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Business Intelligence

Discuss about the Critical Success Factors in Business Intelligence Adoption and Practice.

The growth of Business Intelligence, in the last few years, especially, enabled many large scale and multinational companies to expand their businesses and enter the new markets through streamlining its processes, all on a scale that is unprecedented. Additionally, the new technologies of the BI have been enabling huge innovation and mass collaboration (Secretan & Lane, 2006). And in parallel, during the process of implementing these solutions of BI, new challenges have been arising. However, the industry is very optimistic and converts these challenges to opportunities, as the new competencies are developed. 

Business Intelligence is a set of tools and techniques applied for the raw data to be acquired and transformed into the information that is useful and meaningful and can become potential use for the purpose of the business analysis. The raw data that is transformed into meaningful information in a well-structured format help the businesses to identify, develop and also provide opportunities to create opportunities for new strategic business (Aburdene & Patricia, 2007). The objective and goal of the Business Intelligence is allowing easier interpretation of the data in larger volumes. Implementing strategies that are effective and new opportunities identified, based on the insights provide the opportunities for the businesses benefiting the companies with competitive market advantage and stability for long-term.

Data Warehousing is new data system enabled for data analysis and reporting and it is considered to be a core component of BI.

BI and DW technologies allow the companies to develop current, historical and predictive views for the operations of business. Some of the common functions that are used by the technologies of business intelligence for the companies are analytics, reporting, process mining, online analytical processing, business performance management, complex event processing, text mining, benchmarking, prescriptive analytics and predictive analysis (Aburdene & Patricia, 2007).

“Success of a company in managing the information assets of the company is a great function of the infrastructure, culture, people and process, while all of them working in concert”

Davis, Miller, Russell 

Technology is an opportunity for any business to grow and expand. The same is true for the competitor too. Hence, the effective and potential usage of the technology and identifying the success factors of the technology and following and implementing them stands as a critical point or turning point for the businesses.

Effective communication is any day a core and essential competency for any successful business, along with the increasing interdependency and complexity. BI deals with increased and great complexity, in managing the workforce. There are many components and aspects of interpersonal communication and has close relation and success of the company.

Data Warehouse

The notion of communication, being a soft issue and little effect over the profit of the company, by the leaders is no longer valid, in the contemporary competitive global market. Communication has become a basic need for establishing communication among multiple technologies, languages, markets and industries in the world.

The lack of communication by the firms and leaders result for some top accounting firms result in the following statistics, 

  • 10% are only successful in terms of increase of value
  • 30% have no value increase
  • 60% of companies that merged have lost the existing value, after a period of five years

Experts propose a conversational model in three part, for enhancing the business activities, like planning, learning, accountability and learning, as the following.

  1. AGLIGN – Conversation facilitates enhancing creativity, sense of shared objectives and purposes and promoting smart planning of the organization
  2. ACT - Conversation initiates actions, after clarifying the accountabilities
  3. ADJUST – Conversations launch corrective actions, after evaluating the performance and also acknowledgement of the success

When the conversational model is implemented with these three aspects, work would be satisfying, meaningful and fast. Work is infused with galvanized teams, meaningful and inflames loyalty among all the stakeholders, of the company, such as employees, customers and investors, etc.

Scholars propose and advise five basic principles of communication.

Communication Among Humans is Symbolic

Communication could be happened with the interpretations and attempt is to be made by sending messages among each other, by human beings. An encoding process is used by the sender to turn the feelings, experiences, beliefs and thoughts of them into the sounds, words and gestures and the same helps the receiver to interpret the meaning after decoding the message.

Communication is Personal

Same words may give several meanings to several people, as the meaning is directly not conveyed. The context has to be understood and possible misunderstanding areas are to be avoided to avoid worse or confusion.

Communication is Continuous Transaction Process

Successful communication demand both the parties in communication engage much and should carry the intention to understand each other. The roles of the sender-receiver do not occur alternatively, but simultaneously. Residual feelings or impressions are carried through for conversations subsequently. So, communication is considered to be continuously in flux, not static.

Communication isn’t Intentional Always

Communication transfers the intentions, not only through verbal, but absence, silence, lateness are also ways of communication. Sounds and gasps are also various communication forms. Body language is considered as a strong and impactful form of communication is unintentional, since it is unconscious.

Communication Involves Dimensions of Content and Relationship

The dimension of content indicates ‘what’ of the communication, that relays subject, belief or idea of the message. The dimension of relation indicates ‘how’ of the communication and it refers strongly to the views, attitudes and relationships to all the receivers. Here, both the relationship and content play vital roles in communication effective delivery. 

Critical Success Factors

Collaboration is defined as working together towards value creation, while the physical and virtual space is shared. The value that creates a collaborative effort is much greater than the total value possible from the contribution of the individuals (Coleman, et al., 2008).

