The challenges of today’s economic climate and the highly competitive market place make it essential for organisations to continuously measure and monitor their performance to identify areas for optimisation and improvement. It is widely recognised that the strategic application of business intelligence (BI) is a key contributor to unlocking the business value of information across the organisation. Timely access to pertinent information, which can be easily assimilated by business users, leads to better business decisions and ultimately improves business performance (De Voe & Neal, 2005; Evgeniou & Cartwright, 2005; Lönnqvist & Pirttimäki, 2006).
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BI is not a new concept and in studying the available literature it is clear that several consistent best practices and guidelines are available to organisations to help them avoid the potential pitfalls (Rogers, McDonald, & Brown, 2005; Watson & Wixom, 2007). It is also well documented in the literature that BI is recognised by management and senior executives as an essential component to gain a competitive advantage in the market place. The significant amounts that are being invested in BI by industry testify to this. Further support for this notion is found in the fact that implementing BI has been a top priority for CIOs and CFOs for several consecutive years. (Eckerson, 2008; Evgeniou & Cartwright, 2005; Rogers et al., 2005). However, in studying the literature it becomes evident that even though companies have been spending large amounts on their BI investments, most organisations have failed to achieve a culture of pervasive BI. Instead of having a BI strategy, most companies have multiple BI projects on the go and are desperately trying to standardise in order to overcome the information silo’s that have been created by the various business departments within the organisation (Davenport, 2006; Rogers et al., 2005; Williams & Williams, 2004; Williams & Williams, 2007). The CIO of a consumer products company in South Africa stated in the 2009 IBM CIO survey that “Business is not yet fully exploiting the business intelligence that is available” (The new voice of the CIO, 2009). In another recent survey, conducted by TDWI, it was found that of the entire population of users that were given legal access to a BI tool, only 24% of these users were actively making use of these tools in their decision making (Eckerson, 2008). Successful adoption and usage means that BI forms an integral part of the decision making activities that occurs within the business. In other words, the pervasive use of BI implies a culture of fact based decision making that exists across all levels of the organisation. It also indicates that the outcomes of these decisions are continuously integrated with the existing information at hand, thereby adding further value to the information. However, according to the latest Gartner report for BI platforms most organisations “fail to link BI content with the decision itself,
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