business-software-mistakesBusiness intelligence software brings with it the potential to deliver actionable insights to your team. However, simply buying and installing business intelligence software won’t do it. Make sure your investment pays off by avoiding the following common mistakes:

Buying a Business Intelligence Solution that Solves the Wrong Problems

You’ve likely reviewed a great deal of information and countless case studies related to various business intelligence applications. It all sounds wonderful. After all, if the software solved serious problems for other companies, it can do the same for you, right? Not so fast. Is your business even facing those same problems? Before you consider any business intelligence solution, make sure to define the exact problems you want BI to help you solve. Only then will you be able to determine if any given application is a suitable choice.

Inadvertently Giving Access to Sensitive Information

While business intelligence software can pull data from a diverse set of sources, you need strict access control systems in place to prevent unauthorized access to data. Make sure that both your security and legal teams have a say in how data can be accessed and by whom.

Failing to Factor in End-Users’ Needs

Another shortcoming involves failing to consider the needs of business intelligence users. What problems do they need to solve? How much training will they need in order to use the software effectively? Why would they want to use it? No matter how amazing a given business intelligence solution may be, if your end-users won’t use it, it will fail. Take the time upfront to consider their needs and get buy in.

Failing to Factor in Existing Software and Legacy Systems’ Needs

What about your existing software and legacy systems? Will the new business intelligence software place nicely with your other systems? Is integration built in or will you need to spend tens of thousands of dollars developing a workaround?

Overlooking Mobile Usability

Another common mistake involves assuming that mobile users will be able to access the solution because it’s “in the cloud.” While you may choose a cloud-based BI system, if it’s not also built for mobile usage, your mobile users may find it difficult, if not impossible, to use from mobile devices.

Failing to Use Insights to Your Advantage

You’ve selected a fantastic business intelligence solution, your security and legal teams have signed off on it, your employees love using it, it plays nicely with your existing systems, its mobile app is a dream come true, and the insights it delivers are incredible. However, if you fail to use those insights, your business intelligence will go to waste.

Using Scorecard Data Only

While scorecard data gives you quick insights it’s recommended to supplement scorecards with observational data, asking questions, sending out surveys, and conducting audits.

Using Annual Performance Metrics

Rather than tracking performance on an annual basis, track it on a daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly basis. Depending on your business, you may even track it hourly.

Setting Arbitrary Targets

According to Mark Flaherty, “When you come up with your measures, in order to make them meaningful you have to set a target or a goal, or an objective. You can’t just have a number without knowing what that number should be, and I see a lot of arbitrary targets and strategic plans like 90 percent customer satisfaction or 10 percent cost reduction.”

“Targets should be based on the past. They should be based on what’s going on in your industry. They should be based on resource constraints. How many people or how much budget do you have, and things like that.”

Avoid these common mistakes and get the most out of your business intelligence software.


  1. CIO, “Nine Common BI Software Mistakes and How to Avoid Them,”–
  2. InetSoft, “How to Avoid Making Common Mistakes when Measuring Performance,” 

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