Selecting A BI Tool: [Checklist] How To Avoid The Pitfalls of Buying Business Intelligence Software


DashboardFox - Buying BI Software

Here at DashboardFox, we work with a lot of customers who are in the market to buy business intelligence (BI) software. We see customers who are at different stages of the buying cycle, including those who are over-prepared with more information than they need, those who are underprepared because they have a perceived need for BI but don’t know why, and everyone in between.

One issue that has plagued the BI industry is a lack of adoption and a low success rate, which is primarily due to companies not being ready to buy BI software at the time of purchase.

As a small company, we can’t afford to sell DashboardFox or our enterprise, embedded analytics product, Yurbi,  to organizations who are not truly ready to adopt a BI solution, which is why we need to ensure our customers are fully educated about business intelligence before they purchase our solutions.

This is why we put together a list of nine questions to ask in order to determine if your company is ready to buy a BI tool so that your company is ready to adopt and reap the full benefits of a BI solution at your time of purchase.

Nine Questions To Test Your Readiness To Purchase BI Software

Do you have a clear vision of the problem you’re trying to solve with BI?

It’s nice to say your company needs BI, but you must make sure your company has one or more valuable use cases for a BI solution to solve that will enable your company’s processes to run more smoothly.

Do you know the right business question to ask?

You may have a good idea about the actual problems you are facing, but do you know the specific questions to ask in order to solve that problem or those problems? What are the specific metrics or data facts that you should monitor in order to solve the problem discussed in the question above?  Many times companies approach BI with a large amount of eye candy or vanity metrics and over time you’ll lose interest in your business dashboards that drive no business value (does it really matter how many twitter followers you have?)

Can you answer the business question?

Once you understand the business question(s) you’re trying to answer, you must determine whether you have the data to answer that question(s). Do you know how to measure success and understand the KPI’s surrounding your business question(s)? Do you have a data source from which to pull information? You should outline both the business questions and answers to those questions before purchasing BI.

Do you understand the stakeholders within your company who will need to use the BI solution?

Once you have identified the problem you’re trying to solve within your organization, the business questions you’re trying to answer, and the answers to those questions, you must determine who within your company will need access to the BI solution and its data in order to solve the problems your company is working to address.

Do you understand how much money the problems you are trying to solve are worth?

This is the big ROI question. Do you understand the monetary values associated with solving the problems you are attempting to solve with BI? If the problems you are trying to solve are not worth more than the BI solution you are considering buying, there wouldn’t be a return on investment to solving the problems (or at least you need to find a more affordable way).

Have you tried to implement BI in the past and failed?

If so, you need to understand and dig into why BI failed in your organization so you don’t make the same mistakes again.  Don’t repeat the mistakes of the past by failing to learn the lessons from past attempts.

Do you have a manual way to answer your business questions today?

If your company does not have a manual process in place to solve your issues today, you may want to consider implementing a manual process before purchasing a BI software solution. BI software solutions aren’t magic wands that are implemented and magically fix everything – they require education, adoption, and maintenance in order for companies to reap the most benefits. In the end, the software solution should automate and improve the manual process.

Do you have internal resources to implement BI?

BI solutions require time and effort to implement effectively, whether the tool is a more technical and traditional BI tool or a codeless, agile BI tool like DashboardFox. If your company doesn’t have the internal resources to implement the BI solution or the financial resources to bring on outside help to implement the solution, you may want to hold off on purchasing BI (but see below how we can help first).

Do you have executive buy-in?

Before your department makes a BI purchase for your company, you should have executive buy-in. BI solutions can be expensive and require intentional focus and effort to implement in order to truly perform and benefit the company.  But even if they are affordable, like DashboardFox, you still need to put the time and attention to manage, care, and feed the system to truly get the benefits for your organization.

How Can DashboardFox Help?

Of course, the obvious way we can help is to provide affordable, powerful, and easy to use BI software,  but we actually help our customers and partners in a few different ways.

We have a team of resources that have years of experiencing implementing business intelligence solutions and we offer a variety of staff augmentation and professional services to help your organization achieve success. A few of the common areas we help:

Working out a data collection and implementation strategy

One of the most important aspects of a successful BI program is to have accurate and quality data to tap into.  Many organizations have data spread across different silos, manual collection points, or just in ad-hoc excel spreadsheets.  Each scenario requires an approach that works best with the business and its processes.  Our team has experience helping businesses do that data wrangling.

Skilled (and affordable) report writing resources

Many businesses do not want to get into the business of creating dashboards and reports.  They may not have a large enough requirement to justify hiring even a part-time resource, getting them trained, and keeping them on staff.   We can serve as your report and dashboard builder and you won’t find a more knowledgeable team of DashbairdFox experts nor report writers who understand how to mesh user requirements to data elements.   And you won’t have to pay for us to attend your holiday party (but we would definitely take the invite).

Custom development needed

We find a lot of customers in evaluating the market for BI software find that most business intelligence tools are very expensive.  There’s a lot of big companies making big money in this industry and all those fancy marketing campaigns, sales resources, conferences, buildings have to be paid for (including a return on investment for all those VC’s who invested).

The company behind DashboardFox, 5000fish, is a small bootstrapped company and we run a really lean operation and pass the cost savings on to you.  In fact, you probably found this article by searching on Google, not by finding DashboardFox mentioned in an expensive ad.

What many discover is that even if DashboardFox doesn’t do everything you need out of the box,  the cost savings of DashboardFox combined with the cost of our customization or professional services still give you a huge cash savings for your business.

Contact us to discuss more.

Learning what mistakes to avoid when choosing BI software is no small task, but we hope this article has helped. We actually wrote an ebook with more tips on it.  If you’d like to read more about “common mistakes executives make when buying BI software”, we think you’ll enjoy this informative e-book.

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