Original Research

Critical success factors for business intelligence in the South African financial services sector

Lionel Dawson, Jean-Paul Van Belle
SA Journal of Information Management | Vol 15, No 1 | a545 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajim.v15i1.545 | © 2013 Lionel Dawson, Jean-Paul Van Belle | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 09 January 2013 | Published: 05 June 2013

About the author(s)

Lionel Dawson, Department of Information Systems, University of Cape Town, South Africa
Jean-Paul Van Belle, Department of Information Systems, University of Cape Town, South Africa

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Background: Business intelligence (BI) has become an important part of the solution to providing businesses with the vital decision-making information they need to ensure sustainability and to build shareholder value. Critical success factors (CSFs) provide insight into those factors that organisations need to address to improve new BI projects’ chances of success.

Objectives: This research aimed to determine which CSFs are the most important in the financial services sector of South Africa.

Method: The authors used a Delphi-technique approach with key project stakeholders in three BI projects in different business units of a leading South African financial services group.

Results: Authors regarded CSF categories of ‘committed management support and champion’,‘business vision’, ‘user involvement’ and ‘data quality’ as the most critical for BI success.

Conclusions: Researchers in the BI field should note that the ranking of CSFs in this study only correlate partially with those a European study uncovered. However, the five factors the authors postulated in their theoretical framework ranked in the seven highest CSFs. Therefore, they provide a very strong validation of the framework. Research in other industries and other emerging economies may discover similar differences and partial similarities. Of special interest would be the degree of correlation between this study and future, and similar emerging market studies. Practitioners, especially BI project managers, would do well to check that they address the CSFs the authors uncovered before undertaking BI projects.


Business Intelligence; Critical Success Factors; Delphi technique; South Africa; Case Study


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