Determining Scope is a Top Challenge in Bringing BI Applications into Production – Research Study of 250 IT Professionals

By Elliot King, Ph.D.
Professor of Communication, Loyola University Maryland & Founder of the Digital Media Laboratory

Business intelligence infrastructures are dynamic. As companies generate new information, they need to apply that information productively to business processes. Sometimes that requires devising new kinds of analyses. Sometimes it means pushing information to new communities of users.

Consequently, many organizations create a steady stream of new analytic applications that can help keep an enterprise nimble. In a recent research study conducted by the Lattanze Center, a nationally recognized center of excellence on issues related to business excellence and IT at Loyola University Maryland, more than 250 IT professionals were asked what the biggest challenge they faced was in developing new analytic applications. Interestingly, the answer, as indicated in the list below, is not technical. It is determining the scope of the application itself.

Challenges in bringing an analytic application into production:

  1. Determining the scope of the application
  2. Complexity of developing applications
  3. Finding the time to develop applications
  4. Training end users
  5. Deploying the application

Of course, determining the scope, as well as project “creep,” where the scope of the project is continually broadened, can have a significant impact on how long it takes to get an application to the point of deployment. Fortunately, this is not the case with analytic applications. As the figures below show, nearly 75 percent of respondents indicated that it took less than six months, on average, to develop an analytic application.

  • 7 percent reported it took less than one week
  • 23 percent reported it took more than one week, but less than one month
  • 44 percent reported it took more than one month, but less than six months
  • 25 percent reported it took more than six months

The disparity in the time needed to develop analytic applications can be attributed, in part, to the differences in the applications themselves. Some analytic applications are little more than new user-generated reports. Others, of course, are more ambitious, involving whole organizations and tapping multiple data sources.

This research indicates that analytic applications are most often developed within a fairly narrow time frame. The challenge is to determine what the application should encompass.

Stay tuned for part four of this series in the September/October 2011 issue of the Noetix Newsletter where we will take a look at how pervasive the culture of analysis has spread in organizations, allowing you to measure where your company stands in its drive for better business information.

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