In a world driven by data, where companies are racing towards gaining the best analytical capabilities, it becomes sometimes difficult to find suitable analytics solutions to their business problems. The solutions offered by vendors and solution providers come in a wide range and differ in most aspects. Each tool/solution have their own strengths and drawbacks and choosing the right vendor and solution can get complicated at times. Therefore, it becomes extremely necessary to identify which solutions suits you best.
Amid these, business leaders and executives need to ask the right business analytics questions to solution providers in order to correctly evaluate prospective data analytics and BI tools. According to Timothy King who is a recognized thought leader and influencer in enterprise BI and data analytics, here are the top 5 questions businesses need to ask their analytics solution providers in 2020.
Can your BI tool scale with my business?
The current data sources, KPIs, business questions, and the overall situation may very well change across any business. It would be foolhardy to select a BI platform based only on how it can serve them at the current time. Very little remains static, so what may seem like the best possible solution now could be virtually useless in two, three or five years down the road. Weigh the vendor’s current capabilities with its ability to scale as the customer organization grows.
Can you provide customer recommendations?
Businesses would need to ask prospective vendors to provide references that can show how their software helped other customers achieve positive ROI (return on investment. In-vertical references are best, so it is recommended to seek first-hand accounts from similar size organizations that do business in related industries and analyze similar data sources. It’s not about securing the best overall tool; it’s about selecting the best solution for the specific set of circumstances.
Is there a support package included? What does it include?
The rise in self-service has been a difference-maker for many organizations. However, this requires solution providers to offer support services to keep non-technical users on their feet. Businesses would want to find out what types of services are offered with the purchase of a license. Popular support add-ons range from deployment assistance and dedicated customer service representatives to user training, certification, and even community forums.
What is the total cost of ownership (TCO)?
There are usually outside costs associated with the purchase of a new BI platform, but does that come with subscription pricing, third-party expenses, or hidden operation fees? There can be many surprises hidden below the surface. Stakeholders will want to find out whether there are expenditures for user training, upgrading, troubleshooting or consulting as a result of re-engineering processes that are being automated.
How long does deployment take?
Once a business decides on a BI and analytics product, it takes time to get up-and-running. It is necessary to have a discussion with the vendor representative about what that looks like, and how it will impact existing business systems and protocols in the interim. Does the solution provider offer on-site or remote help with deployment? These are vital questions that have a direct impact on the cost of the tool and the impact on ROI.