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Survey Finds Lack of Proactive Data Reporting Hinders Success of Effective Business Intelligence Programs

A global survey* undertaken by SunGard reveals the priority placed on business intelligence (BI) continues to heighten, but many organizations are challenged by the need to improve reporting techniques, business capabilities and information management. SunGard surveyed senior executives and found that a vast majority, collectively 80% of respondents, use periodic reporting techniques (51%), and reactive, “after-the-fact” reporting (29%), demonstrating that many current BI programs lack proactive, investigative reporting tactics.

SunGard’s survey results show that BI derived from everyday transactional data is reliant on effective information management practices. Using improved investigative and proactive data analysis through advanced reporting tools and operations can help businesses more effectively mine intelligence buried in everyday data. However, failure to adjust and improve processes, use proactive analysis techniques and align IT with the business may result in an inability to analyze changes in business performance and operations.

SunGard’s survey into BI maturity uncovers new findings that highlight a number of critical insights in this area:

Firms have not widely moved to a proactive, investigative reporting strategy

  • A total of only 20% of respondents use proactive and investigative techniques, or showed an interest in scorecards/dashboards and analytics techniques. The ability to answer questions about “what if” scenarios can adequately prepare the business and positively impact risk management capabilities.
  • For a majority of respondents, reactive and “after-the-fact” analyses are the primary means of data analysis. Companies’ reliance on spreadsheets, manual data manipulation and periodic reports can limit their ability to conduct proactive analysis.

Only a small percentage of firms are utilizing advanced analytics and reporting tools

  • Almost half of survey respondents (45%) fulfill reporting needs through manual data extraction and data cleansing tools, as well as data presentation in spreadsheet or PDF formats.
  • Only 13% of respondents utilize advanced BI techniques such as predictive analytics and alerts.

IT and business must align to improve BI needs and requirements

  • 71% of respondents indicated that they are slow to integrate advanced BI tools and software. IT and business view themselves as “technology followers” (43%) or adopt only proven technologies (28%).
  • However, the survey showed only 29% of respondents indicated using a proactive approach in which IT follows technology trends in tools and processes, signifying that there is an “early adopter” segment that may be eager to strengthen business operations and performance through BI tools.

Companies still lag in adoption of strategic, enterprise-wide business intelligence techniques

  • Just more than half of respondents (53% in total) have either a tactical approach with little cross-department coordination (28%) or authorize and manage their BI projects at the department level (25%).
  • Only 22% of respondents report that while projects still appear to be managed at the department level, there are links to the enterprise-wide priorities and goals.

Scott Lundstrom, group vice president and general manager of IDC Financial, Government and Health Insights, said, “Technology creates visibility across the business, and enterprise-wide operational practices are essential to optimal efficiency and effectiveness. The strategic implementation of business intelligence tools and analytics, along with cross-departmental alignment, can transform data into meaningful, useful information for critical analysis. Proactive and investigative BI reporting techniques can help recognize new business opportunities and provide firms with a competitive industry advantage.”

Michael Wolk, partner, information management practice, SunGard Consulting Services, said, “As competition intensifies, firms should look to enhanced information management tools and methodologies to help strengthen the quality of data and analytics, as well as preempt “what if” scenarios that may affect parts of the business. Incorporating a deeper level of BI into the business strategy and investing in the right technology can help firms move from ‘what happened’ reporting to proactive analysis, and therefore help maximize performance and impact the bottom line.” 

For more insights on business intelligence and proactive, investigative reporting techniques, read SunGard’s report, “Assessing Your Firm’s Business Intelligence Maturity.”

*SunGard polled 202 COOs, CIOs, CTOs, SVPs, VPs, directors and managers among financial services and energy companies in April 2014. Representatives of 93 financial services firms and 74 energy firms provided responses. Respondents answered eight questions regarding their BI business and technical capabilities and ranked their current and desired BI maturity levels. Survey participants represented primarily financial services and energy organizations in the United States, the United Kingdom, South America, the Middle East and Asia.

SunGard Consulting Services helps financial services, energy and media companies solve business problems by managing their complex technology and operational needs. Focused on large scale data and process management, custom application development and systems integration, we combine business and technology consulting and managed services to deliver innovative custom solutions. We help our customers capitalize on and manage the consequences of business, technology and regulatory change.