The 2017 Wisdom of Crowds Business Intelligence Market Study is out, and with it comes some thought-provoking data about the state of business intelligence. Dresner Advisory Services, which conducted the survey, drew from a pool of more than a thousand users to gain insight into 33 different areas of business intelligence initiatives.

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The results show more people are using business intelligence in different ways, and to varying degrees of success. Here are some of the key takeaways from the report.

Drivers of business intelligence

For the second year in a row, respondents reported that Operations is the leading driver of business intelligence in their organizations, overtaking Executive Management, which was the second most-cited driver. As far as departmental influence, there was an almost 7% increase in human resources driving business intelligence, which could mean an even greater BI role in human resources in the future.

The data also shows that more employees within companies are using business intelligence, continuing a trend shown in the report last year. Respondents expect even more BI expansion and penetration over the next 1-to-3 years than they did a year ago.

As far as the number of BI tools in use, more organizations reported using four or more tools. This reverses a trend towards consolidation in previous reports. The report acknowledges that this could be a result of the increase in role-specific, lightweight, and service-based BI tools.

The impact of a CDO or CAO

Last year, for the first time, the report asked respondents whether their organizations have a Chief Data Officer or a Chief Analytics Officer. Currently, less than 16% have one. However, the report did find that organizations with a CDO or a CAO with “high” or “moderate” impact are highly likely to report success with business intelligence.

“This finding alone would appear to be an endorsement of the CDO/CAO function,” the report says. However, it goes on to caution that, “We reiterate that the criteria for what constitutes ‘impact’ and sentiments of success are abstract and in the eye of the beholder.”

The report has found over the past two years that momentum seems to be in favor of chief data officers versus chief analytics officers. And though it may be too soon to draw hard conclusions about the impact of a CDO or a CAO, the report says, “The presence of a CDO or CAO might well represent an elevation of the competency center or a high-reporting approach to data and analytics that brings more organizational focus.”

What dictates BI success

Going against the grain of incremental improvements over time, this year, the report shows an overall slight decline in success with business intelligence. For the first time, respondents were asked to quantify how they measure success or failure of business intelligence initiatives. The top answer for measuring success was by far user feedback and satisfaction. On the other hand, the unsuccessful results centered on lack of usage and limited adoption.

Smaller organizations are most likely to consider themselves successful with business intelligence. And in addition to the presence of a CDO or a CAO, other factors in an organization reporting success with business intelligence are:

  • Using fewer BI tools
  • Having a strong view of data as truth
  • An ability to take action on insights

Dimensional Insight in Wisdom of Crowds

For the 8th straight year, Dimensional Insight fared very well in the Wisdom of Crowds research. Thank you to all of our customers who participated and provided feedback. You can download a free version of the entire 167-page report below.

Kathy Sucich
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