If you’re on the hunt for a BI (business intelligence) platform you had better put on some coffee. In a short amount of time BI has become a ubiquitous business tool – and the software market has responded with a flood of new BI platforms. Users enjoy having options, but there are so many that finding the best option is a long and laborious effort. This begs the question, what should I consider before choosing a business intelligence platform?Focus on these eight things to speed up the process and ensure you make the right choice:
- The Target Audience:
Some platforms are built for experienced data analysts while others are built for tech novices. Determine who will be using the platform the most, then seek out a solution tailored to their needs and skill level.
- The Features:
This is how BI platforms differentiate themselves, and many features are just bells and whistles. Ensure your platform has the features you really want and need, and don’t give too much credit to gimmicky or one-of-a-kind capabilities. Examples might include ad hoc analytics, interactive reporting, or presumptive tools to anticipate question you have yet to ask. Do your research to find what best fits the needs of your business and industry.
- The Technology:
The underlying business intelligence architecture is incredibly important because it ultimately determines the depth and breadth of insights. Learn what kinds of databases a platform supports, whether it integrates with the cloud, and what technology is required to run it.
- The Collaborative Capabilities:
A good BI platform empowers individual users but also allows teams and departments to collaborate effectively. Explore how much a particular platform does (or does not) make it easy to share information and contribute to shared projects.
- The Learning Curve:
You’ll also want to investigate possible learning curves to your chosen BI technologies.A system that is confusing to learn and hard to use takes much longer to get implemented. Plus, it’s likely to frustrate users and cause mistakes once it’s online. Ease-of-use should be a major consideration for both end users and IT teams.
How large is the customer base, what industries are they in, and what kinds of reviews are they leaving online? Find out if companies similar to your own seem to be satisfied with the product and performance.
- The Support:
Issues are going to arise even with the best BI platforms. Find out what level of service and support a provider is willing to provide. Be sure to also investigate whether certain service levels are guaranteed.
- The Cost:
This is obviously a major consideration but spending the minimum or maximum should not be the priority. Look for a product available at a sustainable cost that delivers maximum value and long-term sustainability.
If you can check each one of these boxes you’ve probably found a solid BI platform. The next step is learning to implement and integrate this tool, so it makes the maximum positive impact.