Real Questions to Ask BI Vendors Before You Buy - Slide 15

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Give Them a Multiple Data Source Hypothetical

This is important, says John Kitchen, chief marketing officer for Datawatch Corporation, a provider of enterprise information management solutions, because many companies outsource their data processing to outside parties, so will need to integrate data in different formats. An increasing amount of data also comes directly from the Web and thus may be in formats like XML and HTML.

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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