Business Intelligence Data Collection a Challenge for CEOs

A new study finds business professionals think their organizations lack good tools for data-driven decision making.

Just one in four CEOs say their reports contain the information they need, and only 13 percent of business leaders say their reports are reliably up to date, according to a study by cloud-based executive management solutions specialist Domo and BusinessIntelligence.

A survey of more than 300 business leaders, including 197 CEOs and company heads, found business professionals think their organizations lack good tools for data-driven decision making, and that they are hampered by an inability to access timely, relevant information.

The study, "What Business Leaders Hate About Big Data," found that only 7 percent of executives say their reports can accommodate their organization's growing volume of data, and just 9 percent believe their reports present a single version of the truth.

The report also discovered that the most common data frustrations among business leaders are concentrated in three areas, including how data is delivered. Nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of business leaders said they still get their data from multiple, unconnected sources, even though more than half would prefer to get their data from an integrated dashboard.

"Data has huge inherent value, but it is failing to serve business leaders, in part because it is inaccessible and doesn't have proper context," Josh James, founder and CEO of Domo, said in a statement. "The first step in getting more value from the data that already exists is recognizing the barriers and frustrations of end users. With that knowledge, it's easier to validate changes that will be made, and much easier to find a solution that allows data to help your business, not hurt it."

According to the survey results, executives' widespread frustrations are concentrated in three areas: how data is delivered, such as systems it comes from, formats of reports and consumability; when and where they have access to it, regarding reliance on IT and other departments, report frequency, and real-time and mobile access; interactions their data doesn't permit, like drill-down, filtering, customization and collaboration.

Mobile BI users reported that their ability to make critical business decisions within the required time frame increased 45 percent from 2012 to 2013, more than twice the improvement reported by those without access to mobile BI (19 percent), but the survey finds that mobile usage still lags far behind both demand and potential utility.

"Business leaders have highly specific problems that require highly customized solutions. Business intelligence hasn't scaled well for many business leaders, at least in part because BI solutions typically don't put control in their hands," the report concluded. "But that doesn't negate the value inherent in BI. Companies that continue to invest in their BI future understand that the importance of data in the world—and in their company—will only increase."