Key Success Factors in Business Intelligence

Szymon Adamala, Linus Cidrin


Business Intelligence can bring critical capabilities to an organization, but the implementation of such capabilities is often plagued with problems. Why is it that certain projects fail, while others succeed? The aim of this article is to identify the factors that are present in successful Business Intelligence projects and to organize them into a framework of critical success factors. A survey was conducted during the spring of 2011 to collect primary data on Business Intelligence projects. Findings confirm that Business Intelligence projects are wrestling with both technological and non-technological problems, but the non-technological problems are found to be harder to solve as well as more time consuming than their counterparts. The study also shows that critical success factors for Business Intelligence projects are different from success factors for Information Systems projects in general. Business Intelligences projects have critical success factors that are unique to the subject matter. Major differences can be found primarily among non-technological factors, such as the presence of a specific business need and a clear vision to guide the project. Success depends on types of project funding, the business value provided by each iteration in the project and the alignment of the project to a strategic vision for Business Intelligence at large. Furthermore, the study provides a framework for critical success factors that, explains sixty-one percent of variability of success for projects. Areas which should be given special attention include making sure that the Business Intelligence solution is built with the end users in mind, that the Business Intelligence solution is closely tied to the company’s strategic vision and that the project is properly scoped and prioritized to concentrate on the best opportunities first.


Business Intelligence, Data Warehouse, Critical Success Factors, Enterprise Data Warehouse, Success Factors Framework, project risk management

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