 To create an effective and collaborative culture in the organizations, the following cultural elements are important.


Trust is a feature of foundation for the entire organization and its teams. Members of team feel safe and valued, when they trust each other.


Vital collaboration essentially, demands goals that are created and shared commonly.


Sharing is resisted by some of the individuals, from the fear of losing the value. Sharing increases the value of everyone and the same is demonstrated.


Both virtual and physical environments show nonverbal language in the organization. Spaces can lead to sharing of issues and ideas naturally, by facilitating informal congregation.


Innovation is stimulated by collaboration, which fuels back increased collaboration.


One fo the natural outcomes of the collaboration is the sense of community. Trust and community can be built by problem solving by groups, invigorating exchange of ideas and shared goals.

Collaborative Chaos

System is energized by the chaos. Innovation flourishes through facilitation of unstructured idea exchanges.


The fundamentals to collaboration are effective communication skills. Communication is considered to be an effective channel, building trust, while inquiry and sharing are facilitated.

Constructive Confrontation

New ideas can be generated from respectful disagreement, in the system. Innovation can be unleashed, when the members have safe feeling to challenges the ideas of each other (Coleman, et al., 2008).


Values extracted from the collaboration can be realized in various ways. Companies experience benefits in business, in terms of shortened product development cycle, reduced processing times, new markets identification, etc. There are several indirect benefits that can be extracted from the human benefits. When the members or individuals feel valued and engaged, as part of the organization and they develop increased positive attitude about their work and organization. It enhances the productivity and lower absenteeism, etc.

While still many of the companies are stagnant in the age called information age, there is considerable human yearning and economic pull to move much above and beyond reductionist, linear and logical view towards better inventive, compassionate and holistic views. The combination of these two forces gives birth to the conceptual age that is enriched and characterized by high touch and high concept (Barret & Richard, 2006).


Spiral dynamics is still an important view to consider that shifts the humanity through various stages, according to the memes, or the value systems. The next stage would be Integral Age that enables the organization to lead authority globally on the value system. Innovation is emerged with nurturing creativity by the organizations (Barret & Richard, 2006).

Innovation is enabled in multiple steps.

Creativity is the first step of the innovation. The tendency to favour and depend on the linear, hierarchical and left brain thinking processes is continuously becoming evidence that shows that the best way of solving problems, which are analytical and complex is to blend both the left and right brains and use the whole brain.

The following step is the fostering creativity. Creativity can never be forced, but can be welcomed and allowed. However there are many ways to increase the creativity flow in the human brain.

  1. Performing certain actions to stimulate creativity, which encourage to create and share ideas and discussing them realistically
  2. Offering incentives for sharing creative and innovative ideas
  3. Asking inspiring questions to the employees, to involve them to be part of the organization
  4. Creating enough time and space to think, share and explore the creative ideas
  5. Designing creative workspaces
  6. Enhancing diversity
  7. Conducting free-form conferences
  8. Encouraging mistakes

When creativity is fostered, there will be a great flow of ideas shared (Barret & Richard, 2006).

Perform realistic calculations with feasibility study of worth and benefit of the ideas.

Once the innovation is proved to be viable and feasible, innovation can be taken into action.

The ideas are to be taken to the ideas with evaluation of viability, feasibility.

Several organizations, during the last few decades have dealt with shifts in terms of economic shifts, global reputation and in many other dimensions, by the change management (Secretan & Lane, 2006).

According to Dainel Tu, inability of the risk management to adapt to the business landscapes that keep changing play a huge role in financial meltdown globally.

An organization that is adaptable organizes the organization by self (Barret & Richard, 2006). Organizations look to have order. However, order followed is not the same as organization. Every organization involves specialization and differentiation. The reasons for resistance and rigidity against evolving are basically because of the deep rooted business models that are traditionally practised.

The traditional methods followed as rigid business models are total quality management and business process reengineering, not the names but the processes. According to Newtonian science, the traditional model stands to be rational, reductionist and linear, that stemmed up from the idea that the organizations are individual units that demand the management to be done separately. Change is predicted and controlled with stability, which is set as a final end state characterization.

There needs a new paradigm, which needs to be done against the static and reductionist approach of the strategy management. The traditional focus is stagnant at increasing competitive advantage, optimal resource allocation, short-term gain and process improvement. It needs a serious and intensive approach to go incremental, having an assumption that even a small or a little change in the variation or existing strategy in the structure of the organization can do the job.

Effective Communication

The new paradigm and emergent model stands opposite to the traditional spectrum. The model looks at the organizations as emerging from complexity having its parts well related and connected as living systems. Behaviour is emerged and experienced at higher organizational level.

