility challenges. And the fourth most frequently cited problem, training, is arguably related to the ease-of-use issue.As a full roundup of the new research reveals, ease-of-use also ranks highest among BI practitioners when asked which product features they consider "very important" when choosing BI tools. Among the study's other findings: Only about one of 10 survey respondents reports having undergone third-party auditing of their BI customer data to ensure it's being correctly managed. And investment on BI tools is expected to rise -- only 10 percent of respondents expect a decline in business intelligence spending this year.

Vendors need to listen up. All the business intelligence software firms have worked hard to broaden their "footprint" in the BI space, and that's understandable considering the competitive pressures they face. The entry into the BI market by the big database makers, in particular, is pushing traditional vendors to provide more functionality as quickly as possible. But the winners in the BI market are likely to be the software firms that concentrate on making their tools usable by even the most techno-phobic end users. As analytical tools seep into the operational level at many organizations, ease-of-use will become an even more critical priority.

On data quality, keep an eye out for an informative special report on that topic coming in the next week from our contributing writer Jennifer Bosavage. You'll find that and a lot more at Business Intelligence Pipeline.