November 11

3 Reasons Business Intelligence & Data Analytics Teams Fail to Deliver Value

Do you remember the promise of data in the enterprise? It was supposed to drive transformation and help organizations thrive and grow. You know, make you look like a legend and command a $500k salary a year because you’re healing the organization get an ROI on their data! Yeah, that was the promise but why is it not happening for you? Why is your team failing to deliver value with your data to the business?

Based on my over 20 years of consulting experience, which I distilled into my book, Delivering Data Analytics, I’m going to lay out the three reasons business intelligence and analytics teams fail to deliver value in the enterprise.

This top 3 is not your usual list. I’m going to be getting down to the actual reasons, not the excuses. And one of those excuses I regularly hear is data quality. Data quality is the reason I cannot deliver on value to my stakeholders. I’m sorry – NOT A GOOD REASON. Or what about this excuse? The stakeholders not being data literate? NO. That’s just another excuse to not deliver value. Sure, these are obstacles, but they’re not the reasons. With that being said, let’s jump into the top 3 reasons why your business intelligence or analytics team fail to deliver value.


How can your team hope to deliver value if they don’t know what value is? As the famous saying goes, “Value is in the Eye of the Beholder”. Meaning, your teams’ idea of value is may not be what your stakeholders view of value is. It’s possible to get lucky but most of the time we don’t know what value is to our stakeholders and, some of the time, the stakeholders don’t know what value is to themselves. Yeah, right? So, let me ask you this. Is it worth building a dashboard if we don’t even know what value is? And I don’t mean to sound flippant about it, but really, what is the point?

To address this your team needs to know how to engage with the stakeholders, ask the right questions and distill these into a set of actionable requirements. Easier said then done for sure but you can get your team started on some quick tips I have available in my free video that you will find in the description below.


Onwards to reason number 2 for why your BI/Analytics team fails to deliver value. Unable to Manage Stakeholder Expectations. Yes, many people have unrealistic expectations expectations about data quality, how fast it is to build a dashboard and generally issues pertaining to data literacy. And this can make it very hard to deliver value when there is a misalignment in expectations. So, we should just carry on and wait till the problem becomes bigger after we’ve developed the dashboard, the kick the can down the road strategy. Alternatively you could check out step 12 in our series on How to Deal With Difficult Stakeholders.

All that aside, have you considered why your stakeholders have unrealistic expectations? Why is it that they don’t know how challenging it is working with data or when the data being input is garbage or that data hygiene issues would lead to problems down the road? So if they don’t know about any of this stuff is it really their fault? We are all human after all?

You can call this data literacy or data culture, but it is more than that. They need to be aware of the intricacies of what details are involved in working with data. And one key way to do that is to partner with them in designing the solution. I’ve found a great way to partner is with wireframes. Wireframing the insights and the design together, in partnership, before any development happens. I use PowerPoint to do that and you can find a free PowerPoint template, the one I actually use, available in the description below. It is light and quick way to partner with stakeholders and deals with the reality of working at the fast pace of the enterprise.


And that my friend is a perfect segue to reason number 1 for your BI/Analytics team not delivering value to the business: Not Bringing End Users on a Change Journey. Remember at the start of the video I talked about the promise of data to transform the organization? Well, any transformation involving people requires management of that transformation or “change management”, as the young would people call it. In business intelligence and analytics space we have the expectation of “build it and they will come” from the movie the Field of Dreams. This movie has done immense damage to the fields of data and analytics. “Hey, I’ve built this really great set of business insights that will help you sell more widgets, you will surely now change your schedule to access this new technology and shift away from your daily routine and 1,000 other priorities because I said so”. Eh, no.

Ok, let me put it another way. You’ve heard of data storytelling right? Of course you have! It’s important. But what if no one is there to act on the story? What if no one showed up to play in your data field of dreams. Firstly, screw those guys. Secondly‚Ķ. Well, put yourself in their shoes for a moment and try to imagine why you would suddenly change your behavior and start to access this new dashboard that is available with no proof and no communication as to how it is going to improve your career and daily work life. Where is the value realization?!

To do this, your team needs to follow a change process. A sequence of steps, a methodology, they can follow to partner with their stakeholders that can methodically bring them and their stakeholders on this journey of change and enablement. If you want to learn more about such a process, you can check out my free video, my free training, in the description below.

Well that’s it folks! The 3 Reasons Your Business Intelligence and Data Analytics Team Fails to Deliver Value.

Nicholas Kelly


business intelligence, change management, data analytics, data teams, stakeholders

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