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Think twice before jumping on the BI consolidation bandwagon

Have lots of business intelligence (BI) tools and software? Think that starting a BI consolidation project and axing some of those BI applications is the way to go? Think twice.

We have every business intelligence tool and BI software product known to man. How do we decide which ones to keep...

and which ones to toss? Should we look into a BI consolidation project?

I know. As a client of mine recently said, “It’s hard to look away from the shiny.” (See my old blog post on “Bright Shiny Object Syndrome.”) Another client admitted, “I guess it was just so much easier to keep talking to vendors than it was to get down to business.”

But now that I’ve poked your soft spot, I’ve gotta give you a break. Why do you need to toss any of your BI tools? Are they being used, and are they useful? More importantly, have users been sufficiently trained on the tools (and the data that supports them) so they can be productive and upstanding BI users?

The last thing you want to do is take a tool away from a productive user. Shelfware is one thing, but I’d strongly advise you not to rip any type of valuable reporting or analytics capability out of the hands of an earnest and well-meaning business user. Yes, there are the lauded sustainability and cost-containment issues. But those are sometimes overblown – and their benefits will pale in comparison to having users launch shadow IT systems or enlist an outsourcer in response to you pulling the rug out from under them.

Or, as I said to one of the clients above, “Is that really the hill you want to die on?” Probably not.

This was last published in May 2010

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