Four Worst and Four Best Practices in Business Intelligence - Slide 3

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Worst Practice #2

Even though Excel provides much utility for business users, it wreaks havoc on the quality and consistency of information. This is especially damaging in heavily regulated industries that must adhere to strict compliance legislation.

Excel was never intended to be a BI tool. It is not Excel that is at fault, but rather its use as a BI tool. Much of what is found in Excel spreadsheets is put there through a manual, error-prone, process, which should never be the case with BI. BI applications should only utilize data from reliable, trustworthy sources.

Another unique phenomenon created by Excel is what is called “spreadmarts.” When individual users accumulate their own store of relied-upon data in their personal spreadsheets to a point where their information becomes a critical data source, it becomes a spreadmart. A spreadmart is an unregulated, non-secure datamart in the hands of a user who rarely backs up his or her data and may leave his or her job on a moment’s notice. This single user isn’t a problem so much as the accumulation of hundreds of users with unregulated datamarts.

BI software – tools, platforms, and applications alike – holds great potential for helping organizations readily access the enterprise information needed to make informed business decisions and, ultimately, achieve their business objectives. But, as with any technology, the implementation, roll out, and usage practices play a critical role in the success of BI.

In tracking mediocre results, and even failure, in the implementation of BI software over the years, many common threads, or “worst practices,” can be found. These worst practices set companies on the inauspicious path of BI failure. They have been repeated by some of the best run and smartest companies in the world. Typically, these worst practices are the result of wanting to ride the latest technology wave without balancing the hype with practical knowledge and experience.

In order to help organizations learn from the mistakes of others, Information Builders provides the following insight into the worst and best practices for BI, so that you will have a solid understanding of how to avoid BI failure and achieve success with your BI initiatives.

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