IT managers regard the consistency of data used in reporting as a major problem, according to a survey by KRC Research.
The Oracle-sponsored study of 200 UK organisations with 1,000 or more users found that 80% had more than one business intelligence application, and 9.5% had six or more systems.
More than 33% of those who had more than one system said that in most instances these systems were not integrated.
Some 57% of those asked said they used Microsoft Excel for business intelligence tasks.
Michael Azoff, senior research analyst at Butler Group, said, "We find there is a tendency for users, particularly in finance departments, to run Excel. The problem is that Excel data held on the desktop is not open to audits." Azoff said larger organisations were moving towards standardising on a strategic business intelligence platform, due to regulatory compliance pressures.
Critical data held on numerous spreadsheets across different business divisions was identified as a major inhibitor to a successful business intelligence strategy by the KRC survey.
Some 46% of IT managers said they used business intelligence for corporate performance management, and 69% of respondents said the data generated was important to senior management and finance professionals in running the organisation. However, the research identified significant concerns about the security of data, reporting and data accuracy.
Unstructured and disparate use of business intelligence tools is also causing critical information that could help companies gain a better view of their business to slip through the cracks.
Of the IT managers surveyed who had a business intelligence system, 44% said improving business processes was the major objective for implementing it, followed by saving costs (18%), gaining a competitive advantage (12%), increasing customer satisfaction (10%) and helping with risk management (7%).