Real Questions to Ask BI Vendors Before You Buy - Slide 14

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Next Direct Queries Are Key-14 Next

Direct Queries Are Key

Specify your top vendors and applications, such as SAP ERP, IBM DB2 and Oracle's Hyperion Essbase. Red flag: If they mention moving data to a warehouse, ask again. Anyone can report against a data warehouse, and the question is about direct access, says Jake Freivald, VP of marketing for BI provider Information Builders. If they keep talking about the warehouse, Freivald says it's a warning sign-even if your project primarily uses the data warehouse-because it shows potential inflexibility.

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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