Why Business Intelligence (BI) Tools?
Business intelligence tools are fast becoming an essential rather than a choice for businesses of all shapes and sizes. With the necessity of driving the market place, the need to make well-informed buying decisions has never been more important. The good news is that with so many programs and platforms available, businesses and organizations can gain a further competitive advantage by making the best choices. In the following article, we aim to guide you through our top 3 BI buying tips.
Avoiding Buyer's Regret
Once solely the domain of the enterprise businesses and huge corporations, business intelligence tools are now both affordable and available to any business. Another reason why these systems are a must-have is that business is in effect, data-driven. The tools needed to work with the data can also be cloud-based thus doing away with the need for much of the specialist IT input required in the past.
Bearing in mind that a medium-sized company can expect to invest anywhere from $30,000 to $100,000 in this technology, mistakes can be costly and that means there is plenty of room for buyer's regret. Due diligence and plenty of research are going to be key factors for any operation that intends to get the best out of their BI tools investment strategy. Predictions suggest that a staggering 71% of businesses and organizations will not be “up-to-speed” with BI.
Discovering What You Need From Your BI Tools
While it may seem like a pretty obvious point, having an understanding of why you need BI and what your expectations are is the first step. Although it sounds ridiculous to suggest, sometimes we are so busy doing the business that we don’t fully understand or are not aware of the real needs and problems within it. Consider utilizing the expertise of consultants and other specialists to assist in assessing the real needs and priorities of the organization or business to determine which BI tools are likely to produce the best solutions.
Certain BI tools are, of course, more appropriate for specific data purposes and even beyond that, the configuration of them to highlight and work with aspects that are the key to your own business strategies is crucially important. These metrics will vary depending upon the type of business you operate. As a rule of thumb, the highest feature demands are likely to be 95% visualization, 92% analytics, 89% reporting, and 65% data mining with the balance shared between data warehouse and customization at 39% and 26% respectively.
Ensuring Everyone “Buys In”
While you may own the business, the reality is that your much valued human resources run it on your behalf. While we have already taken a good look at the buyer’s remorse, there is something far worse and it comes in the form of an unwanted and unwelcome gift. Failing to consider and onboard your end-users could, therefore, be one of the most costly and stressful mistakes you are ever likely to make.
Perhaps one of the most useful exercises a business could perform during their BI tool selection phase is to open up a constructive dialogue with those who are going to be working at the sharp end of the stick. Bringing your teams in on the early discussions with vendors and any consulting specialists is, therefore, likely to prove most beneficial in the long run when making those important BI choices.
Further Points Worth Bearing in Mind
Dealing with the Jargon
It can be confusing enough for business owners and organizational leaders who are being thrust into the unfamiliar world of BI and data analytics without the added hassle of understanding the sales speak and jargon. Doing a little homework in respect of gaining some basic understanding of the main terminologies and function descriptions of BI will have you and your key users much better prepared and less easily bewildered by the sales reps.
Importance of Comparing Like-for-Like
Just as there is no point in investing in features and functionalities that your business is never going to be able to make use of, it also makes little sense to proceed purely on cost. It is essential, therefore, that you carefully take into account everything from product support and usability to a system's agility and scalability in terms of your unique business model.
Choosing What Works Best
Every business and organization will have its own unique requirements and these will more likely than not play a key role in your final BI tool buying decision. Taking into account data source integration and your existing data collation methods such as Excel, accounting, and other sources will also have a strong bearing on your final decision.