benchmarking business intelligence

After your organization has invested in a business intelligence solution, how can you assess its performance? How do you gauge its efficiency and whether the decisions you make based on its insights are good or bad? Forrester Research recently explored these questions in a report about benchmarking your company’s BI environment.

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Business intelligence is an asset that turns information into a competitive advantage, so it is imperative to determine whether it is performing well or needs a tune-up. The report recommends an extensive “BI-on-BI” methodology. While the very notion of deploying BI to evaluate your BI may sound intimidating, it can be taken in baby steps. Here are some actionable ways to begin.

Forrester surveyed more than 100 professionals who use BI in late 2016 and 2014 to learn how enterprises evaluate their BI solutions. It found 86% of organizations measure their BI benchmarks quantitatively, through monitoring and analyzing BI platform logs and metadata, database management systems logs, and/or by running surveys.

Measuring efficiency

The report suggests asking the following questions to benchmark the efficiency of your company’s BI. The survey results provide useful comparisons.

  • Are you using more or fewer BI platforms than your peers?

Forrester believes most large enterprises deploy at least five BI platforms, some of which are built into financial, planning, ERP, and CRM applications. In this case, more is not necessarily better, as each requires the orchestration of multiple moving parts that can be tricky to integrate and deploy.

  • How many different reports and dashboards do you produce?

The research, updated in Q4 2016, finds most organizations produce 25 or fewer reports and dashboards per user, with 42% producing fewer than 10.

  • Where do you deliver the information?

PCs are the most common platform reported in both 2014 (94%) and 2016 (87%). The use of mobile platforms is growing, up from 44% to 50% over the two years. At Dimensional Insight, we have seen growing interest in our DiveTab mobile solution.

Using Diver’s Site Stats to collect and analyze metrics

Analytical needs can vary widely across an enterprise and what is considered “useful” may depend on the audience. As such, Forrester also recommends collecting metrics including the number of frequently and infrequently used reports and dashboards, how quickly a query returns results, and how many clicks it takes to build a question and get an answer. Analyzing the results by users, departments, regions, lines of business, and other attributes will spotlight trends and create opportunities to learn from more efficient usage patterns.

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Laura Remington

Laura Remington

Laura Remington is a writer and editor at Dimensional Insight. Her many years as a journalist took her from Capitol Hill to California's vineyards to glacier trekking in New Zealand. She graduated from Brown University.
Laura Remington