With the complexity of Business Intelligence (BI) software selection increasing proportionately to endless options in an ever-changing BI solutions market, how do you select a BI solution that is the right fit for your business?
1. Know Your Business
Remember you’re evaluating processes, not features and functions. All reputable BI software will have the base functionality to complete standard requirements such as drill down capabilities. Your goal is to find a solution that has the capability to manage your unique tasks, or the flexibility to be configured to handle them.
2. Think Long Term
Evaluate for configuration not customization. This point is relevant for both an on-premise or cloud based deployments. For on-premise software keeping to a configuration approach means the source code remains uncompromised, but the flexibility to get what your business needs is in check. This translates to making upgrades a simple task and not a major event. For a cloud base software it means being comfortable with a configured (not necessarily cookie cutter) approach and understanding that new capabilities will automatically be applied so certain controls in how technology is applied are relinquished when toggling between on-premise and or cloud based software.
3. Cloud vs. On-Premise Deployments
Determine if the cloud or on-premise software is right for your business. Two fundamental differences to consider when evaluating between cloud or on-premise tools:
- Licenses costs are re-occurring – you’re renting the software for as long as you need it. From a costing perspective this is appealing as it makes SaaS based solutions an operational expense, typically with a lower entry cost. The only concern for some here is whether the ongoing cost is justifiable so looking at the total cost of ownership (TCO) over 5-10 years should be a consideration.
- The vendor maintains the system – all updates, upgrades and maintenance are covered off by the vendor making for very little, if any IT involvement in implementing, deploying or maintaining the software.
- Licenses costs are perpetual – you own the software outright and can use it for as long as required. On-premise deployments are the traditional software model and classified as a capital expense.
- You maintain the system – all updates, upgrades and maintenance are the responsibility of you, the customer. You have the power of choice on when to apply enhancements or when to upgrade. Typically this involves a greater role of IT in maintaining the system and often the decision to choose whether to go on-premise or cloud based depends on whether the need/software is a point solution or critical to the business.
There are other considerations and questions to be tabled here as well. Such as, do we have an existing infrastructure in place to support our workers needs, how do we integrate remote locations, how do workers access the information, which option (on-premise or cloud) has a higher propensity for effective change management.
4. Secure Executive Team Buy In
Involve your team early and often to ensure effective change management. This includes all levels of your business. For when looking at any technology initiative it comes down to company culture and management support. In other words, if we don’t have buy in that technology is an enabler for change and if people don’t have strong user adoption (or aptitude) with existing systems or trust the data within them. The chances of getting anything started and implemented successfully will be a challenge.
5. Partner With Leaders
Understand the impact your services partner has on your project. Selecting the right partner is equally as important as selecting the right software. In times of change, look for stability, viability and peace of mind that you’re working with industry leaders.
The question asked by most leaders is “where do we start and how do we get there?” Let BDO help you cut through the noise and provide a fresh perspective on how to transform your data into business insight. We listen, understand and connect your business priorities to the right Business Intelligence or Corporate Performance Management software.
Remember, when looking at any technology initiative it comes down to company culture, management support and the view technology can be a catalyst for change. Our collaborative assessment simplifies the due diligence process and gives you information specific to your business and the impact technology adoption will bring.