It’s no secret business intelligence (BI) has a bad reputation for being expensive. In fact, we’re frequently asked “Why does BI cost so much?” The truth is, it doesn’t have to. But all too often organizations make mistakes that drive up the cost of BI.
If you’re considering a business intelligence solution, you need to know what these mistakes are. We put our heads together at 5000fish and outlined six of the most common mistakes that increase the cost of BI, and added tips on how to avoid them.
One of the biggest mistakes we see organizations make is what we call “buying into the hype” of BI. By this, we mean buying a BI tool because you’ve been told you must have one, rather than buying a tool to solve a specific problem.
BI software can be of value to many organizations, but buying a BI tool without first clearly identifying the problem you’re trying to solve or outlining what you hope to accomplish will drive up cost and leave you disappointed. To generate the best ROI, you should follow these steps:
1. define your business problem or what your company wants to accomplish.
2. understand the capabilities needed to solve the problem or accomplish that goal.
3. buy a BI tool that meets those specific needs.
Tip: As you consider business intelligence solutions, it’s important to look for a vendor that’s willing to take the time to learn about your needs. It’s the only way they can determine whether their software may benefit your organization.
We’re in the BI business, but we’re the first to tell you no one BI tool will solve every analytics problem your organization may encounter. Regardless of what some salespeople may lead you to believe, one size does not fit all when it comes to business intelligence. If you buy BI software for “general capability” in an attempt to cover all your bases, the cost of BI is sure to skyrocket and your BI initiative is sure to fail. Once again, the best course of action is to determine your most pressing problem and then seek out a BI solution to solve it.
Tip: A vendor that truly wants your organization to succeed will be upfront about whether their software is a good fit or not. You may want to read “10 Signs Yurbi May Be a ‘Good Fit’ For Your Organization” and “8 Signs Yurbi May Not Be a ‘Good Fit’ For Your Organization” to find out if Yurbi is a viable solution for your needs.
We like to think that buying the right BI software is an investment into your organization’s well being. That said, if you don’t thoroughly evaluate your BI software options, you could spend thousands of dollars on a tool that does much more damage than good.
As you start to consider BI tools, be prepared to commit the time necessary to properly evaluate the software. Have your sample data, know what you want to test and what you hope to gain from using a BI tool.
It’s important to note that the process of evaluating the software also gives you a chance to assess the vendor. Does the salesperson’s aggressive sales pitch leave feeling they’re more concerned with selling you a product rather than providing good service? Does the vendor allow you to use your own data to evaluate the tool, or are you simply pushed through demo after demo? If you’re getting negative vibes during the evaluation process, the solution and the vendor might not be a good fit for your needs.
Tip: We know your schedule is already maxed, but it’s imperative you spend the time necessary to thoroughly evaluate BI software and the vendor or you could end up buying a problem rather than a solution.
From promises of deep discounts to high pressured sales tactics, to decision makers honestly not knowing any better, we’ve heard story after story about organizations purchasing too much BI software upfront. Needless to say, doing so can drive up the cost of your BI program. It also can result in shelfware because your employees don’t get proper training, don’t understand how the tool can benefit them- and therefore don’t use the product.
Tip: To avoid wasting money on BI, look for a BI vendor that allows you to start small, prove the concept works, and scale as needed.
Here’s something many typical BI vendors don’t tell you: The cost of the software is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to implementing a BI solution. There are several “hidden” expenses that can quickly drive up the cost of BI. Some of the most common include expenses associated with implementing the solution, such as how many are servers are needed and how much storage is required. The expense of training internal staff to keep it running and educating end users about how to use it can also be sizable.
Tip: If you buy the wrong BI software, hidden costs will likely be higher than you think. You may want to consider a solution such as Yurbi that was designed to be easy to implement and doesn’t require specialized training.
If you’ve done any research on the cost of BI software, you’re already aware that solutions offered by most traditional BI vendors are prohibitively expensive. That’s because companies like Business Objects and QlikView have massive marketing and overhead budgets/costs that they pass on to consumers. In fact, before they’ll even engage with you about their product most of these vendors have minimums you must meet.
Tip: Search outside big name vendors and you’ll discover several smaller, up and coming BI platforms that offer a powerful solution at an affordable rate.
Learning what mistakes to avoid when choosing BI software is no small task, but we hope this article has helped. 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.