Report consolidation is usually the most common reason for implementing a business intelligence solution. Usually, a reporting system has “thousands” of reports which use many data sources. Business analysts use these reports regularly, but sometimes they derive contradictory information. This is a reputation risk and will have an effect on the analysts who don’t believe the information within the reports, and so they will spend additional time, checking the data in them. That has an impact on the decision-making process because managers will not be receiving important information in a timely manner, and it is often expired and useless when they finally do receive it.
Another reason is that information may be locked within a small group of business analysts and is not being shared throughout the organization. In the situation that information is not being shared, other analysts will need to produce the same information and take additional time and use IT resources.
The usage scenario of the report is known only by the report owner. Information is not clearly highlighted. There is no difference made between “significant” and “insignificant” in the report. New report consumers don’t usually use old reports but require a new one. Reports are duplicated. This creates confusion and misunderstanding with the other analysts and creates unnecessary complexity in the reporting system.
Deadlines for decision making are always too short and business analysts usually ask the IT team to provide data not information. Sometimes, business analysts don’t even really know what they want. They require reports with thousands, or millions of rows in excel sheets. After a few days, the analysts will ask for new datasheets, without knowing that IT only needed to add one new column, to give them the information they required. IT resources are always overworked and they don’t have time to support ad hoc and what-if analysis, especially data mining.
So, the IT team is caught in a trap and they aren’t really motivated to actively participate because they see the new report as an additional burden, without any clear business value. This approach can be disastrous because it means IT is operating reactively rather than proactively. They know WHAT but they don’t know WHY.
Maintenance and change management of reports is a significant cost. Data processing is less effective and takes up hardware and human resources. Reporting is based on the core (transactional) system and data processing affects the regular daily operations. Requests for changing the core software are regular, impact analysis is very expensive and risky, so some of the reports can produce incorrect data, and it all becomes unmanageable.