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The Second Annual Business Intelligence Success Index®

The Dresner Advisory Services Business Intelligence (BI) Success Index®—like the companion BI Value Index®—is inspired by the many and varied economic indicators used globally by business and government leaders and their teams of analysts, economists, and researchers. Such indicators serve many functions: informing, provoking, and encouraging thought, discussion, and investment.


We ask a deliberately simple question to see how people characterize the success of their BI initiatives. Success can have many dimensions—too many to capture in a broad-based survey. The survey question does not define success; individuals respond based on their own perceptions and considerations.


This is the fifth year Dresner Advisory Services recorded data on the success of BI initiatives, and the second year of the BI Success Index.


In 2020, 88 percent of respondents indicated their BI initiatives either were successful or somewhat successful. Respondents cited human factors such as support from senior management, culture, communication, and understanding business objectives—not specific technologies—as the main contributors enabling BI success.


The presence of data and analytics leadership—along with data-literacy levels and programs—also correlate strongly with BI success.

Executive Summary


1. In 2020, 88 percent of respondents indicated their BI initiatives either were successful (42 percent) or somewhat successful (46 percent).
2. Successful initiatives showed a double-digit percentage-point increase from 2019. Much of this change comes from fewer organizations considering their BI initiatives only somewhat successful or unsuccessful.
3. Respondents reported achieving BI success across all variables we measure. Function, industry, or organization size do not significantly impact one’s chances for achieving BI success.
4. Organizations with a chief data officer (CDO) and a BI competency center (BICC) report success with their BI initiatives more frequently than organizations without them.
5. The large growth in formal BI leadership in 2020 likely contributed to the increases reported in BI success last year.
6. Organizations successful with their BI initiatives reported the highest levels of data literacy, while those that report their BI initiatives as unsuccessful indicate they have the lowest levels of data literacy.
7. Almost twice as many organizations with data-literacy programs reported their BI initiatives as successful.
8. Those with data-literacy programs report less than half as many unsuccessful BI

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