5 Pitfalls When Integrating A New BI System

5 Pitfalls When Integrating A New BI System

There are many reasons to launch a new Business Intelligence (BI) system in your firm. They include faster and more accurate reporting, better data decision analysis, data quality improvements, customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction, and increased competitive advantage. These are really good and positive for your company, but it’s not always as easy as it sounds. Some areas need to be addressed before investing time and money into such a challenging but rewarding task. 

First of all, what is BI? Tableau, a creator of BI tools, defines BI as “combining business analytics, data mining, data visualization, data tools and infrastructure, and best practices to help organizations make more data-driven decisions.” To put it into simple terms, it’s your one-stop shopping for all of your data needs. Have everything at your fingertips, with more precise data than ever before, and all at the click of a button. This is different from using Excel as the primary data source and connecting with every other application in the office. Trying to pull this all together is challenging and usually inefficient. 

So, if BI system is so tremendous and generates so many benefits, what is the problem? Why is there resistance to using something new and better? Integrating any new system has many potential pitfalls, but with a BI system, here are the top five.

Have a look at top 5 pitfalls in BI system:

1- Lack of top-down support. With any system conversion, especially one covering all of the company’s data, a top-down support system must be implemented. Without executive support, or even an executive mandate, the incentive to use a new system that requires training and new knowledge has little chance of success. If the company made it in the old way, why change now? Or another way to say it is “If it’s not broken then doesn’t fix it.”

This happens a lot, with big money being spent on the new hardware and software. Time for implementation and testing and even outside consultants to help with the heavy workload to make it all happen. Then it is launched and used very little and then goes by the wayside. This all can be avoided by setting a precedence of use. Some companies have gone as far as shutting down old systems altogether to ensure the use of the new system.         

2 – Insufficient training and communication. With anything new, there’s always going to be training, which requires time and effort. In addition to the training, there must be communication regarding what the new BI system does, how it works, its benefits, and why the new system is being used in the first place. Think of it this way, working at a company for years using the same systems, then suddenly having to change to something new but no communication regarding why or how. What is the likelihood of transitioning to the new system? Very little! 

3 – Incomplete data sources or very specific data that shows flaws in a company. Data is the backbone of any company, and it is also the backbone of a BI system. The BI system pulls, integrates, simplifies, and transforms data into useful information. With the incomplete data source, expect the adoption of the new system to be incomplete as well. This essentially would be like having sales data in the BI system, but no marketing information, and expecting the sales and marketing teams to use to the BI system. Probably not going to happen. All data must be present for congruent use of the system across the entire organization. Any missing data in the BI system is an excuse not to use the system going forward. 

BI systems are also notorious for showing data flaws within companies, which is the reverse of missing data. In this scenario, data elements are extreme and granular now that were not present before and now are showing weaknesses at various levels within the company. In this example, no one wants to know that their babies are ugly. Having robust data at your fingertips can do just this, showing the flaws in the company, or “the ugly baby syndrome.” 

4 – Loss of need for employees (perception). New systems present challenges for employees and their perceived value within the company. It often is thought that a new system is out to replace the employee base altogether. When first introduced, accounting systems were resisted on the simple fact that the accounting department employees thought their jobs would be eliminated because of the new software. 

BI Systems are no different than accounting systems. BI systems are intended to increase productivity and accuracy, with less human effort, to produce better results. Therefore, BI systems are perceived as position eliminators that can and will have resistance. This is where the communication needs to identify how the system will improve the quality of the employee’s work instead of eliminating the employee’s employment. 

5 – People resist change. It is not liked or embraced. Changing anything presents difficulties because people are resistant to change. Having an employee group uprooted from their current methodology of performing their daily work tasks to a new way presents an obstacle because of that resistance to change. People are creatures of habit, and these habits produce predictable patterns. If these predictable patterns are interfered with, the change alarm sounds, and people then go into shutdown mode. 


Tremendous benefits can be achieved by using a BI system. Any company with data can take advantage of this and achieve optimal results at the customer, employee, and data levels. Avoid these pitfalls when introducing a BI system, ensure over-communication, have executive support, and have complete data for all users. Communication and training will reduce or eliminate employee perceptions of lost value and facilitate changed behaviors. This will produce the best possible chance of success and reduce all the resistance points for a smooth transition.   

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