The differences of the traditional and new paradigm models are clearly shown with classical science and science.

Organizations that welcome change tend to jump into new living systems models that have the following steps.

  1. Innovation
  2. Convergence and complexification
  3. Bifurcation and Chaos

Leveraging chaos in organizations enable them to vision and drive the changes by following structure within chaos, tolerance for discomfort, natural connections and flexibility, evolution at edge. Even the conflicts can be resolved with a living systems approach.

The learning organizations converge from the traditional thinking processes to innovate learning organization, by adapting the following five disciplines.

  1. Systems Thinking
  2. Personal Mastery
  3. Mental models
  4. Building shared vision
  5. Team learning

Every organization will have double the responsibilities, when the above new ventures and paradigms are to be followed by soul. And the design, development and implementation of all these practices can be defined and succeeded with one great effective element…

The Leadership

(Secretan & Lane, 2006) 

Cisco, which is the largest equipment provider for internet networking and communication has been well powered by the power of collaboration. John Chambers, chief executive claims that his company could not be manageable with the old style of control and command and could not drive to lead with 22 current initiatives worldwide. Cisco enabled collaboration to foresee the trends that are changing and act quickly, against.

Chambers of Cisco gave up the style of command and control and established effective communication for highly collaborative environment, to capitalize the ‘market shifts’, after predicting the trends ahead to 6 to 8 years, though it is highly volatile technology market.

Cisco has considered its challenges, such as increasing demand to foster current and reliable data access, challenges to protect customer data, avoiding confusion with multiple versions and maintaining central points for measures by proposing corresponding solutions, with business intelligence and data warehousing. The solutions proposed by using these technologies are data virtualization, solution deployment, data federation, big data integration, data abstraction.

All the proposed and implemented solutions for the success of Cisco is not done in overnight. However, the proposed success factors, followed while adapting the new data technologies, such as business intelligence and data warehousing made it to grow globally and reach the revenue of more than 49 Billion dollars.

Cisco has not only developed the solutions, but stands ahead with potential business results, simplifying error-free solutions, timely and accurate business intelligence delivery to their users consistently , free staff working on the other projects, scaling BI smoothly and exploring new services in BI to the business, allowing interdepartmental communications in real time and decision making that is well-informed. 


Business Intelligence and Data warehousing are new data technologies that are of potential help to the multinational and large scale organizations to handle tonnes of data they have day to day. Adapting new technologies involve several challenges and success of the deployment of these technologies depends upon the success of good behaviour of the organization. The internal behaviour of the organization and so the key success factors for deployment of these technologies are communication, collaboration, innovation and adaptability, all enabled and driven with major success key factor, the LEADERSHIP. 


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Barrett, Richard. (2006). Building a Values Driven Organization: A Whole System Approach to Cultural Transformation. Boston: Butterworth - Heinemann.

Cameron, Kim S., Jane E. Dutton, & Quinn, R. (2003).  Positive Organizational Scholarship. San Francisco: Barrett - Koehler.

Carroll, Michael, (2006). Awake at Work: 35 Practical Buddhist Principles for Discovering Clarity and Balance in the Midst of Work ’ s Chaos. Boston: Shambhala Publications.

Carroll, Michael, (2008). The Mindful Leader: Awakening Your Natural Management Skills Through Mindfulness Meditation. Boston: Trumpeter.

Coleman, David, & Levine, S. (2008). Collaboration 2.0. Silicon Valley, CA: Happy About.

Covey, Steven M.(2008). The Speed of Trust. New York: Simon & Schuster.

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McTaggart, Lynn. (2007). The Intention Experiment. New York: Free Press.

Napier, Rod, & McDaniel, R. (2006) Measuring What Matters. Mountain View, CA: Davies Black Publishing.

Napier, Rod, & McDaniel, R. (2006). Measuring What Matters. Mountain View, CA: Davies Black Publishing.

Neal, Judith, A. (2006). Creating Enlightened Organizations: A Practical Guide for Implementing Spirit at Work. East Haven, CT: Spirit at Work Publishing.

Neil, Judi. (2006). Edgewalkers. Oxford: Greenwood Publishing Group.

Rao, Srikumar. (2006). Are You Ready to Succeed? Unconventional Strategies for Achieving Personal Mastery in Business and Life. New York: Hyperion.

Rosen, Evan. (2007). The Culture of Collaboration. San Francisco: Red Ape Publishing.

Sawyer, Keith. (2007). Group Genius. New York: Basic Books.

Secretan, Lance. (2006). ONE: The Art and Practice of Conscious Leadership. Caledon, Ontario: Secretan Center.

Tolle, Eckhart. (2006). A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life ’ s Purpose. New York: Plume.

Zakaria, Fareek, (2008). The Post - American World. New York: W. W. Norton.

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