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Data Warehousing and BI systems let down 22% of users

From the National Computing Centre, Manchester UK.

Despite 61% of organisations planning to extend their use of data warehousing and business intelligence (BI) software, businesses are still critical of how well the technology is meeting their objectives. This is according to the National Computing Centre’s latest survey on the use of data warehousing and Business Intelligence tools. The research was undertaken by NCC's Evaluation Centre, an interactive online service guiding IT buyers in the selection and use of business software, services and technology.

When it comes to evaluating how well the business objectives for data warehousing and BI have been achieved, the majority of respondents (53%) see the overall performance as no more than average. Only 6% feel all their objectives have been met ‘very well’ and 13% ‘well’. At the other end of the scale 16% see the results as ‘poor’ and 6% as ‘very poor’.

There are a number of issues that users have when it comes to accessing information. On a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 means ‘not an issue’ and 5 a ‘great issue’, the major difficulty mentioned is that information is scattered across multiple systems making it difficult to find and access (3.9) - and this has a knock-on effect that information is not always available quickly enough (3.6).

In addition, the information is often inconsistent, leading to multiple versions of the truth (3.4) and the need to keep their own records, so that they can have accurate analysis of the information (3.2). Other complaints are that information is often incomplete or inaccurate (3.2) and that information is often out-of-date (3.1). There are also issues that the tools required to evaluate the data effectively are only available to specialists (3.3) or that they are too complex to use (3.2).

According to Steve Fox, Director of the National Computing Centre: “While the research showed that there had been improvements in data quality, it is evident that organisations still need to improve their data management so that critical business information can be accessed more effectively.”

The majority of companies (61%) plan to expand the scope of their current data warehousing and BI tools to new functional areas in the organisation. Ensuring existing assets are fully exploited is a priority for 58%, while 39% plan to implement new tools to enhance data analysis capabilities. Improving the performance of the system is an objective for 33%, while 33% are planning to extend the scope of the system to new users and 27% are looking to control system costs.

The responsibility for developing and maintaining a BI strategy, in just under half the cases (49%), is split between IT and business management thus allowing effective input from both the technology and business perspectives. However, in 21% of companies it rests solely with IT management and in 9% with business management.

Survey statistics

We interviewed a cross-section of 100 organisations for their views on the use of data warehousing and business intelligence applications. The sample included companies from the public sector (19%), professional services (12%), retail (9%), distribution & logistics (9%) manufacturing (6%) and energy & utilities (6%).

The companies varied in size, with 6% having in excess of £5 billion turnover, 9% in the £1 billion to £5 billion bracket and 12% in the £500 million to £1 billion range. In the mid-market, 33% turn over between £100 million and £500 million and 18% £50 million to £100 million. At the smaller end 21% have a turnover of between £10 million and £50 million.

The survey is available from


About The National Computing Centre (NCC)

The National Computing Centre (NCC) helps IT decision makers deliver effective solutions to business problems by bringing together users, experts and vendors to share experiences and develop best practices.

About the Evaluation Centre

Evaluation Centre ( is an interactive and independent service for end users and consultants to assist them in the procurement process for software, services and technology.

Press Contact:

Michael Dean
National Computing Centre
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Manchester M4 6JW
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Mob: (0)7703 501129



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