Tag: survey

Take the BARC survey, get a summary of results

The international analyst firm known as BARC, for Business Application Research Center, has been compared to Gartner and Forrester for its broad, vendor-independent assessment of vendors. BARC calls its annual survey “the world’s largest annual survey of business intelligence users.”

The survey has just begun and runs until mid-May. BARC estimates that it takes about 20 minutes to complete. Participants answer questions about their use of BI products from any vendor. BARC compiles the data to analyze buying decisions, implementation cycles, and the benefits of BI products.

All participants will receive a summary of the results and the chance to win an Amazon gift card.

Reach the survey here.

For more information, contact Adrian Wyszogrodzki, awyszogrodzki@barc.de.

Tell BARC about your BI

I am acutely aware that I work at arm’s length from actual users of the data products I ghostwrite on behalf of. The users are there, I know, even if they are only phantoms to me. The wisps of data collected in surveys provide some of the few signs that I or many of my colleagues ever sense a pulse out there in that other world.

Surveys are good links to that other world. When survey data comes along, I see what it’s made of. Does it blow away like fog, such as when the data is too thin? Or does it give me the feeling I’m touching something real and alive, such as when the data’s solid and the questions probe multiple dimensions?

The annual BARC report is one of the good ones. I’ve never verified their claim to be “the world’s largest survey of business intelligence software users,” but I suspect it’s true. This year’s 3,149 responses is hard to beat.

One of the chewy bits is BARC’S Business Benefits Index. It’s a matrix of benefit quality, from none to proven, with a weighted variety of benefit types.

It’s a relief, after all the hype I help generate, to see data that people actually get results. In the survey’s business benefit index, a composite weighted score for each benefit, 80 percent reported “faster reporting, analysis, and planning.” Also, 71 percent reported “more accurate reporting, analysis, and planning.”

But then I notice a unpleasant bulge on the not-so-good edge of the spectrum for “increased revenues”; 38 percent “didn’t know” about that, while over on the other end a mere 9 percent had quantified this very quantifiable metric. But I’ll take encouragement where I can get it.

BARC is based in Germany under Dr. Carsten Bange, who’s been a generous source of insights to me and others I know. He’s also a frequent speaker at BI events, such as at TDWI Munich.

The organization seems intent on protecting the survey’s integrity. For one thing, they’ve tried hard to avoid the old trap of relying on a few customers of a few vendors. Instead, BARC persuaded vendors to promote the survey publicly to recruit not just customers but anyone else who happened by.

As meaty as the 2013 BARC survey is, you could help make this year’s even meatier. The survey closes on July 14 — barely more than a week from now. I don’t know how they’re doing so far, but surveys always benefit from more respondents.

Click here and give your data.

A BI canary turns up dead

BI Scorecard’s annual survey on business intelligence success has found a dead canary in the mine.

In an April 7 post, “BI Adoption Remains Flat,” Cindi Howson reported that her broadly focused annual survey, fielded since 2006, found a drop in reported BI success. That score has been flat and low every year, but last year it fell to its lowest ever.

BI success — by which she means improved access to data, perception of value, and gains in revenue, customer service, and operating efficiency — dropped six points to just 28 percent.

Don’t slit your wrists just yet. A single dead canary doesn’t necessarily portend catastrophe.

In fact, the BI Scorecard Successful BI survey’s full report — for sale on Cindi’s site — found bright spots, such as the suggestion of great remaining potential. If only there were enough money, clean data, and proper support, say respondents, the percentage of workers using BI would rise from 22 percent — which has also been flat — to 50 percent.

But that one bitter point — lack of proper support — keeps showing up. “While much of the industry focuses on software and technical innovations,” Cindi observes, “the main barriers are organizational and cultural, according to 84 percent of survey respondents.”

Eighty-four percent say the main barriers are organizational and cultural! Such a lopsided result can’t be true, you may say, yet I believe it is. My own ongoing, informal survey that I’ve conducted since 2008 has found near unanimous agreement among BI professionals that this is BI’s big obstacle.

With such support, the other two obstacles — data quality and budgets — would no doubt begin to improve, probably to the degree that support improved.

Who murdered the canary? Look no further than executives who won’t give BI the support it needs.

Survey’s closed, results coming

This afternoon, I finally closed the long-running survey of “those who analyze data.” The results are seeping in to Datadoodle headquarters. I’ll release them in stages over the next two months: first, highlights, then more highlights, and finally a preview report and a final report.

I opened it in mid-February this year. It has 221 responses. I’d say that’s a good number from a small platform like this weblog in this survey-saturated industry.

In case you didn’t realize it, I’m no data analyst myself. My stint in market research that ended more than 10 years ago entailed little data grooming, reshaping, or cleansing. Someone did it for me, and only then would I paw through it. But today, it’s all up to me — me and my handful of data-savvy volunteers.

I’ll identify and thank each one publicly as things progress, along with a few people who helped promote the survey.

The very first look will probably come in my columns at BI This Week (TDWI) and Information Management. After that, I’ll issue a report, first in a preview edition for respondents who asked for it and a few others.

Just watch this space for links.