Real Questions to Ask BI Vendors Before You Buy - Slide 17

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A cautionary tale from John Kitchen, chief marketing officer for Datawatch Corporation, a provider of enterprise information management solutions: One of his company's clients, a Global 500 consumer goods company, bought 300 copies of a BI product and found after three months that just four licenses were being used, suggesting a poor match between user needs and the product and/or a need for more training. Corollary suggested question from Kitchen: 'Can you employ an Excel front end to access the product?' Companies can cut down on the need for training by using Excel, an interface already popular among many users.

AllWhen our Ann All began researching questions to ask BI vendors, she was surprised that after a little prodding they produced some great questions, ones she'd want to ask any potential BI vendor before she got up from the table. Several of them offered clever suggestions on how to move past generic questions to more specific ones that should yield more accurate answers. You should definitely read her full blog post on the topic.

For instance, instead of asking "what kind of support can I expect from you?" Barney Finucane, an analyst at The BI Verdict, a vendor-independent BI product selection service, suggested companies should ask vendors if you can look at their technical and support Web sites. This will give you "a good idea of what they might be doing wrong" as well as what they do right, he told Ann.

In another angle on service, Forrester Research analyst Boris Evelson told Ann it's important to ask about a vendor's ability to help you with your overall BI strategies, not just implementing BI products. Why? "Any problems will likely involve integration, support, organizational structure and/or underlying business processes rather than technology. Only experienced consultants can help with those kinds of problems,” he said. It's true that technology tunnel vision can derail BI initiatives -- and plenty of other technology projects as well.


Related Topics : Business Intelligence Vendors, Data Quality, Data Warehousing, Key Performance Indicators, Knowledge Management

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