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Pervasive BI: the Challenges (and Solutions)

This week I will be participating in the first of a three-part webinar on pervasive business intelligence. It’s interesting – even though pervasive BI has been a rallying cry for more than a decade now, we are not even close to achieving that goal. More surprizing is that most of you don’t even buy into this vision. It’s disheartening that in a recent survey, respondents said that even if all the typical barriers to BI success were addressed – data quality, executive sponsorship, and budget – you still think at most only 50% of employees need business intelligence.

Part of the gap in vision is in how people picture business intelligence. Picture only the traditional business query tool, and BI tends to serve power users, people who understand all the data nuances. A bit of SQL knowledge certainly helps. And yet, business intelligence is about reaching everyone who makes decisions, both the big strategic ones and the every day, operational ones.

For BI to be pervasive, companies must have a portfolio of tools for the right user and task. For managers, that may mean a dashboard, tailored, engaging, and interactive. For front-line workers, it might mean a nugget of data displayed on a mobile device, whether an iPad of a Blackberry. Or for people drowning in data (all of us), it might mean a Google-like search interface that gives a decision maker a starting point.

The right interface isn’t the only challenge, though. A big part of making BI more pervasive demands that BI visionaries be more proactive in their quest to ensure all decision makers benefit  from BI.

Join me on Thursday to hear more.


Cindi Howson, BI Scorecard

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  • Pervasive BI is worthwhile, but I wonder if most organizations are far enough along in the BI capability maturity model to actually implement it.

    I was hoping to attend your webinar live, but I have a conflict.  Hopefully it will be recorded.


  • Hi, Tammy, Thank you for the comment. The-webinar will be recorded. I agree with your point that some companies may not be “ready” – it does take a certain amount of data literacy and culture for fact-based decisions, but even then, the majority of companies are not seeing BI as something that should be pervasively deployed. To move in that direction requires believing in the value and vision.