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The 5 biggest Business Intelligence challenges facing organisations today

5 business intelligence challenges

Our recent survey into common Business Intelligence challenges highlighted some interesting problems faced by companies when it comes to producing management reports. In this article we take a look at the five biggest challenges faced by these businesses and explore what solutions are available.

A recent survey carried out by Matillion asked over 10,000 senior executives and decision-makers one important question: ‘What is your biggest management information challenge?’

We had 10,857 respondents, coming from over 150 different countries, and representing 18 different industry sectors, ranging from manufacturing, logistics and retail to telecommunications, construction and healthcare.

So what were the biggest Business Intelligence challenges faced by these businesses?

Below are the complete, final results, of the survey, with the results ranked in descending order.


business intelligence challenges results

‘What is your biggest management information challenge?’


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Delivering self-service reporting/ analysis

From the survey results, it is clear to see that the biggest Business Intelligence challenge facing our respondents is the ability to deliver self-service reporting and analysis across their organisation.

35.8% of respondents listed this as their biggest reporting concern.

One of the biggest problems with traditional business intelligence tools is that they are so complicated to use that only a few key individuals within the company know how to handle them. Bottlenecks can quickly from around these key individuals, and this can slow down the whole reporting process.

By investing in a self-service business intelligence tool, businesses can overcome these bottlenecks by giving power to those people who really need it – the end users. Research has shown that organisations that democratise the use of these tools across the business – by making them more user-friendly – achieve a significantly higher ROI on their investment as a result.

Reporting/ analysing across multiple systems

The second biggest Business Intelligence challenge facing our respondents was ‘reporting/ analysing across multiple systems’, with 27.4% stating this as their biggest challenge.

Most companies these days already collect a lot of data surrounding their business operations. The problem is that this data is often spread across a variety of different systems and software, which makes it difficult to bring together.

With data spread across multiple systems, getting at the information you need can be an arduous task, and achieving a ‘single version of the truth’ is almost impossible. Data may be stored in multiple ERP systems, CRMs and Excel spreadsheets.

Extracting data from these multiple sources, and bringing it together into a centralised data warehouse, can make it much easier to gain quick and reliable insights.

Unlocking data buried in systems

The third biggest Business Intelligence challenge was found to be ‘unlocking data buried in systems’.

Even if you have the data already in place – and you know where it is – this does not necessarily mean that it is easily accessible. Getting at the information you need, when you need it, can be an extremely painful process when the data is buried in complex systems and software.

To gain any real value from your data, you need to be able to transform and manipulate it into the right shape easily. Using a data warehouse and an effective ETL process, you can clean up your data, get it into the right shape, and apply any business rules or calculations.

Reducing the cost of producing reports

As with many other areas of the business, when it comes to reporting, it is crucial that you keep an eye on costs. It is therefore no surprise to see that ‘reducing the cost of producing reports’ was found to be the fourth biggest Business Intelligence challenge facing our respondents.

With traditional business intelligence projects, costs can easily spiral out of control. Not only do you have to plough large amounts of investment into getting the software up and running, but you also need to fork out for all the ongoing maintenance and support costs associated with these tools.

With Cloud BI, on the other hand, there is a fixed price set-up fee, and all ongoing costs are all covered under the price of your monthly subscription.

Delivering Mobile BI

‘Delivering Mobile BI’ was found to be the fifth biggest Business Intelligence challenge facing organisations.

As mobile devices constantly change the way we do business, it is no surprise to see that there is a high demand for mobile business intelligence and analytics.

As the results show, busy managers and senior executives have to be able to access the insights they need, when they need them, wherever they are, on a range of different devices.

A successful self-service Business Intelligence solution can help overcome many of these Business Intelligence challenges. Find out more about evaluating and implementing Business Intelligence by downloading our free guide below

Complete guide to evaluating and implementing business intelligence