Consultants’ Perspective on Why BI Projects Fail

by | Feb 24, 2020 | Articles

According to Gartner, between 70% and 80% of BI implementation projects fail. In this article, we discuss why that happens and how to try to avoid it.

We spoke a lot about the benefits of using BI and how it can improve the work of different department within companies. Feel free to refer to our previous articles on the use of BI in the sales, marketing, human resources and finance departments.

Once properly implemented, a BI solution can increase competitive advantage, boost revenues, reduce costs and improve customer satisfaction. However, when wrongly conducted, a BI project can be like navigating through maze. A lack of financial support, poor communication and organizational barriers can easily lead to failures.

According to a survey provided by the BI Survey website, the top 5 most serious problems that consultants come across are following: poor data quality (32%), company politics (26%), lack of interest from business users, and poor data governance (21%), and administrative problems (19%).

Poor data quality

The importance of having good data quality and proper data management processes cannot be overemphasized. At the end of the day, we can only make the right decisions if our data is correct. Poor quality data is essentially useless and in the worst-case scenario it can even be dangerous. Poor data governance in a company produces poor quality data. Therefore, these two problems are inter-related and can be discussed together.

Companies with poor quality data can experience many hidden challenges. For example, people can create multiple data copies. This will take a long time to find them, figure out and clean. Employees may even know about it and therefore do not trust their own data. As a result, they may not even want to work with a BI project. This leads to other problems mentioned in the survey.

Healthy working relationships among coworkers is a must. Success cannot happen without business leaders, IT specialists, and functional departments being on the same page. A BI implementation project requires constant communication, collaboration and engagement of all stakeholders. If there is distrust or competition for funding, a project is doomed to failure from the start.

Support of business users

A successful BI project must also have the full support of a company’s upper management. It does not necessarily have to be a CEO; however, should be someone who is in a senior enough position to communicate a high-level vision, strategy and benefits of an upcoming BI project. Most BI projects are expensive and would require the financing of resources for software, hardware, labor, training and ongoing support. This funding may come from elsewhere within a company. This means the project must be high on the agenda and overseen by a senior executive.

People are the creatures of habit. This sometimes may create difficulties when trying to implement new solutions in companies. The problem of the lack of interest from business users may indicate that there is a steep learning curve or software isn’t user-friendly. You can reduce these objections by providing more training and support. Another factor that could help is the rising popularity of low-code self-service BI tools.

Lastly, when business users say they aren’t interested in new software solutions, it could be due to unwillingness to deal with IT staff. Oftentimes, there is a communication gap between techie guys at IT and staff at functional departments. One group may not understand the needs of the latter, and vice versa. A simple request like pulling out a report from a cloud service may be forgotten or deemed too easy and ignored by IT staff. Meanwhile an accountant’s work is stalling and because of that he or she is staying late at work. That is why, business users often prefer to do things the old way, even if it means copying and pasting Excel rows manually.

Choosing consultants vs developing in-house

To avoid this problem, choosing the right consultant is essential. A consultant, who can “speak finance” and understands budgeting, can be the difference between success and failure.

Centida is one these few firms that combines the IT expertise and finance experience. We follow the principle of “from finance practitioners to finance practitioners”. We focus on the improvement of operational, day-to-day activities in finance and controlling departments with the use of modern BI solutions. If your company is looking to speed up budgeting processes and improve reporting, get in touch with us at



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