interesting to read a recent article from DMReview.com “OAUG Survey Reveals
Three Out of Four Enterprises Using Oracle Applications Still Use Spreadsheets
for Business Intelligence Reporting”. The findings summarized were from the
survey "Achieving End-to-End Business
Intelligence", conducted by the Oracle
Applications Users Group (OAUG) in order to gauge the depth of BI and analytics
deployments within Oracle enterprises.
3 out of 4 enterprises rely on (my emphasis) on spreadsheets
for reporting and business intelligence! A corollary finding was that only one
of ten employees in a corporation had access to BI capabilities (outside of
Microsoft Excel, of course.)
Does this surprise
anyone? If it does then you probably have not talked to many business groups in
corporations today. And I do not mean just the SMB (small to medium size
business) market but also the Fortune 100. And if you are surprised you
probably have not read about data shadow systems.
their departments generate more than 100 reports a month taking a great deal of
time to create, maintain and, of course, modify to meet changing business
requirements. More than 60% said it took a day or more to generate a single
report for their business users.
The survey also found that people were worried about the data
quality in these reports.
Since the survey was of companies using Oracle applications,
some people (maybe Oracle’s competitors?) may say that this is just a condition
specific in Oracle shops. This condition is NOT unique to Oracle applications.
It is pervasive throughout companies big and small, whether they have Oracle,
SAP or many other business applications. Microsoft Excel is the pervasive BI
tool at this point.
The biggest concern any enterprise should have is the
condition of the data that is being used to make decision rather than the BI
tool used. It is great to have a terrific and sexy BI tool that can slice and
dice data any way a business user can image examining the business, BUT if the
data is just then “garbage in, garbage out”.
And once the data is in order, preparing the data for
information understandability and consumption is the next task. Just purchasing
hundreds (or thousands) of licenses for a “true” business intelligence tool for
your enterprise does not guarantee these products will be used or that you are
providing business value. If that was true, then 3 out of 4 companies would not
be relying on Microsoft Excel for reporting and business intelligence.