In many conversations I hear people use the words standardization and consolidation interchangeably. I believe they are different. To me BI standardization is the process of establishing a preferred vendor among competing market offerings that will be used unless it can be shown that the preferred vendor offering can not fulfill particular business needs.
While BI consolidation is the process of reducing the number of vendor tools used across the enterprise. While many companies have standardized or begun the process of determining a preferred BI vendor, few have tackled the harder process of developing a strategy and roadmap for consolidation. It requires companies to inventory what tools are being used in different parts of the organization, assess technology requirements to support business needs and objectively map out phases and timelines for consolidation.
And then there are the behavioral/political barriers to consolidation. People get attached to their particular BI tool of choice, and convincing them to give it up for another tool is often a hard sell. Mergers and acquisitions complicate the consolidation process because groups feel like its one more example of losing autonomy.
However, now may be one of the best opportunities for BI consolidation, because a weak economy makes it easier to implement unpopular changes. Executives are already looking for ways to save money, streamline operations, and reduce the number of suppliers. And they are more likely to support consolidation if you build a good business case showing the short term migration costs are outweighed by the long term savings that come from changing the IT infrastructure.