How do you choose the right Business Intelligence and analytics tool for your organization, from countless vendors that all seem to offer similar features and make similar promises? Here are the four most important factors to take into consideration when vetting and selecting a business intelligence tool.
- How much does it really cost?
- How long until you can actually use it?
- What are its limitations?
- What does it allow you to do?
How much does it really cost?
Licenses: License structure should be scalable to accommodate future growth.
Integrations: Consider the complexity of connecting to different data sources in use.
Hardware: What kind of hardware does the solution require in order to run?
Professional Services: Does the solution need special consultants to implement?
Training: Consider the technical knowledge needed by end users and administrators to use the solution.
Maintenance: How much time and resources will be invested in upkeep and support?
How long does it take to implement?
Time to production: The time it takes for analytics to be used in production on regular basis.
Required technical expertise: The expertise needed to setup and maintain the BI software. Do you need to hire or train people?
End-user training: The amount of time it takes end users to start using and benefiting from the software.
What are its limitations?
Size: The volume of raw data the software can load and digest.
Capability: Can the software easily join data from multiple sources?
Speed: How fast can the software update and calculate data?
Scalability: The ability to handle increasing workloads and scale accordingly. Does it slow down with more users and queries?
What can you actually do?
Access data and create new dashboards: Access the data you need to build interactive dashboards without technical assistance.
Customize existing dashboards: Easy to use tools to manipulate and visualize data exactly how you want it.
Drill into reports: Zoom into details and underlying data for enhanced analysis.
Interact from mobile: Share and analyze with dashboards directly from any mobile device.
How to avoid the pitfalls?
Here’s the best piece of advice: Always ask for a proof of concept (POC) that connects to your real data sources.