Why leading enterprises are graduating from a departmental business intelligence approach

Even today, enterprise companies are choosing a limited, “departmental” approach to business intelligence (BI) strategy and adoption. They resort to working with multiple vendors, each of which provides what they consider the best technology for an individual department within their companies. It’s a common phenomenon driven largely by rapid changes in the technology market, including growing data footprints and high demand for analytics. Departments within organizations have understandingly sought the best solutions for the most urgent challenges.

But this approach rarely aligns with real market complexities because an amalgamation of BI solutions doesn’t drive the organizational value that’s possible with a single, open analytics environment. Leading analytics of this kind provide self-service capabilities to business users across departments, connecting each user to a “single version of the truth” through interfaces designed specifically for their roles.

In this article, I identify the recent industry trends driving enterprise leaders to embrace more sophisticated analytics environments of this kind. I also identify issues with a departmental approach versus the opportunities of a single-platform adoption strategy. You will discover how preparing and unifying business users across departments in this way can improve decision-making and create new strategic opportunities at all levels of the organization.

New challenges and opportunities with enterprise BI

At the relative midpoint of 2021, enterprise companies are still working to become more insights-driven and incorporate BI solutions in all varieties of business decision-making. This change movement is driven in part by the COVID-19 pandemic and related or concurrent economic disruptions, all of which are driving peak uncertainties across industries. Among other issues, those disruptions have revealed broad shortcomings in companies’ existing analytics investments.

These gaps are creating new BI challenges for enterprises, as well as opportunities for those companies who approach BI investments with healthy growth in mind. Now, “85% of decision-makers prioritize the use of data insights, incorporating quantitative information into the decision-making process,” Forrester describes in a January 2021 article. “That growing appetite for data means that companies must get their internal data house in order—breaking down data silos, establishing consistency in definitions and formats, and encouraging enterprise-wide collaboration.”

Deconstructing the “departmental analytics” mindset

Again, it’s easy to understand why data leaders tend to approach analytics on a department-by-department basis. “Over the past decade, advances in digital analytics have transformed the way businesses operate,” reports McKinsey in April 2021. “From marketing and pricing to customer service and manufacturing, advanced analytics is now central to many corporate functions.”

Indeed, each department has its own unique needs, challenges, and goals where analytics can help. In that regard, a siloed analytics approach may yield more immediate results, such as greater locality and quicker decision-making within an individual department. Although settling with a siloed approach is easier in the short term, it will inevitably lead to broader problems and unwanted complexities later—especially in the face of macroeconomic change.

In other words, the departmental BI investment strategy sets organizations on the wrong path to greater value in the long term. BI transformation must focus on aligning analytics with its people instead. In a single, open analytics environment, individuals thrive because they are working with the same information—albeit within their own individual workflows—to improve their individual teams’ results.

Breaking down silos in a managed way with open analytics

Visualize a single enterprise company. Its marketing and operations departments make decisions using their own analytics solutions. Their numbers conflict as a result. Rather than drive value, these teams will spend the extent of their time working together determining whose numbers are correct.

The benefits of roles-based data access to a single system outpace the benefits of a departmental approach. Marketers can embrace strategic decision-making using insights they trust from a broader set of data sources, and operations can access those same resources to improve core processes in ways that are accurate and consistent with those of marketing and other teams.

Although these departments differ in purpose, their perception of reality is both shared and accurate, driving organizational value. When departmental leaders and executives meet for strategic decision-making, they can “unearth growth opportunities that would otherwise be hard to spot,” McKinsey describes.

The long-term benefits of a single-environment approach

“Trusted data means trusted business, but old-school data governance is not the answer,” Forrester shared in April 2021. “[Instead], improve trust, ensure compliance, and accelerate data value.”


To get started, companies can identify BI tools that scale without locking departments and teams into proprietary layers. Instead, the right system will be open and able to communicate with other existing systems. Critically, it will also be accessible for users in multiple departments—an “umbrella” system that connects to other enterprise systems that individual departments or teams require.

Once established, non-technical employees of all types and at all levels of the organization can begin accessing reliable analytics and make data-driven decisions in their own unique capacities. Best of all, they will all reference the same, sophisticated resources, and they will be free from the “constraints with multi-model data platforms,” as Forrester described in April 2021. Their companies will be “ready to support integrated, real-time, and self-service analytics” instead.

Future-proofing your analytics and BI capacities

Your company has an opportunity to get a head start on the strategic value-driven by modern BI investments. “Relative to most corporate functions, strategy has not yet captured the benefits of advanced analytics, missing out on potentially critical insights,” McKinsey described in April 2021. “By tapping these technologies to complement the creativity of your team, you can materially improve your strategic outcomes.” But you need the right enterprise analytics technology for your BI transformation to succeed.

Pyramid Analytics provides a competitive edge

As a business partner and platform provider, Pyramid Analytics helps companies realize long-term strategic value and analytics ROI. That’s because we’ve designed our platform to future-proof companies as analytics applications permeate all aspects of enterprise companies.

Now, we’re ready to help you get started on your own single-environment analytics approach. Contact one of our experts today for a free consultation and demonstration.

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